Ingredients Mexico Has Given to the World

Posted under  Culture & Lifestyle, Food & Health, Que Pasa on

Some of these key ingredients are now know, loved and used in different cuisines around the world, but not everyone knows they originated or were domesticated within Mexican territory, here are a few examples of a much longer list.


One of the most important food sources in the world, both for humans and animals. This cereal originated in the region that is now the beautiful state of Oaxaca and it’s so versatile it can be turned into food, energy, sweeteners, oils, bourbon and even into the perfect movie theater snack.

It nourished many civilizations in the Americas before the European conquest, and in Mexico there are still over 52 edible varieties, grown throughout the country and consumed every day.


This expensive ingredient, vital for most baked goods, pastries and even perfumes, is technically the pod of a tropical orchid native of Mexico, specifically from the coastal state of Veracruz.

This product was once exclusively produced in Mexico as a part of a monopoly controlled by the Spanish but nowadays it’s mostly farmed in far countries like Madagascar.


Cacao seeds, are the main ingredient of one of the most popular sweet treats in the world: chocolate. It is thought this plant was domesticated by the Olmecs in what is now Mexico around 350 BC.

Back then, the seeds were a luxury item among Pre-columbian civilizations such as Mayan and Aztec. They were considered as valuable as gold and sometimes even used as currency.

Cacao seeds can also be mixed with various ingredients like chiles, annatto seed, maize and flowers to come up with traditional drinks like Tejate from Oaxaca, Tascalate from Chiapas and Chilate from Guerrero, all libations that can be consumed either warm or cold.


The famous big bird, widely consumed in big festivities in North America, was domesticated in ancient Mexico, for food and for its cultural and symbolic significance, specifically from what are now the states of Jalisco, Guerrero and Veracruz.

Guajolote, as it’s called in Mexico, gained its present name because of the trading route, that passed through Turkey and it’s widely consumed in festivities such as funerals, graduations and wedding often paired with a sumptuous and rich Mole sauce.


Nowadays it’s hard to imagine Italian cuisine without tomatoes, but this red ingredient was first used among Mesoamerican civilizations and brought to Europe by conquistadores.

But it wasn’t an immediate success, as people thought they were poisonous due to their color and shine.

This ingredient from the nightshade family, has been used since Pre-Columbian times in different dishes and sauces such as mulli, the predecessor to the famous Mexican staple: Mole.

About The Author

Anais is a Mexico City-based professional eater and culinary tour guide whose days are spent roaming the city streets in search of the best places to eat & drink. She's a graduate of one of the most prestigious gastronomy universities in the country, Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, where she studied everything from food history to regional cuisine, administration, and food science. After working for several years in the food industry managing restaurants she moved to the UK and Italy where she studied graphic design and food styling. She moved back to her hometown in 2012 where she began giving food tours, working as a consultant for restaurants, and blogging about Mexican food and culture at

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