Mexican food is popular around the world in the USA and people travel to Mexico all the time. The other day I was talking to some friends that just got back from a trip to Cancun. My friend is also gluten intolerant, and I was asking her about the food. I know she has to be as careful as me about what she eats. It turns out she did a lot of research on gluten free Mexican food. Since it really is a popular food, I thought I’d share some of what I learned.
The good news is Mexican food uses a lot of corn and corn breadings which people with celiac disease can eat. For example, corn tortillas are safe to eat and I love tacos. When I go out to Mexican restaurants, I order tacos with a chicken or meat filling and then salsa.
Speaking of salsa – you can eat the red and green salsas too! Yeah! There is both the tomato and guacamole salsa made in restaurants. But don’t eat processed salsas you can buy at the grocery store unless you read the entire label to make sure it has no wheat fillers. I really don’t trust too many processed foods anymore unless they specifically say “gluten free” on the label.
Other safe Mexican foods include Tampiquegna which is steak with guacamole sauce and beans and an enchilada. I eat Quesadillas if it says they are corn tortillas, because the fillings are like taco fillings – almost always cooked on the grill. If you have any doubts about how the filling is made, my advice is to stick with the safe foods. You can eat the chicken dishes at the restaurant too. I’ve been to a couple of fairly expensive Mexican restaurants that serve Barbacoa which is lamb with spices, and maybe a sauce, which would be safe to eat also.
Of course, there are some foods to avoid too. You can’t eat mole so that means you must avoid any sauce that has mole. If you stick with the red and green salsas, you’re safe. You also can’t eat Milanezas which are breaded steak or chicken fillets. I discovered from talking to my girlfriend that chilies rellenos are off limits because they’re battered. I never order them because I was afraid they would be too hot, but it turned out to be a good thing I didn’t. You also can’t eat Milanezas which are battered fish and seafood tacos.
In Mexico they cook with a peanut sauce called Pipian. I’ve never seen it in the local restaurants here, but it’s probably on the higher priced menus. You can eat peanut sauce. I did have peanut sauce once at a Thai restaurant, and it was delicious. Other popular foods you can eat include Mazapan, Cajeta which is like a soft toffee, and Tamarind candy. (I had to include some desserts of course).
Anyway, I thought it was interesting to learn that many of the foods in Mexican restaurants here really are like the foods in Mexico. If you travel to Mexico, or eat at local Mexican restaurants, just stick with the foods you know are safe to eat and don’t be tempted to get adventurous.
If you don’t won’t to venture out to a Mexican restaurant, then make your own! Try some of these tasty recipes: