In Monterrey the meat is strongly present in cooking. It is actually really rare to find traditional dishes without meat, which is, I admit it, quite complicated for a Parisian who doesn’t eat meat more than twice a week! In the north of Mexico the meat is almost a religion to the point where inhabitants from the region consider the meat from the south as a low quality product: they state that we can only find good meat in the north.
Something really common here is to make a “carne asada” or in other words a barbecue. This is how it works: a lot of meat, preferably beef, few vegetables and “cervezas heladas” (understand iced beers, not simply cold). The meat is generally put in a tortilla of flour or of corn. And of course you accompany the “whole” by the essential and inevitable spicy “salsas”!
From my French point of view, I consider that it’s too much meat, that people eat really frequently (understand every day) and that it is the disaster for the body, especially for kidneys (did I tell you that I was a nurse?) that receive an excess of proteins. But I guess that Mexicans are used to…And I never renounce to a “carne asada” with my neighbors on the terrace of the 10th floor! Because which says “carne asada” says also sharing, conviviality and fun!
Another type of meat which is really popular here is the “cabrito”. The “cabrito” is a really old tradition because through time its production has been constant and its price affordable. Even if the consumption has decreased along the time, it remains a classic in Monterrey and different restaurants are dedicated to this old custom. I will talk about it in a special article!
Anywhere you go in Monterrey, invited at the place of someone or in a restaurant, you will find meat. The difference with what I was used to, it’s that the meat here is really qualitative and affordable, way more affordable than in Europe. In France I was barely eating meat because of the price so I lost the habit to consume it, I think for the good, especially when I see now how the industrialization process of meat farming led to barbarism and torture of animals. According to me the key is the origin of the product. I will always prefer pay a bit more but be sure that the meat doesn’t come from a “battery”.
However I recognize that some really nice restaurants in Monterrey, dedicated to the meat cuisine worth the detour and I will for sure, talk about them, because after all this is Monterrey.
Of course, we cannot reduce the cuisine of the north to the meat. The area counts many and diverse influences: blending from the Iberian Peninsula (new Christians, converted Muslims, fugitives, Jewish), Tlaxcaltecas (indigenous who made an alliance with Spanish after the arrival of Hernan Cortés) and other tribes. This cultural wealth had, without any doubt, a strong impact on northern customs and traditions that I am determined to explore.