Corn is undoubtedly the most emblematic food of Mexico, and its importance is such that even in pre-Hispanic cosmogony it has a place of prominence. Aztec mythology tells the story of Quetzalcóatl, who transformed into an ant in order to enter the mountain of Tonacatépetl and extract the corn to give to the gods. The gods then ground it and gave it as gifts to the peoples of Mesoamerica so that they could cultivate it; thus becoming the basis of their diet. Today, 50% of Mexicans’ caloric intake comes from foods prepared with the 64 strains of corn grown in the country.
Due to the importance of this grain not just nutritionally, but economically, and even culturally, the use of native corn in fine dining restaurants has grown significantly. The consumption of these native variants has been encouraged alongside the fair trade practices that have been implemented throughout the production chain.
Following those lines, here are three restaurants distinguished by not just their use, but their celebration of native corn:
Enrique Olvera’s culinary project transforms the quaint Mexican act of “going for the tortillas” into a gourmet experience. This tortilla shop offers everything from classic salsas to enjoy on a taco while waiting in line to chilaquiles, tamales, enmoladas, and quesadillas.
Ever the advocate for the products of Mexican soil, Chef Lula Martín del Campo grounds her dishes on the three primary crops of the milpa: corn, beans, and chili. With these ingredients, she offers innovative proposals based on traditional recipes.
This culinary jewel is self-described by its creators, Norma and Saqib, as a “rebel blend” that fuses Mexican and Indian food. And their philosophy goes even further to explore the migration of ingredients between the two countries.