Wake Up Like a Mayan: Enjoy a Traditional Mexican Breakfast with These 6 Food Items

24 June 2015
 Categories: Food & Cooking, Blog


If a visitor from outer space asked you to describe the dishes served at a traditional Mexican dinner, you'd most likely find this to be an easy task. But what does a traditional Mexican breakfast include? The most precise answer depends on where you wake up in Mexico, since there are regional variations in cuisine.

In Mexico today, as in the U.S., many people eat fast food for their first meal of the day. But if you want an old school Mexican desayuno, order a typical morning meal from "South of the Border" by eating like the ancient Mayans.

Mexican cuisine owes so much to the Mayans.

These ancient people passed down many  favorite ingredients--from avocados to chocolate. They enjoyed habanero chile peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro in salsa. Mayans also ate venison, turtle meat, sweet potatoes, and squash, which aren't normally associated with Mexican culinary creations.

Ordering a Mayan breakfast.

Your breakfast table would be arrayed with the following 6 menu items:

  • Coffee--The Mayans loved their morning cups of Joe, too. Your beans would be most authentic if grown in the shade on a hillside in Mexico, but any beans will do. Drink it strong and black to get your caffeine fix like a true Mayan.
  • Corn Tortillas--Mayans were smart enough to practice nixtamalization to increase the nutrition of the corn. They dropped snail shells or white lime in with the corn they were boiling to make the niacin easier to uptake when eating it. Mayan tortillas were much thicker than the ones served in most Mexican restaurants today.
  • Some sort of meat--Boiling and grilling the meat were 2 common ways of preparing meat, poultry, and fish dishes. Slow-cooked, salted pork flavored with vinegar and orange juice, called poc chuc, is a delicious choice.
  • Eggs--Drizzling scrambled eggs with peppers and salsa is putting a decidedly Mayan twist on this universal breakfast protein. Mayans ate eggs from various birds and creatures, but you can stick with hens' eggs if you prefer.
  • Black beans--Nearly every Mexican dish is perfectly paired with refried beans, but the Mayans loved their black beans the best.
  • A couple hunks of white queso--The smooth, creamy cheese softens the zing from the salsa and rolls up perfectly in a corn tortilla with some beans and poc chuc.

Now you know what a traditional Mexican breakfast includes. When you want to try something new at your favorite Mexican restaurant, you'll have no problem assembling a proper Mayan morning meal from their à la carte selections. The restaurant may already have their own version of a Mexican breakfast to make it even easier for you to order, so be sure to ask your server at a Mexican restaurant in Tucson AZ.