Before moving to Los Angeles I was a total Mexican food amateur. Sure I grew up in a Latin household, but the cuisines of Peru and Colombia couldn’t be more different than what one would eat in Mexico.
My idea of Mexican food was limited to “authentic” burritos and tacos. I assumed it was all the same because for the most part Peruvian food isn’t that varied throughout the country, and the same goes for Colombian food. Those two countries, for the most part, eat mainly the same foods in all regions. But when I moved to LA, I realized how varied Mexican food actually is, and I also realized how awesome it is.
I finally understood the differences between Oaxacan moles, the fish tacos from Baja and the cemitas from Puebla. But one item I see in all Mexican restaurants regardless of region or specialty is agua de jamaica (pronounced: xa’majka – the “j” is silent).
It’s usually chilling in one of those great big tubs next to the other agua frescos like catelope, watermelon and horchata. I always choose the jamaica. Always.