I’m really sure that en tu propio pais (in your own country), there are many things that foreigners find weird or they just never knew about. It’s the same with Mexico, but maybe todavía puedo sorprenderte (I can still surprise you) with these 10 weird facts about Mexico!
- 1. We like eating bugs
- 2. We know how to detect a taco that is serving real meat
- 3. We could have a massive meal for dinner, but we’ll never eat watermelon
- 4. We prefer sour and spicy candies over sweet ones
- 5. “Ahorita” is an indefinite measure of time
- 6. We have the longest underground river in the world
- 7. Mexico introduced chocolate to the world
- 8. The name of our country is not Mexico and we are not in South America
- 9. Our Bogeyman is called La Llorona
- 10. Bank notes in Mexico have Braille-like markings on them for the blind
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1. We like eating bugs
Just like in El Rey León (The Lion King), insects are edible in Mexico and they represent an encounter with the pre-Hispanic era, where they took the best ingredients from nature to prepare deliciosos platillos (delicious dishes).
There are around 500 edible species, many of which are used for medical purposes. However, some are very popular as el relleno de un taco (a taco’s filling).
- el gusano de maguey (Maguey worm), which is saladito y crujiente (salty and crunchy) when chewed, with a flavor similar to that of mezcal on the palate.
- la hormiga Chicantana (Chicantana ant), and even though its capture is not easy, it’s very popular and it could be used in salsas, tamales, caldos, guisados y galletas (sauces, tamales, broth, stew, and cookies).
- el chapulín (a type of cricket), which is perfect as a snack and may be accompanied by chile piquín (a kind of powder chili), or in delicious dishes totally gourmet.
¿Comerías alguno de estos platillos? (Would you eat any of these dishes?) Let me know in the comments!
2. We know how to detect a taco that is serving real meat
There is a saying in Mexico that goes: if there’s a dog around a taco stand, then you are not eating dog’s meat.
¡Sé como se escucha! (I know how it sounds!), but in a country like Mexico, where a lot of our food is sold on the streets, we need to make sure we are eating beef or pork, or whatever they’re advertising.
Así que, si no hay perros alrededor (if there are dogs around), then you can be sure you are not eating dog’s meat because… perro no come otro perro, ¿verdad? (Dog doesn’t eat dog, right?)
3. We could have a massive meal for dinner, but we’ll never eat watermelon
¡Podremos cenar torta, pero jamás sandía! —This is also a very particular Mexican belief. You can go and have the heaviest dinner ever: comerte 10 tacos y 5 tamales (you can eat 10 tacos and 5 tamales) and you’ll be fine! You might feel a bit heavy, but we’re Mexicans! ¡Podemos con ello! (We can take it!)
But what is not recommendable is to eat watermelon at night because… “nos va a caer pesado” (it will fall heavy on us), it can make us sick, and it can “freeze” our stomach. So, mexicano que se respete, no cenará sandía (A good Mexican won’t have watermelon for dinner).
4. We prefer sour and spicy candies over sweet ones
When I was a child, it never occurred to me that chamoy, which is a candy made of frutos secos, chile, sal y azúcar (dried fruit, chilli, salt sugar and water) wasn’t sold all over the world.
Mexican children can eat a bag of spicy chips like it’s nothing, or a lollipop with chili on it.
Cuando viajaba entre Europa y México (when I used to travel between Europe and Mexico) and got my own supplies of Mexican candies, I used to offer them to all my friends, until I realized that they were just being polite by accepting them, but never eating them because… who likes to eat spicy candies, right?
5. “Ahorita” is an indefinite measure of time
I’m not saying that all Mexicans are like this, but many of us use the word “ahorita”, which would mean “right now” in English, to explain the lapse of time we need to do something.
- ¿A qué hora piensas dormirte? (What time are you going to sleep?)
- Ahorita. (Right now.)
It’s understood that “ahorita” can mean inmediatamente, en cinco minutos o en una hora (immediately, in five minutes, or within one hour), and nobody will be bothered about it.
So, if any of your Mexican friends is late and tells you “ahorita llego” (I’m almost there), you might want to wait… while sitting.
6. We have the longest underground river in the world
You have probably heard about los cenotes, a Mayan term that means “hole in the water”, which are a reservoir of spring water with a certain depth.
The water there is super fria (super cold) and many cenotes are underground, but the Sac Actun system, located in Yucatan (a state in the South of Mexico) has 111 entrances of cenotes, which is una atracción turística (a tourist attraction).
However, it is important to highlight that these environments are very fragile and, therefore, it is important to care for the entire ecosystem in which they are located. Its length is 371.958 kilometers (231.124 miles).
7. Mexico introduced chocolate to the world
Sí, así como lo oyes (yes, as you hear it), Mexico is responsible for some of that chocolate addiction.
A mí no me gusta el chocolate (I don’t like chocolate), but I’ve seen the love people have for it and I wanted to add this fact here.
Christopher Columbus was probably the first person who took cacao beans for the Kings of Spain, but back then, the taste was bitter, and it wasn’t until Hernán Cortés took chocolate to court que se volvió famoso (that it became famous), as they started having it as a drink, like Emperor Moctezuma.
Y el resto es historia (the rest is history)…
8. The name of our country is not Mexico and we are not in South America
This is something that I would always discuss con mis amigos en Europa (with my friends in Europe): Mexico is not South America and the United States is not the only country with that name!
Now, Mexico is located in North America! (No te olvides que también existe América Central / don’t forget there’s also a part called Central America) and the official name of our country is Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United Mexican States). —This is how it appears in our Constitution.
Of course, Mexico is a well accepted name, and it’s how we are known all over the world, but just so you know, we have a different name.
9. Our Bogeyman is called La Llorona
As every country, we needed a system that would help our children in portarse bien (behaving), and that’s “La Llorona”.
Mexican kids wouldn’t be afraid of the Bogeyman as they would of La Llorona, overall, because all of our folk tales say that fue una mujer real (she was a real woman).
Mexico is rich in legends and tales, and one of the most popular talks about the banshee of a woman who drowned her children and who later, repentant and cursed, searches for them at night in ríos, pueblos y ciudades (rivers, towns and cities), scaring those who see or hear her with her overwhelming cry.
There are many versions of this story, but what doesn’t change is how scared I was of this character when I was a child. Y creo que aún lo estoy (I think I still am).
10. Bank notes in Mexico have Braille-like markings on them for the blind
I just learned this and I have to say que me siento muy orgullosa (this made me proud) as a Mexican considering that only India, Russia, Canada and Israel do this for their people.
Desde diciembre de 2005 (since December 2005), el Banco de México (the Bank of Mexico) released notes with marks perceptible to the touch, distinctive for each denomination.
Now, if you excuse me, I will go and find out how I can tell the value of a bill by just touching it!
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¡Muy bien! ¿Cuál fue tu punto favorito? (Which was your favorite fact?) ¿Comerías alguno de estos bichos? (Would you eat any of those bugs?) Let me know in the comments!
Feel free to check out the other videos on our channel AND remember that we also have a free, more in-depth Spanish training on our website, where you’ll discover the method we use in our Spring Spanish Academy to teach students to speak fluent Spanish. You also get some free sample Spanish lessons there that come straight from our Academy!