I’d say I was lucky to be able to live in UAE, a country where 80% of its population are expatriates from multitude of other countries. This allows me to easily have a taste on many kind of culinary. Cafes with specific dishes of India, Turki, Pakistan, Korea, Polynesia, or any other region can be found just around the corner, and one of them has Mexican flavors!
Last week I got an invitation to taste Mexican foods at Amerigos Mexican Bar and Restaurant in Park Inn by Radisson Blu, a hotel located in Yas Island. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Mexican foods other than taco, quesadilla, and tortilla chips and I knew them only from Mexican telenovelas such as Maria Mercedes, Rosalinda, or Marimar which were popular in Indonesia during the 90s 😂.
The first appetizer served was tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole sauces. The combination of tomato and lime juice in the salsa felt so fresh and rich with spices, while the creamy guacamole was made of avocado, onion, tomato, coriander leaves, and lime juice. The perfect combination of fresh ingredients made both sauces tasted delicious. After the tortilla, came another set of appetizers which were a bowl of Creamy Soup of Corn and Mushroom, Traditional Quesadilla, Chicken Taquitos Dorados, and Shredded Beef Salpicon Tostada. They were scrumptious, crunchy, and tasty, but my favorite was the Chicken Taquitos Dorados, a hot and spicy barbecued chicken meat rolled in tortilla. Very much compatible to Indonesia palate 👍🏻.
We barely scrapped the bottom of the plate when the waiter brought us the salad, one dish that I’ve been waiting for! I noticed that each culture has its own kind of salad. Indonesia, for instance, has Gado-Gado, while Thailand has Papaya Salad, and Vietnam is proud of its Noodle Salad. And who doesn’t know Korean kimchi? That’s why I was intrigued on what kind of salad Mexican had.
Turned out that Mexican Salad had a unique characteristic, a marriage between western salad and a healthy dose of spices. Take Chevice de Atun, for example, a tuna meat cured in lime juice. The meat tasted sweet and sour, with no fishy after taste. They also served us Pineapple and Cucumber Salad with Tajin Chile Powder whose flavor reminded me of Indonesian Rujak Buah: sour, salty, sweet, and hot. So refreshing. I craved for this salad as I wrote this post! 🤤. I think I’m gonna go there again to have another serving of both salads, just to drive the summer away!
The main menu we got was a plate of US flank, Adobo Australian Lamb Chops, and Free-Range Chicken Breast Steaks, grilled with one whole Jalapeno Toreado, and cuts of Corn Cobs. The steak was served with a bowl of Charro Beans, a typical Mexican bean soup. Again, unlike European steaks which usually minimalistically spiced, Mexican steak was rich with spices. According to Chef Jorge Rodrigues –Amerigos’ Chef de Cuisine, a few dozens kind of spices were used to marinate the steak.
The chef also, upon knowing that we were Indonesians, served us a small cup of Habanero Paste. Having used to Indonesian rawit, we initially underestimated this chili paste but at the end we had to admit that rawit was nothing in the face of habanero! Lucky for us that the dessert presented was dulche de leche cream caramel, so we could quickly put the habanero fire down.
All in all, I really enjoyed the Mexican foods because of their bold taste of herbs and spices. The restaurant ambience, situated at the poolside with life musicians performing latin songs, also helped us mexicanized our night away.