South Africa: It's All About the Tortilla


Diners continually ask if there are any real Mexican places in Jozi, for there are very many Tex-Mex-food Mexicanish places with big sombreros. There is one. It's not even run by a real Mexican.

The writer supports Nosh Food Rescue, an NGO that helps Jozi feeding schemes with food "rescued" from the food chain. Please support them here.

When Dave Smale and I talk about Tex-Mex and Mexican foods, which is as often as I can manage, we come down to the same thing. It's the tortilla. And it's got to be corn.

By corn, he and anyone who cares mean cob corn, mielies, not wheat or oats crops riffling gently in the breeze. Mielies, as we South Africans know, never do that anyway.

The corn tortilla is the principle way of telling real Mexican food, though not the only one. It's the true basis of a lot of dishes stemming from the real people of Mexico and damn difficult to make fresh. It looks different to a wheat tortilla and it tastes different. The latter is what counts.

A week ago, I tasted a wheat tortilla, just by itself. Generally, these are piled with a Tex-Mex slather of juicy,...

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