Sit down at any Mexican restaurant and the first thing you’ll see on the menu is pages of tacos or burritos. This leaves many to assume that perhaps these two dishes are some of the oldest and most traditional in mexican cooking. Believe it or not, one dish is much older than either one. What is the oldest traditional Mexican food dish? Tamales of course.
This famously delicious Mexican dish wrapped in palm leaves is one of the oldest traditional dishes in Mexico. It is also one of the oldest traditional dishes in history that is still being prepared in the modern day. Historians have traced the invention of the tamale all the way back to 8,000 BCE. They are believed to be almost identical to the tamales we still enjoy today.
The theory is that Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs most likely prepared tamales as a way to transport food with ease. Since the ingredients of tamales are wrapped, they could be carried while going about other activities. Today, tamales are still an integral part of Mexican food and authentic cooking. Most people with Mexican heritage see them as an integral part of their cultural and family identities.