Many years ago, I remember being in a Mexican restaurant in Iowa City with my mom.
It might've been even before I began living in Mexico but I don't remember exactly when this was.
Anyway, we are in Iowa City where there is this really nice Mexican restaurant that has pretty good food.
And, as I wrote here, I generally like the American version of Mexican food compared to the Mexican version of the same foods in Mexico itself.
Just because the American version -- while lacking in variety of foods to try when compared to Mexico -- tends to be made in a way that works better for American taste buds.
It fits out cultural tastes better in the same way that, as I wrote here, Mexicans enjoy changing sushi from its original take to something more culturally appropriate to their own country also.
However, on that day eating in this Mexican restaurant with my mom in Iowa City, I decided to get a little bit adventurous with the food.
I forgot what it was but it was something they had in the restaurant that claimed to be very spicy.
I put it on one of the tortillas that came with the fajitas I ordered.
And I fucking hated it.
I was dying and had to literally drink at least a liter of water until the inside of my mouth was no longer on fire.
My mom had a laugh at it.
No more of that intense spicy shit for me.
And life went on.
As I said, I eventually began living in Mexico and, to perhaps your surprise, actually gave spicy shit a try.
Over the years, I've come to realize a certain difference in how Americans view what is spicy and how Mexicans view it.
The Mexican Spicy
When I first began living in Mexico City, I usually never gave too much of a chance to anything spicy.
And, if I'm being honest, I'm still quite picky as it comes to wanting anything spicy in my food.
With past Mexican girlfriends, they would -- as is typical for Mexican women -- try to "colonize" my taste buds by wanting to force me to eat something spicy.
Be like us. Be Mexican. Eat the spicy.
But I'd always tell them "no, no, I want to enjoy my food. Not ruin it."
Given my dick is 17 inches (23 inches on a good day), they always forgave me for such comments.
Anyway, I have grown to like spiciness a little bit.
In my first year, I took baby steps.
Specifically, I'd always experiment with the red sauce at La Casa de Toño.
And I say "baby steps" and "experiment" because, when compared to other Mexican establishments, La Casa de Toño isn't known for having the most spicy salsa around.
It really isn't.
But eventually I'd begin trying "the red salsa" in other establishments.
Mexicans have always told me too that green salsa is supposedly less spicy than red salsa but that's never been my experience.
Similar to past girlfriends, I think they lie to me because they want me to grow even more accustomed to spicy shit and so they claim the spicier green salsa is less spicy in order to get me to try it.
Not falling for that again.
Anyway, even in regular street food taco spots or whatever else, I'd go for the red salsa also if I happen to be ordering tacos.
Not usually is the case where I'd put salsa on other Mexican food items but sometimes gorditas get some salsa also if I'm feeling like it.
Regardless, I have clearly come to enjoy some spiciness over the years.
Red salsa always.
But, as I think about my experience trying anything "spicy" in the US and comparing it to the "spicy" in Mexico, there is one clear difference I have noticed over the years between the American idea of what is spicy and the Mexican idea of what is spicy.
The Superiority of the Mexican Spicy over American Spicy
Right away, I know what you are thinking.
"The American spicy claims to be spicy but isn't spicy at all!"
That's not my complaint.
I'm sure that's the complaint some have for certain things you find in the US but I'm not addressing that right now in this article.
Actually, the complaint I have is that some of the American spicy tends to be overdone for the purpose of being overdone.
Like a 5'5 Mexican dude who compensates for being short by being very aggressive and always having an angry face on him, the American "spicy" salsa compensates by being overly spicy to the point it's not enjoyable to consume.
That's the difference.
The Mexican spicy salsa is at least savory.
It has a certain flavor to it and it isn't just trying to be spicy for the sake of being spicy.
There is actual flavor to it that is enjoyable to consume when you put it on your flautas, tacos al pastor or gorditas (or whatever else you prefer).
The American "spicy" salsa is bland as fuck.
Has none of that extra flavor to it.
And, when you try the "ultra spicy" hot sauces in the US, they are just uncomfortably spicy.
Taste like dogshit too.
In my opinion, I think the American "spicy" salsas are like this because 1) most Americans don't eat anything spicy in most of their meals where, in Mexico, you have to remind the cook "sin picante" for a lot of shit down here if you don't want anything spicy and 2) they have fucked up spicy salsa for more of the shock value than actually to improve the meal itself.
On that last point, it's more for the experience of trying something spicy when you don't normally eat anything spicy and so you go balls to the wall on the spiciness without any fucks given about the taste or anything else.
Most likely because plenty of Americans -- though not all to be fair -- are not used to overly spicy foods when compared to Mexico (though compared to Colombia, sure) and so the idea of "spicy and flavorable" isn't something that crosses some of their minds.
And I emphasize some.
I get plenty do eat spicy shit.
It's just a generalization.
But for many of those that don't truly enjoy spicy foods, then going for the "ultra spicy" salsa that is marketed as such for the experience of consuming something crazy is done for that experience alone and not to truly improve the culinary experience.
That's just my theory anyway on why, when compared to Mexico, it seems like Mexicans don't go overdue it when it comes to adding the spicy to the meal.
Some do perhaps.
But they don't as easily forget including a salsa that is spicy but still has that flavor to it and isn't bland.
But, above all, just keep in mind it is all a generalization.
I'm sure there are good parts of the US that serve decent spicy shit with flavor but, in my experience, Mexico does offer better spicy shit with better flavor that isn't as bland as what I remember back home.
Where, depending on how spicy you prefer it (red salsa, green salsa or whatever), you will more likely encounter some taste with whatever spicy shit you are eating.
That's just my experience anyhow and what I've noticed over the years.
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Thanks for reading.