¿qué es…?

P for pozole
P for pozole =) delicious soup made from elote (corn)

One of the most important questions when you’re learning a new language is “what is X?” It is extremely useful for finding out a whole lot of vocabulary from friends and figuring out the things you encounter in every day life. I found it invaluable during my time in Mexico! I mean – I had started learning Spanish in high school, went on to study Spanish at University and lived in Spain for about a year – but Mexico is not Spain and along with a new country, places, customs, expressions and cuisine – comes new vocab!
I often found myself using that helpful little phrase – ¿qué es X? and learned a lot of new words as a result – most of them to do with food =) Mexican food was one of the things I certainly learned to love from day one! Right inside the airport arriving in Mexico City I found a place to try delicious chocolate – the Mexican hot chocolate – and molletes – sort of like pizza baguette =D
Then I got to enjoy the hospitality of some Mexican friends and was spoiled with even more amazing things – like sope and sopa, quesadillas, tacos, elote, tamales, mole and agua de jamaica…the Mexican cuisine is undoubtedly and unforgettable experience.
But in case the words themselves don’t mean much to you, I shall share a short explanation and pictures for some of them.
So here’s my ABC of new Mexican Spanish vocabulary =)

A – Agua de Jamaica = yummy drink, like a cold tea, made out of the petals of a flower
B – Borrego = oveja/sheep

C for chicharrón
Ch for chicharrón

C – Comal = like a rectangular flat frying pan on the stove…except its not a pan
Ch – Chido = guay/cool/awesome usually used in a phrase like “que chido”
Chicharrón = fried pig skin, can be bought in the market or in bags sort of like chips
D – Durazno = peach (probably should have known this just never remembered…)

G for gordita
G for gordita

E – Elote = a type of corn, so yummy with mayo, cheese, chilli and lemon
G – Gordita = a type of flat bread made from corn flour and filled with beans, cheese, sauce etc.
H – ¡Híjole! = expression of surprise or being impressed

J for jitomate and t for tomate
T for tomate and J for jitomate


J – Jitomate = tomate/red tomato
Jugo = zumo/juice
L –  Lagartija = lizard: already knew this one, but its one of my favourite words and I saw a lot of them in Mexico, so it deserves an honourable mention =)
M – Mole = an amazing sauce made out of like 12 types of chilli, almonds, peanuts, chocolate in some regions…

N for nopal
N for nopal

N – Nopal = a type of cactus eaten here, tried some =D was yummy
O – Órale = slang expression
P – Padrísimo = súper guay, genial/ sweet, amazing, great
Pozole = amazing soup made from elote (corn) apparently recipes vary greatly from region to region, the one in the village was  great!

Q for quesadilla
Q for quesadilla

Q – Quesadillas = at first I thought it was tortilla filled with cheese folded in half – and that was sometimes true, but it could also be filled with other things =)
R – Rancheras = music heard all over Mexico, usually played by Mariachis, loved the emotion and drama of these songs, have a few stuck in my head still
S – Sope = this amazing flat bread out of cornflour eaten with beans, cheese and spicy red or green sauce)

T for tuna
T for tuna

T – Tomate = parece tomate pero de color verde y se usa para salsa picante /a green fruit that is called tomato in Mexico
Tostadas = crisp tacos covered in e.g. chicken or beans, cheese, sauce
Tuna = the fruit of the nopal  (cactus)
U – Uvi = “2” in the Mixtec of the region where I was
V – Vitamina ‘T’= all good typical Mexican dishes beginning with “t” like tacos, tamales, tortillas, tostadas, tortas
X – Xochimilco = beautiful region in the Federal District with great market places and old canals that can be toured on colourful boats
Z – Zócalo = meaning “plinth”, a famous plaza in the centre of Mexico City – there are Zócalos in other cities too though

X for Xochimilco
X for Xochimilco: beautiful region in the Federal District

So that’s some of what I learned, ate, saw during my time in Mexico, hope you enjoyed the ABC =)
its not quite complete – if you have a suggestion for a Mexican Spanish word with a letter I’m missing please feel free to write it in the comments below =D


4 thoughts on “¿qué es…?

  1. Hi Rahel,

    Now it’s quite clear that you are teacher by heart. 🙂 When will you call in for the test?

    Regards Reinhard

    1. Thanks Reinhard,
      haha I guess it was really a vocab lesson! I got to teach a bit in Mexico and really did realize anew how much I love it =) but there will be no test, I think. The test would be to Mexico and making use of the words =)

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