Internet InfoMedia can foreigners handle the heat mexico city debates milder salsas scaled

Mexico City’s tacos are beloved by locals and visitors alike.

But, recently, a firestorm has erupted over the city’s salsas.

With a huge influx of customers from abroad, many wonder: Are the salsas losing their heat?

Can Foreigners Handle the Heat? Mexico City Debates Milder Salsas.

Gerardo Medina runs the Taquería Los Amigos, a 24-hour stand that sits at a busy intersection in an upscale neighborhood in Mexico City.

With more customers from abroad eating his tacos, he began noticing similar reactions to his pico de gallo: red faces, sweat, complaints about the spiciness.

So Mr. Medina, 30, got rid of the serrano peppers, leaving just tomatoes, onions and cilantro. While he still offers an avocado salsa with serrano and a red salsa with morita chiles and chiles de árbol, he wanted to provide a non-spicy option for international visitors unaccustomed to intense heat.

“It attracts more people,” he said.

A cook wearing a hairnet and red overalls grills meat.
Gerardo Medina at Los Amigos taquería in the Mexico City neighborhood of Roma Norte. He started providing non-spicy salsas to accommodate customers from abroad.

Chiles are fundamental to Mexican cuisine and, in turn, to the country’s identity. Mexicans put them, often in the form of salsas, on everything: tacos, seafood, chips, fruit, beer and, yes, even sorbet.

“Food that isn’t spicy practically isn’t good food for the majority of Mexicans,” Isaac Palacios, 37, who lives in Mexico City, said after consuming tacos smothered in salsa.

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