I have been away from home (home being San Francisco, CA) for nearly a year now. My first new home was London. Mexican food is a cruel joke in London. Being from California, AMAZING Mexican food is in abundance. London has a few places that claim to be authentic Mexican food, but somehow that traditional anglo taste comes shining through no matter how bad your cravings.
Now, I find myself in Cape Town, South Africa. I was skeptical that there would be any Mexican food places here at all. I must admit, I was proven wrong. There is a small group of Mexican food restaurants in Cape Town and they do give it a good try, but still, the anglo takes precedence.
There are no corn tortillas here. That’s right. No. Corn. Tortillas.
It is heartbreaking to say the least. It is difficult to get a jalapeño in the grocery store and the locals don’t know what you are talking about when you pronounce jalapeño correctly. I have lowered my
self to say Jal-A-Peeno. No longer is my “J” pronounced with the “Ha” sound, but instead it is Jal-A-Peeno… sigh. To add to this mounting frustration, the Mexican section at the grocery store (if you can find one) is dominated by El Paso and Uncle Bens. Two very un-mexican, very American, big corporations probably owned by Kraft. This doesn’t even compare to the R55 ($8) price tag on a jar of shit salsa.
In my desperation, I have even gone on a search for Mexican supplies so that I can make my own authentic Mexican meal. I found online stores that cater to my very needs but when I priced masa and a tortilla press, I realized it was going to cost me a small fortune.
While my determination is a bit hindered, I am finding that growing up on authentic Mexican food all my life has led me to a sort of addiction that I cannot quell. And so it goes, I will never be able to tame my love for tacos, chalula or a nice machaca and egg breakfast. It is a daydream muse, a fantasy that I cannot resist- God Damn, I love you Mexico.