3 Things You Didn't Know About Salsa

When you go out for Mexican food there are many possibilities on the menu, but one thing you can be sure of is that there will be chips and salsa on the table. While it may not have originated in America, it's one of the most popular condiments in the country, both inside and outside of Mexican restaurants. It even famously became the number one condiment in the country, outselling even ketchup, way back in the 1990s. But how much do you really know about salsa? Take a look at some things to consider the next time you're enjoying salsa and tortilla chips:

Salsa Dancing is Named After Salsa Sauce

Almost as spicy as the condiment is the dancing style known as salsa. If you don't know much about the history of either, you may wonder which one came first, or if the two are even related at all, despite sharing a name.

The condiment salsa dates back to the Aztecs, who made the sauce about the same way it's made today. It's been around for a long time. The dance, which incorporates Caribbean and African elements as well as Hispanic dance moves, is much newer, and largely took shape in New York. The name of the dance comes from the name of the condiment, as promotors thought it was a good metaphor for the fiery and soulful dance moves. Salsa dancing is also a great way to work off the calories after a Mexican meal that includes salsa.

There May Be More Types of Salsa Than You Think

The salsa that most diners are most familiar with is salsa roja – red salsa. It's made from tomatoes, onions, chilies, garlic, and peppers. But you may also come across salsa verde, which is made with green tomatoes or tomatillos, or salsa taqueria, a tomato paste-based sauce that is less chunky than other salsas. More rarely, you may find salsa negra – black salsa – which is made from oil and dried chilies.

You may not realize it, but guacamole is also a form of salsa. And pico de gallo salsa, which is usually served as more of a garnish than a sauce, can be translated as "rooster beak salsa". That's because you're traditionally supposed to eat it with your fingers, and the shape made by picking at the salsa with your thumb and forefinger looks something like a rooster beak pecking at its feed.

You Probably Don't Eat Salsa The Way Mexicans Do

Salsa is certainly an authentically Mexican dish, but that doesn't mean that you're necessarily eating it the way you would if you were a Mexican native.

Salsa is a condiment, but Americans use it more like a dip. It's used more sparingly in Mexico, and not usually eaten by the bowlful with chips. Just like you probably wouldn't eat ketchup by the spoonful or dip chips in it, Mexican natives generally don't eat salsa the way Americans do. Don't let that stop you from enjoying it your way, though!

The next time you have a craving for salsa, try a different variety than your usual choice or use it to enhance the flavor of a taco rather than just eating it out of the bowl with chips. And consider going out for some salsa dancing afterward!

Contact a company like Mike's Salsa and Seasonings for more information and assistance.