Get ready to embark on a flavourful journey through the world of Mexican cuisine. With its distinct flavours and rich cultural heritage, Mexican food is a culinary delight that sets it apart from other Latin American or Tex-Mex dishes.
Mexican food is renowned for its bold and vibrant flavours. Whether it’s the smoky heat of chilli peppers or the aromatic blend of spices like cumin and oregano, each bite is a burst of deliciousness. From street food to home-cooked meals, the tastes of Mexico are sure to tantalise your taste buds and leave you craving for more. In fact, indulging in the cuisine is one of the best things to do in Mexico. It’s a reason to go all on its own.
In addition to its flavours, Mexican culture is known for its warm hospitality. Like in Turkish cuisine and culture, generous portions and making sure no one leaves the table hungry are cherished values. Mexican meals are often shared with loved ones, creating an atmosphere of joy and togetherness.
After three months of dedicated exploration and delightful tastings, we are excited to present the ultimate collection of must-try foods in Mexico. And if you want to jump straight to our recipes so you can try Mexican food at home, here they are. 😉
Top 12 Foods to Try in Mexico
1. Tacos al Pastor
Let’s start our deep dive into Mexican food with one of Mexico’s most iconic dishes: Tacos al Pastor. These mouthwatering tacos feature marinated pork, cooked on a vertical spit and thinly sliced. Served on warm tortillas with fresh pineapple, cilantro, and onions, they deliver a perfect balance of savoury and tangy flavours that will transport you straight to the streets of Mexico City.
No exploration of Mexican cuisine would be complete without mentioning Mole. And yes, mole was indeed one of Frida Kahlo’s favourite dishes. Mole is a complex sauce made with a rich blend of ingredients, including chili peppers, spices, nuts, seeds, and chocolate. It is often served over poultry or meat. While our and Frida’s tastes are definitely different, we still recommend you to try it! 🙂
3. Chiles en Nogada
A true feast for the eyes and the taste buds, Chiles en Nogada is a traditional Mexican dish that is often enjoyed during the country’s Independence Day celebrations. This elegant dish features roasted poblano peppers stuffed with a mixture of ground meat, fruits, and spices. It is then topped with a creamy walnut sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds, creating a stunning tricolour representation of the Mexican flag.
If you’re a seafood lover, you must indulge in the refreshing flavours of Mexican ceviche. This dish combines fresh raw fish or seafood, typically marinated in citrus juices, with a medley of chopped vegetables, herbs, and spices. The result is a tangy and vibrant explosion of flavours that showcases the coastal influences of Mexican cuisine.
Tamales hold a special place in Mexican culinary traditions. These little parcels are made from masa (corn dough) and filled with various ingredients such as meats, cheeses, or vegetables. They’re wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and steamed. Matt was looking forward to try this dish, googled it a lot, found the place with the best reviews, but neither of us liked it at all. It was too dry for us; we were missing some sauce. But tastes differ and you may like it.
Quesadillas consist of a tortilla filled with melted cheese and various ingredients. Classic options include Quesadillas de Queso (plain cheese quesadillas) and Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza (zucchini blossom quesadillas). Other variations include Quesadillas al Pastor (with marinated grilled pork) and Quesadillas de Huitlacoche (with corn fungus). These tasty and versatile delights can be enjoyed as a snack or a main course, topped with cheese and served with rice and beans. Quesadillas are a crowd-pleasing dish and one of Matt’s all-time faves!
No exploration of Mexican cuisine would be complete without indulging in the sweet and crunchy delights of churros. These fried dough pastries are dusted with cinnamon sugar and often served with a side of rich chocolate sauce for dipping. Enjoyed as a dessert or a delightful snack, churros offer a perfect balance of crispiness and sweetness that will satisfy your cravings.
Enchiladas are a beloved Mexican classic that showcases the versatility of the cuisine. These rolled tortillas are filled with a variety of ingredients, such as shredded chicken, cheese, or beans, and then smothered in a yummy red or green sauce.
Of course, let’s not forget about Mexico’s famous creation – burritos! Bulging with ingredients and bursting with taste, burritos have gained immense popularity both within Mexico and around the world. These hearty, handheld delights are a perfect marriage of ingredients wrapped in a warm tortilla.
10. Chipilín Soup
Chipilín, a leafy green native to the region, is a key ingredient in Chipilín Soup. The leaves are cooked in a savoury broth with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and other herbs. The resulting soup has a vibrant green colour and a delightful earthy taste that pairs well with warm tortillas.
We highly recommend you try it in San Cristobal, in a restaurant called El Caldero. They added chicken and perfected it; portions are generous and so warming. They also do a rabbit stew that Matt fell in love with.
11. Sopa Azteca
Also known as Tortilla Soup or Aztec Soup, is a traditional Mexican dish that has gained popularity both within Mexico and internationally. Sopa Azteca typically consists of a flavourful tomato-based broth that is seasoned with various spices such as garlic, onion, and chili peppers. The soup is usually garnished with crispy tortilla chips, avocado slices, shredded chicken, Mexican cheese, and fresh herbs like coriander. Lime juice, crema (Mexican sour cream), and sliced jalapeños are often added for an extra kick of flavour.
Corn holds immense cultural and historical significance in Mexico. It is more than just a staple food; it is deeply intertwined with the country’s identity, traditions, and agricultural heritage.
Mexico is home to an astonishing diversity of corn varieties, reflecting its rich agricultural heritage and the country’s role as the birthplace of maize. While it is challenging to provide an exact number due to the vast range of regional variations, it is estimated that there are thousands of different corn types in Mexico.
Sweet corn, also known as maíz dulce or elote, plays a significant role in Mexican cuisine. Here is the way we especially enjoy sweet corn:
Esquites are a popular street food snack that showcases the sweetness and freshness of corn. In San Cristóbal, you’ll find vendors selling esquites, which is boiled or grilled corn covered with a variety of toppings. These toppings often include lime juice, chili powder, mayonnaise, cheese, and sometimes even diced onions or cilantro. The combination of flavours creates a savory, tangy, and slightly spicy treat that is both refreshing and satisfying.
Make Your Own Mexican Food at Home
While not everyone can travel to Mexico to experience its culinary wonders firsthand, you can still taste the flavours of Mexico in the comfort of your own home. We’ve gathered some of our favourite Mexican recipes inspired by our journeys through Chiapas, Oaxaca, the Yucatan Peninsula, and Mexico City. Whether you’re a fan of classic tacos or exploring the vast array of regional specialities, these authentic recipes will bring the flavours of Mexico to your kitchen.
And if you’re looking for plant-based options, we’ve got you covered. Our personal favourite is a Mexican bean wrap. Packed with wholesome ingredients like beans, vegetables, and yummy spices, these burritos offer a delicious and satisfying taste of Mexico while accommodating a vegan lifestyle.
Here is our collection of Mexican recipes for you:)
Check out our Mexican recipes!
Fudgy brownies are one of our favourite desserts, so when we mastered this gooey brownie recipe we just had to share it. Make the best homemade brownies!
While this bean burrito recipe appeals to vegans, even meat-eaters can fall in love with a Mexican bean wrap done well. Here’s your guide.
If you’ve always wondered how to make guacamole, it’s easier than you think. This mouth-watering guacamole recipe will tell you all you need to know.
If your tastebuds are set on tasty burritos, you don’t have to go all the way to Mexico. Our healthy chicken burrito recipe can be made in your own kitchen.