Search
Share
Sasha Savinov By
Posted 19 Feb, 2020 | One Comment
Posted in: Mexico, Travel Blogs

While there are countless reasons to travel there, the food in Mexico alone makes it worth the trip. From tacos al pastor on a busy street corner to a fancy dinner in a world-famous restaurant, the culinary options are endless.

To say that food is a big deal in Mexican culture is a vast understatement. The country’s cuisine is a vital part of its culture and is a point of pride for the Mexican people. Eating is one of the best things to do in Mexico!

There are so many incredible places to visit in the country, and the cuisine changes depending on the region. Of course, you can always find staple dishes like tacos, but the fillings and toppings vary. Then there are the various local specialties — mole in Oaxaca, carnitas in Michoacan, and fresh ceviche on the coast in places like Cozumel, Tulum, Cancun and Isla Mujeres.

Mexico has been my home away from home for the better part of the last three years, and one reason I keep coming back is the food. During these years, I’ve done some solid research (i.e. I’ve eaten all the things) from coast to coast. It wasn’t easy, but someone had to do it!

best food to eat in mexico

In this post, you’ll learn about the history of Mexican food, the top 10 dishes you should try, the best foodie tours, and I’ll even list some of the best drinks. 

Here it goes. My guide to the best food in Mexico.

Information About Mexican Food

Mexican food is famous the world over, and for good reason. It’s full of flavor, color, and history. 

First of all, let’s draw the important distinction between food in Mexico and what you’ll find north of the border. Those hard-shell tacos with ground beef and gigantic burritos are tasty, but they’re Tex-Mex and not real Mexican cuisine.

The traditional food in Mexico is so well-known and respected that it made the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Along with traditional festivals like Day of the Dead and music such as mariachi, the cuisine is a defining element of Mexican culture.

As I mentioned, the cuisine of Mexico has a long and complex history. Let’s dive into that a bit and learn more about the food in Mexico.

History of Mexican Food

The history of Mexican cuisine dates back thousands of years to indigenous groups like the Maya. Their domestication of maize (corn) might be the single most important event in the history of this famous cuisine.

They began using the process of nixtamalization, which is when you cook corn in limewater then grind and dry it to create masa flour. This is where we get the all-important staple in the Mexican diet — the almighty tortilla.

corn tortillas a staple in mexican diet
Corn tortillas are a staple food in Mexico

At the time, people were hunter-gatherers. It wasn’t always easy getting meat for protein, so beans were very common, and they remain a staple in the local diet in Mexico to this day.

With the Spanish conquest came the introduction of many new foods to Mexico — rice, garlic, and spices such as cinnamon. They also introduced the idea of dairy products and meat from domesticated animals.

The Spanish brought slaves with them, which introduced elements of some Asian and African cuisines to Mexico. More recently, the influence of its neighbor to the north (the USA), with whom it shares a 2,000-mile border, can be seen. 

Main Ingredients of Mexican Food

As you might expect, corn is the main ingredient in Mexico. While both rice and wheat were brought to Mexico from abroad, the country has continued to favor corn one century after the next.

Whether it’s a stick of elote (Mexican street corn), a plate of yummy chilaquiles, or just a hot basket of tortillas served with dinner, there’s always corn on the table. It even comes in drink form, such as pozol or atole

Other vital ingredients in Mexican cuisine include beans and chili peppers. There are chilis of all shapes, colors, sizes, and heat levels here.

Although Mexican food has a reputation for being spicy, it’s not always muy picante. People use chilis to add flavor and not just for the spice factor. 

Avocados, tomatoes, squash, and cocoa are other important well-known native ingredients. Some you might not be familiar with include huitlacoche (a type of corn fungus) and nopal (a type of cactus).

In addition to tortillas, sauces are a vital part of a meal in Mexico. From enchiladas smothered in green salsa to chicken drenched in mole negro, there are tons of different sauces in Mexican cuisine.

There’s also the ubiquitous chili powder and hot sauce, which Mexicans seem to love putting on just about everything. Walk along the beach and you might be offered a mango covered in both. It seems a bit odd, but trust me when I say it’s delicious!

traditional mexican food ingredients
Traditional Mexican food items

Influences of Food in Mexico

You can see a wide range of influences from all corners of the globe in Mexican cuisine. There’s the obvious Spanish influence of course — a result of the conquest of the country in the 1500s. 

Originally, the Spanish conquistadores tried to recreate their diet from back home in the New World. They started growing rice, which is still a big part of the food in Mexico. 

More importantly, the introduction of the domestication of animals led to a big increase protein consumption through meat and cheese. It’s hard to imagine Mexican cuisine today without things like chorizo and Oaxaca cheese!

Fast forward to the 19th century, and Mexico saw many different waves of immigrants arriving. The Lebanese brought shawarma, which led to the creation of tacos al pastor. French food became popular with the upper class at this time, and Mexico soon adopted a taste for bread and sweets.

Of course, there’s also the obvious influence of the USA on food in Mexico. American chains are all over the place and are quite popular. Mexican street food has been Americanized as well, with plenty of vendors selling perros calientes (hot dogs) and hamurguesas. Of course, these come with jalapeños and hot sauce. This is still Mexico, after all!

Food in Mexico: 10 Dishes You Shouldn’t Miss

When traveling here, you can chow down on delicious Mexican street food or sit down in a restaurant. These range from simple, budget-friendly local joints up to world-renowned places where the waitlist is weeks long.

You could honestly plan your entire trip around eating and there would be absolutely nothing wrong with that — Mexico is (hands down) one of the best countries to travel for food. While there are numerous dishes you should try when you travel to Mexico, these are my top 10.

Tacos

Let’s start with the undisputed king of Mexican cuisine — the taco. There really is a taco truck on every corner here, and I don’t see a problem with that! 

A taco can be many different things in Mexico, but I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s never a hard shell full of ground beef, lettuce, sour cream, and cheese (if you want that, you’ll have to head to a fast-food joint in the USA). In Mexico, if it has cheese on it then it’s a quesadilla, not a taco.

Typically, a real Mexican taco starts with two small, soft corn tortillas. Then comes the main filling, which can vary from carne asada (grilled meat) and frijoles (beans) to fried shrimp and spicy chorizo. The most common garnishes are diced white onion and cilantro, in addition to the various salsas and hot sauces that are typically on the table.

tacos al pastor mexico food
Tacos al pastor…my favourite!

When it comes to tacos, it’s hard to beat al pastor. This mouth-watering spit-grilled pork is the Mexican version of shawarma and it’s fantastic. You can find them all over the country, but nobody does it like Mexico City.

If you like eating tacos, then you’re going to love traveling in Mexico. You can usually get 4-5 tacos for $2 or less from street food vendors and local restaurants. Even gourmet tacos in nice restaurants won’t break the bank — affordable food is one of the many reasons why Mexico is one of the cheapest places to travel.

Mole

This next one is actually just a sauce. There are many different varieties of mole sauce, but the most famous is definitely mole poblano. This is known as the Mexican national dish, as it’s eaten on special occasions all over the country.

This dark sauce is composed of over 20 ingredients, with the most important being the chili pepper and chocolate. It sounds strange at first, but it’s actually a perfect mix that’s neither too sweet nor too spicy.

Mole sauce is commonly served over turkey, which is native to Mexico. These days mole dishes with chicken are quite popular as well. You usually get a side of rice to accompany it, with a plate usually setting you back $3-4 in a local restaurant. 

In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced “mol-eh,” not like the funny little mammal!

sampling the different mole sauces is one of the top things to do in mexico
Mole is a must try in Mexico

Chiles en Nogada

This is definitely one of the coolest Mexican dishes out there. It’s a poblano chili stuffed with shredded meat cooked with fruits and spices. Then they pour a creamy walnut sauce on top along with some pomegranate seeds.

The result is a dish that’s bursting with flavor. People love eating this around Independence Day, as it has all three colors of the Mexican flag — green chili, white sauce, and red pomegranate. 

Chiles en nogada is only found on menus when pomegranates are in season. This is usually from late August until early January depending on the region. If this sounds like a dish you want to try, those 5 months might just be the best time to visit Mexico.

chiles en nogada mexico food
Chiles en nogada, a unique Mexican food

Pozole

This traditional soup is definitely one of the best dishes in Mexico. It’s made from hominy, which is a food made from dried corn kernels. 

You can order a bowl of pozole with different types of meat, with pork and chicken being the most popular. You can also just order it as it is if you’re looking for a vegetarian-friendly dish.

This is one of those dishes that’s very common all across Mexico. It’s definitely comfort food for Mexicans, who will likely tell you the best bowl can be found at their abuela‘s house.

If you don’t have a Mexican grandma, don’t worry — you can find pozole just about everywhere. A bowl of it usually only costs $2-3 and will keep you full for a while.

A bowl of pozole is more than just a dish, it’s an entire experience. As such, I’ll have more on it coming up later in this guide to the food in Mexico.

pozole
Pozole is a tasty food in Mexico

Huevos Rancheros

This famous Mexican dish means “Ranch-Style Eggs” and it can be found on menus all over the country. It consists of fried eggs served on tortillas covered with fresh salsa. It’s simple, filling, and delicious!

When you order a plate of Huevos Rancheros, you typically get some refried beans and/or Mexican rice on the side as well. If you’re lucky, you might even get a few slices of avocado. 

The salsa is typically red, but you can also order an interesting spin-off dish called Huevos Divorciados (Divorced Eggs). One egg has red salsa while the other has green, hence the name as they’re split up.

huevos rancheros mexican food
Huevos rancheros – breakfast of champions

Cochinita Pibil

This next item on our list is definitely one of the best dishes in Mexico. Cochinta pibil is a mouth-watering, slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatan. Think pulled pork, only better. 

The key to getting this tender, juicy pork is marinating it in a very acidic citrus juice that is seasoned with annatto seeds. These come from the achiote tree that is native to Mexico and gives the dish its signature orange-ish color.

The name cochinta refers to a baby pig, so the traditional way to make this dish is with a suckling pig. Sometimes it’s just a pork loin, though. Meanwhile, pibil is a style of cooking where the meat is wrapped in banana leaf and cooked in a pit for several hours. 

It’s a lot of work, but the results are well worth it.

cochinita pibil
Cochinita pibil, a tasty meal in Mexico

As with most Mexican meals, cochinita pibil is typically served with a plate of fresh tortillas along with some rice and beans. It has a little kick but isn’t too spicy, and you can add your own heat with salsas and extra peppers.

You’ll find cochinita pibil from both street food vendors and fancy restaurants. Of course, the price can differ greatly depending on where you enjoy it! A few tacos will set you back a few bucks while a nice meal in a place with tablecloths could cost closer to $10.

Aguachile

There’s no doubt that Mexico is a country that loves its meat, but there are some amazing seafood dishes here as well. One of the best and most uniquely Mexican dishes is aguachile, which means “chile water.” 

As you may guess from the name, this is a spicy one. Basically, aguachile is raw shrimp that’s “cooked” in a mixture of lime juice, chili peppers, and salt. It’s kind of like ceviche, only quite a bit spicier and only made with shrimp.

There are several different styles of aguachile that range in their level of heat. Usually, verde (green) is the mildest option, and if you see diablo (devil) on the menu, well you can probably guess how hot that one is! 

Aguachile is typically served with some slices of onion and cucumber. Pile it up onto tortilla chips or crackers and dig in. A good way to counteract the heat is to order a side of avocado.

Since it’s a plate full of shrimps, this isn’t the cheapest dish. Even at a simple local joint, it costs $9-10 for a plate of aguachile. Sometimes you can just buy individual tostadas (toasted/fried tortilla) with the shrimp on top for $1-2.

aguachile in mexico
If you can handle the heat, aguachile is a must try

Chilaquiles

When it comes to breakfast in Mexico, it’s hard to top chilaquiles. This classic Mexican dish is made with little fried triangles of tortillas, which are topped with green or red salsa. The truth is, it’s basically breakfast nachos!

To be clear, they don’t just dump a bag of chips on the plate. Usually, people take leftover tortillas from the day before and cut them up before lightly frying them. It’s the perfect way to use up those tortillas and make a tasty breakfast.

When you order chilaquiles, you can typically add toppings like eggs or chicken for an extra cost. On their own, they usually come with some crema, a bit of crumbled cheese, and the usual sides of pickled veggies and salsas. 

You can find chilaquiles on menus all over the country in establishments big and small. It’s a very typical dish in all areas of Mexico. This one will fill you up without emptying your wallet. A plate usually costs $3-5 depending on your toppings.

chilequiles food in mexico
Chilaquiles, hangover breakfast!

Birria

This next one definitely needs to be on your “must eat” list for food in Mexico. Birria is a stew made from mutton or goat and it is incredibly delicious.

You can eat birria as a soup (they call it consome in Mexico), adding diced white onion, cilantro, salt, and salsas to your liking. It wouldn’t be a Mexican meal without tortillas, so you always have the option of assembling some tacos or just dipping the tortillas in the soup.

This classic Mexican dish hails from the state of Jalisco, so that’s where you’ll find the best stuff. In places like Guadalajara and the food trucks and restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, there are countless choices for getting your birria fix. 

If you’ve had a big night out partying, it’s worth it to get up in time to catch the birria tacos before they close. They take two tortillas, stuff them with birria, and fry them up so they’re nice and crispy. Get a few of these and dip them in the side of soup for an epic hangover cure.

Best of all, a couple of tacos with the soup will only set you back $2-3. You can also find a proper bowl of birria stew in nicer restaurants for $8-10.

birria must try food in mexico
Birria can be had as a soup or in a taco

Tamales

Last but certainly not least are tamales. This traditional Mexican dish is made from masa (corn flour). It’s stuffed with meat, cheese, vegetables, or fruit and then steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. 

The result is a warm, soft, fluffy bed of deliciousness. The best kinds of tamales are the ones that are also served with fresh salsa. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about one!

Tamales are definitely one of the quintessential Mexican dishes and are found all over the country. People push carts around hawking their tamales early in the morning, as they’re usually eaten for breakfast. The sounds of the woman calling out “Tamales, tamales! Muy rico tamales!” is one of the few things that will get me out of bed early.

These aren’t just street food, though. You can buy tamales at the supermarket and also find them in restaurants. If you ask me, there’s never a bad time or place to eat a tamale! 

tamales
Tamales are a traditional and tasty food in Mexico

Traditional Food in Mexico

Many people travel to Mexico in hopes of eating traditional food. The good news is that this is very easy to do! Outside of tourist traps and gringo-friendly places like Señor Frogs, it’s not hard to find the real deal.

For some traditional Mexican cuisine, look no further than the street corner or the local market. This is where you’ll find crowds of locals huddled over countertops, sitting on plastic stools and stuffing their faces with cheap, authentic food.

As my dad advised me when I first traveled abroad on my own — “Find the places that are full of locals and eat there.” 

If you walk by a place that prominently features things like nachos and burritos on their menu, well then that’s not exactly traditional Mexican food. You’ll find these places in touristy areas like 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen or the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta.

Tuck down a random side street to find the real stuff where locals eat.  

Top 3 Traditional Meals to Try in Mexico

We covered just ten of the best dishes in Mexico. I could go on and on about all the amazing things to eat there. That being said, there are a few that stand out above all the rest that you absolutely cannot miss. 

Tacos al Pastor

Whenever I have friends or family visit, the first thing we do is go to eat tacos al pastor. It’s one of those traditional Mexican dishes that you just have to try. 

No matter where I travel in Mexico, tacos al pastor are always there. As they say on the Netflix show “Taco Chronicles” – “Yo soy tu taco de siempre!” (I am your forever taco!). 

The best way to experience tacos al pastor is to find a local street food vendor or restaurant that specializes in making them. Order up all the tacos you want and watch the master at work as he carves the meat and adds a little pineapple wedge. It really is a thing of beauty!

Despite all the meat-heavy dishes in this post so far, vegetarians should be stoked on visiting Mexico as well. These days it’s not hard to find tacos al pastor that are made with soy instead of pork. I’m not a vegetarian myself but I do enjoy eating these from time to time and will say that they’re quite good!

Pozole

As I mentioned in the previous description, eating pozole really is an experience. It’s not just a bowl of soup that you sit down and eat. First, you have to craft your perfect bowl of pozole with all the various sides and condiments presented to you.

Alongside your bowl of pozole, you typically get some shredded cabbage, radishes, lime wedges, onions, and tostadas or tortilla chips. Fix it up the way you like, add your favorite salsa or hot sauce, and then smash up the tostadas into the soup.

Another reason this is a can’t-miss meal is that it’s just such an important, traditional food in Mexico. Seriously, people eat pozole all the time here. It’s one of those things that Mexicans miss about home when they travel. That’s why it’s a must when you travel to their country!

Menu del Dia

In restaurants all over Mexico, they offer a menu del dia (menu of the day). This changes every day of the week, but typically consists of a soup, a main course, an agua fresca (fresh drink), and a dessert. 

Around lunchtime, restaurants are packed with people filling up on the menu of the day. It’s always very filling and economical, costing only $3-4. 

Most places will offer several choices for their menu del dia, so you have lots of options. Usually, there will be a few meat options as well as at least one that’s seafood and another that’s vegetarian. 

Trying the menu of the day is also a great way to get introduced to Mexican dishes you may never have heard of. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and try something totally new. It usually pays off in Mexico!

Street Food in Mexico

Street food is huge in Mexico, from big cities to small towns. You’re never too far away from a street-side taco vendor when traveling here.

In addition to tacos, typical street food includes things like tortas (sandwiches) and tostadas. These are things you can easily eat standing up in just a few bites. 

While some tourists are afraid to eat street food, I advise you to just go for it. In three years of traveling all over this country and eating street food everywhere I go, I’ve never once been sick from it. I’ve actually had some of the best food on street corners in Mexico.

Just look for places that are busy, and the turnover of food is fast (that way it’ll be fresh).

Best Cities for Mexican Street Food

While you can find street food all over the place, some do it better than others. Here are some of the best places to try street food in Mexico:

Mexico City

Not surprisingly, the capital is probably the best place to sample Mexican street food. With around 20 million people living in the metropolitan area, that’s a lot of mouths to feed! People here are also super busy, making street food very appealing.

street tacos mexico city
Don’t miss the street food in Mexico City

You can honestly find street food everywhere in CDMX. Streets lined with high-rise office buildings are usually packed with street food vendors serving the working people on their lunch break.

If you want to try some street food without the chaos of the street, head into a market like Mercado de Coyoacan. This place has some seriously tasty street food at very cheap prices. Another option is to join a food tour and explore the best foodie places in the capital!

Puerto Vallarta

I’m a bit biased to Puerto Vallarta as it’s where I spend most of my time in Mexico, but the street food here really is fantastic. This is especially true if you’re like me and prefer seafood to meat.

This popular beach town has fish tacos, fresh ceviche, spicy aguachile, amazing molcajetes full of shrimp and octopus, and so much more. My personal favorite are marlin tacos. Marlin, the bacon of the sea! Try them at La Tia Mariscos and your life will never be the same.

Of course, you can still just as easily find tacos with carne asada (grilled meat) or chorizo (sausage) here. In a town that likes to party, it should come as no surprise that there’s plenty of late-night street food here as well, including greasy street hamburgers.

☞ SEE ALSO: 10 Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Oaxaca

Another city known for its amazing street food is Oaxaca. Actually, this is just a great place to come for food in general. After all, it is the birthplace of mole.

Speaking of mole, you can try several different varieties of it and also buy the supplies to make your own in the local market here. Be sure to try enmoladas while you’re here. They’re basically enchiladas covered in mole sauce and they’re unreal!

I’ve eaten many a taco in the streets of Mexico, but I think the best I’ve ever had came in Oaxaca at a little street food stall called Lechoncito. These pork tacos are the stuff dreams, and the perfect way to soak up some of that mezcal.

☞ SEE ALSO: Ultimate Guide to Travelling Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Best Food Tours in Mexico

It can be a little intimidating going into a local market or restaurant when traveling. This is especially true if you don’t really speak the language. That’s why food tours are a great option.

Here are three of the best food tours you can take in Mexico:

Mexico City Half-Day Original Markets and Street Food

This highly-rated tour visits three different markets in the capital. One of them is so secret that most locals don’t even know about it!

Along the way, you’ll have the chance to sample several different types of Mexican street food. Click here to book your spot on this awesome tour. It costs $54 per person and lasts for five hours.

Become Local for a Day in Oaxaca

This excellent Airbnb experience is the perfect introduction to all the delicious food of Oaxaca. By visiting 3 local markets, you’ll see all the common ingredients used in the local cuisine.

Be sure to come hungry for this one, as you’ll try upwards of 20 different dishes and drinks! At just $55 per person for a half-day tour, it’s a solid deal! Click here to make a reservation on Airbnb.

Vallarta Food Tours

If you’re traveling to Puerto Vallarta, be sure to check out one of the many tours with Vallarta Food Tours. They have several options to choose from, but I recommend starting with their original downtown tour — it’s one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

This is one of the top-rated food tours in the world on TripAdvisor and for good reason! In addition to trying several dishes and drinks, you’ll learn a lot about the culture and history of Mexican food.

If you’d rather join more of a booze tour with a side of food, check out their “Mex-Ology” tour. Along with the original tour, it’s one of the best tours in Puerto Vallarta

Must-Try Drinks in Mexico

You’ll need something to wash down all that delicious food in Mexico. Thankfully there are plenty of tasty drinks there as well, from a refreshing agua fresca (non-alcoholic beverages) to a smooth pour of tequila. 

Here are some of the best drinks in Mexico you should try:

Juice

Start your day off with a fresh glass of juice. There are endless varieties thanks to all the fresh fruit available here. Just look for signs that say “jugos” (juices) and pick your perfect combination. You can usually get a huge glass for $2.

Cafe de Olla

Coffee drinkers will definitely want to try cafe de olla. This traditional Mexican coffee is made in an earthen clay pot with cinnamon and cane sugar. It’s a bit sweet for my taste but I like it once in a while. At just $1 a cup or less, it’s certainly worth trying.

Atole

Another popular drink for the morning is atole. This thick drink is made from hot corn masa and tastes a bit like a bowl of oatmeal. I’m not the biggest fan to be honest but locals sure love it!

Agua Fresca

Sit down for lunch in any restaurant in Mexico, and the menu of the day is likely to include aguas frescas. Meaning “fresh water,” these are drinks made from fruits, cereals, or flowers blended with water and sugar. 

Some of the most common include jamaica (hibiscus flower), pepino limon (cucumber lime) and horchata. The last one is hard to explain, but it’s made from nuts and rice, and is creamy, sweet, and delicious.

Cervezas

Ready for a cold one? There are lots of good cervezas (beer) on tap in Mexico! From the mass-produced famous brands to small craft breweries, there are plenty of choices when it comes to beer in Mexico.

Mexico’s most famous beer is definitely Corona, as it’s the one you’ll find most often in other countries. Other popular local brands include Victoria, Modelo, Tecate, and my personal favorite, Pacifico.

While the light lagers are all the rage in Mexico, craft beer is on the rise here. This is especially true in Tijuana, Guadalajara, and Mexico City, where you have lots of choices for local craft brews. 

Micheladas

I’m a traditionalist and prefer to just drink my beer, but Mexicans sure love a michelada. This is basically a beer cocktail and there are a few versions. The simplest one is just lime juice and salt and is called a chelada.

Other variations add things like Worcestershire sauce or Clamato, an odd juice that’s a mix of tomato and clam. The result is basically a Bloody Mary but with beer instead of vodka.

michelada drinks in mexico
Try a michelada!

Tequila and Mezcal

Ok, now it’s time for the strong stuff! I’m sure you’ve heard of tequila — one of Mexico’s most famous exports. But do you know about mezcal? Because the two go hand in hand…

You see, tequila is actually a type of mezcal. Sort of like how champagne is a kind of sparkling wine. Mezcal can be made from any agave plant, while tequila can only be made from blue agave.

Even after three years and many a glass of each, I’m not that good at explaining the difference. Go read this excellent article instead.

What I will tell you is that you’re not meant to down shots of tequila with salt and lime. That is, unless you’re an 18-year old Spring Breaker at Señor Frogs. Good tequila is meant to be sipped and enjoyed.

Typically, a shot of mezcal is served with a bit of chili salt and orange wedges. It’s the perfect complement to this uniquely Mexican booze. 

☞ SEE ALSO: Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta – A Neighbourhood and Accommodation Guide

Best Mexico Desserts

Mexicans definitely have a sweet tooth, as they enjoy drinks like cafe de olla and agua fresca. There are plenty of desserts in Mexico as well. 

As I mentioned, it’s common to have a dessert included with the menu of the day for lunch. There are also many bakeries, candy stores, and ice cream shops in Mexico.

Here are some of the best Mexican desserts you should try:

Churros

Another example of the lasting Spanish influence on food in Mexico is the churro. This pastry made of fried dough is covered with cinnamon and sugar and is sometimes stuffed with dulce de leche or chocolate. 

Churros are very popular in Mexico and can often be found in parks and on street corners in the evening. It only costs $2 or so for an order so go ahead and share with friends!

food in mexico churros
Try some churros for dessert

Flan

I know it doesn’t sound very Mexican, but flan is a very common dessert here. Even the fish taco joint down my street has flan. The Spanish also brought this jiggly morsel full of sugar to Mexico. Some of their foods may not have stuck, but dessert sure did!

Marquesitas

This next one is a very Mexican dessert. Marquesitas are grilled crepes that are then stuffed with toppings of your choice. The most common are cream cheese, chocolate, jam, and Nutella. 

These hail from the Yucatan Peninsula and can be found on street corners all over from Merida down to Bacalar. They’re only $2-3 and are absolutely delicious. Perhaps too delicious!

When Do Mexicans Eat?

Mealtimes in Mexico are pretty standard. During the week, most people eat a quick breakfast early in the morning before heading off to work or school. There are always plenty of vendors out in the mornings selling things like juice, coffee, tamales, or tacos de canasta (basket tacos).

Lunch comes in the middle of the day and is usually the biggest meal during the week. Remember when I mentioned the menu del dia? That’s what most people eat for lunch — a soup, main, dessert, and drink.

After a busy day, dinner is typically a smaller meal. I definitely enjoy the Mexican way of eating where you have a bigger meal for lunch and a lighter one for dinner.

Of course, this all goes out the window on the weekend or holidays. People will enjoy a large brunch on these days or have a barbecue with friends and family. Whenever there’s a fiesta, there’s a lot of food on the table!

☞ SEE ALSO: Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen – A Neighbourhood and Accommodation Guide

Best Restaurants in Mexico

This list could be massive, but here are 3 standout restaurants in Mexico you won’t want to miss.

Pujol

Renowned Mexican Chef Enrique Olvera runs this restaurant in the capital’s swanky Polanco neighborhood. He takes traditional street food and puts a unique and gourmet spin on things. They offer 7-course tasting menus and an innovative taco bar here. 

Pujol has been on the Top 50 list for several years running now. Be sure to call or reserve online in advance so as not to be disappointed. 

Quintonil

Just down the street is the only other Mexican restaurant to crack the Top 50 list in 2019, Quintonil. As a matter of fact, Chef Jorge Vallejo even worked at Pujol before starting this place.

The menu here focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients. They even grow many of the ingredients on site on their urban garden. Be sure to bring a group so you can try one of their epic seasonal menus.

Pangea

Mexico City isn’t the only place that gets to have amazing fine dining experiences! Actually, Pangea in Monterrey topped the list of 120 best restaurants in Mexico in 2019.

This excellent restaurant is run by Chef Guillermo González Beristaín. Combining modern French cooking styles with fresh local ingredients, he and his team put together some incredible 7-course tasting menus here. 

Ready for All The Food in Mexico?!

If you made it all the way to the end of the guide, congratulations! You are now basically an expert on food in Mexico. As you can see, there’s a lot more to Mexican cuisine than just tacos.

I hope this guide has inspired you to sample as much local food as possible when you visit Mexico, whether it’s on the street corner, in the local market, or at a fancy restaurant.

Have you traveled to Mexico and have some great recommendations on specific dishes or restaurants? Leave a comment below and let us hear them!

Like This Article? Pin it!

“Food in Mexico: A Culinary Guide to Meals, History and ToursThe Best Food You Must Try in Mexico“Tasty Foods to Eat in Mexico

 

Disclaimer:Goats On The Road is an Amazon Associate and also an affiliate for some other retailers. This means we earn commissions if you click links on our blog and purchase from those retailers.

Share this -

Sasha Savinov

Written by

Sasha is a regular contributor to Goats On The Road where he shares his advice as a full-time traveler and digital nomad. In particular, Sasha is an expert in travelling the United States, Mexico and Thailand. He’s also an online English teacher and a video producer. In fact, he studied video production at Michigan State University. He and his wife Rachel share their adventures on their website, Grateful Gypsies.

Connect with Sasha Savinov -

You may also like...

how to make money for travel 101 travel jobs to make money on the road
Travel Jobs Open Book

Want To Travel More?

We can help!

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and we’ll send you our 101 Ways To Earn Money For Travel eBook for Free, plus we’ll send you a series of emails to show you how to earn money and travel in a financially sustainable way.

FREE DOWNLOAD

One thought on “Food in Mexico: A Culinary Guide to Meals, History and Tours

  1. Very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog. Mexican food is best.

  2. Load all Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I want to...