15 Must-Try Traditional Mexican Food


Prepare for a delectable voyage into the heart and soul of Mexico’s gastronomic tapestry. Traditional Mexican meals are more than simply food; they are a vivid celebration of history, culture, and taste creativity. Each meal is a monument to the nation’s rich culinary legacy, from the sizzle of street tacos to the delicate dance of mole’s various components.

Mexican cuisine is a symphony of flavours and textures that combines indigenous, Spanish, and global influences. Join us as we explore the essence of Mexico’s gourmet riches, a carnival of scents and flavours that entices every palette.

1. Tacos

Tacos Photo by Krisztian Tabori on Unsplash

Tacos are a typical Mexican dish made of a tiny hand-sized maize or wheat tortilla topped with a filling. After that, the tortilla is folded around the contents and eaten by hand.

Tacos may be filled with a number of ingredients, including beef, pig, chicken, fish, beans, veggies, and cheese, giving them significant adaptability and diversity. They are frequently topped with condiments such as salsa, guacamole, or sour cream, as well as vegetables such as lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and chiles.

Tacos differ from comparable meals such as burritos, which are frequently considerably bigger and rolled rather than folded; taquitos, which are wrapped and fried; and chalupas/tostadas, which are fried before filling.

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2. Guacamole

Guacamole IMGP1265.jpg Nikodem Nijaki, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Guacamole is a dip, spread, or salad made from avocado that originated in Mexico. It is used as a dip, condiment, and salad element in foreign cuisine, in addition to current Mexican cuisine.

Traditionally, guacamole is produced by pounding peeled, ripe avocados with salt in a mortar and pestle. Because raw avocado is the main component in guacamole, the nutritional value of the meal is derived from avocado vitamins, minerals, and lipids, which provide dietary fibre, various B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E, and potassium in large amounts.

Avocados include saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and phytosterols including beta-sitosterol. Carotenoids such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein are also found in them.

3. Salsa

Salsa Photo by Hybrid Storytellers on Unsplash

Salsa is a popular component in Mexican cuisine, used as a condiment with tacos, in soups and stews, and in tamale fillings. Fresh salsa produced with tomatoes and spicy peppers is known as salsa fresca. Salsa verde is a green salsa produced from cooked tomatillos that is used as a dip or sauce for chilaquiles, enchiladas, and other foods. Chiltomate is a tomato and chile base sauce that is frequently used.

Salsa refers to a range of sauces that are used as toppings for tacos and other Mexican and Mexican-American meals, as well as dips for tortilla chips. They can be served raw or cooked, and they are usually served at room temperature.

4. Chiles Rellenos

Breaded-Chile-Rellenos.jpg Double.reed at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The chile relleno is a traditional Mexican meal from the city of Puebla. It was characterized as a “green chile pepper stuffed with minced meat and coated in eggs” in 1858. The most frequent pepper used is the poblano pepper from Puebla, however, New Mexico chile, pasilla, and even jalapeno peppers are also popular.

It is generally packed with melted cheese, such as queso Chihuahua or queso Oaxaca, or with picadillo meat, which is formed of diced pork, raisins, and almonds seasoned with canella and wrapped in an egg white batter, plain corn masa flour and fried, or without any batter at all. Although it is commonly served with a tomato sauce, the sauces might differ.

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5. Enchiladas

Platón de enchiladas, arroz, nopales y cebollas.jpg Dahyana Yasada R. R., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

An enchilada is a traditional Mexican meal that consists of a maize tortilla wrapped around a filling and topped with a flavorful sauce. Enchiladas can be filled with a variety of components such as meats, cheese, beans, potatoes, veggies, or a mix of these.

Chili-based sauces, such as salsa roja, and moles, tomatillo-based sauces, such as salsa verde, and cheese-based sauces, such as chile con queso, are examples of enchilada sauces.

6. Tamales

Tamales Photo by Tai’s Captures on Unsplash

A tamale, or tamal in Spanish, is a classic Mesoamerican food consisting of masa, a nixtamalized maize dough boiled in a corn husk or banana leaves. The wrapper can be thrown away before eating or used as a dish.

Tamales can be filled with any combination of meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, herbs, chiles, or other flavourings, and both the filling and the cooking liquid can be seasoned.

7. Pozole

Pozole Photo by Albany Capture on Unsplash

Pozole is a popular soup or stew in Mexican cuisine. It’s created with hominy and meat (usually chicken or pig), and it can be seasoned and topped with shredded lettuce or cabbage, chilli peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, salsa, or limes.

Known throughout Mesoamerica since the pre-Columbian era, the stew is currently popular across Mexico and surrounding countries as both a daily meal and a celebratory feast.

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8. Mole

Mole paste Photo by Robby McCullough on Unsplash

Mole is a classic sauce and marinade from Mexican cuisine. A mole sauce typically comprises fruits, nuts, chilli peppers, and spices such as black pepper, cinnamon, or cumin.

In modern Mexico, the term refers to a variety of sauces, some of which are very different, such asmole amarillo or amarillito (yellow mole), mole chichilo, mole colorado or coloradito (reddish mole), mole manchamantel or manchamanteles (tablecloth stainer), mole negro (black mole), mole rojo (red mole), mole verde (green mole), mole poblano, mole almendrado (mole with almond), mole michoacano, mole prieto, mole ranchero, mole tamaulipeco, mole xiqueno, mole pipián (mole with squash seed), mole rosa (pink mole), mole blanco (white mole), chimole, guacamole (mole with avocado) and huaxmole (mole with huaje)

9. Ceviche

Ceviche Photo by Pirata Studio Film on Unsplash

Ceviche is a meal made of marinated fish or shellfish with citrus and spices. Ceviche in different forms is part of the gastronomic tradition of several Spanish-American nations near the Pacific Ocean.

Ceviche is marinated in a citrus-based concoction, with lemons and limes being the most regularly utilized citrus fruits. In addition to imparting taste, the citric acid denatures the proteins in the seafood, giving it the appearance of being cooked. Unlike heat, acid marinades will not destroy germs or parasitic worms.

For around three hours, traditional-style ceviche was marinated. Modern-style ceviche, which became popular in the 1970s, often has a fairly short marinating period. In the time it takes to mix the ingredients, serve, and transport the ceviche to the table, the proper fish can marinade.

10.  Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles Photo by Mary West on Unsplash

Chilaquiles are a popular Mexican morning meal made with quartered maize tortillas that have been gently cooked. The meal is often made using corn tortillas sliced into quarters and gently fried, or baked for a lighter variation.

The crunchy tortilla triangles are topped with green or red salsa. The combination is cooked until the tortilla softens. Pulled chicken is occasionally added to the mix. Crema, crumbled queso fresco, chopped onion, and avocado slices are frequent garnishes. As a side dish, chilaquiles can be served with refried beans, eggs, and guacamole.

Regional and familial variants are widespread, as they are with many Mexican meals. Chilaquiles are typically served during breakfast or brunch. As a result, they are a favourite dish for reusing leftover tortillas and salsas.

11. Quesadillas

Quesadillas Photo by Lottie Griffiths on Unsplash

A quesadilla is a Mexican delicacy made of a tortilla filled mostly with cheese, but also with meats, spices, and other toppings, and then grilled on a griddle or stove. Traditionally, a corn tortilla is used, however, a wheat tortilla can also be utilized.

Quesadillas have been made in a variety of styles. Goat cheese, black beans, spinach, zucchini, or tofu are all used in certain variants. A “pizzadilla” is a version that mixes the ingredients and cooking process of a quesadilla with pizza toppings.

Dessert quesadillas are also created with components such as chocolate, butterscotch, caramel, and other fruits. Breakfast quesadillas with eggs, cheese, and bacon are also available.

12. Birria

Birria Photo by Nahima Aparicio on Unsplash

Birria is a goat, beef, lamb, mutton, or chicken stew or soup. Before cooking in a broth, the beef is marinated in an adobo of vinegar, dried chiles, garlic, herbs and spices (including cumin, bay leaves, and thyme).

Birria is a Jalisco-inspired Mexican meal. It is frequently offered at weddings, funerals, and baptisms, as well as major holidays like Christmas and Easter. Although preparation methods vary, the meal is commonly served with corn tortillas, onion, cilantro, and lime.

Birrierias are restaurants or street carts that offer birria and may be found across Mexico, particularly in Michoacán and Jalisco.

13. Tostadas

Tostadas Sencillas.jpg Dahyana Yasada R. R., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tostada is the term given to a variety of meals in Mexico and other regions of Latin America that use a toasted tortilla as the main ingredient.

The word primarily refers to a deep-fried or toasted flat or bowl-shaped tortilla, but it may also refer to any cuisine that uses a tostada as a basis. It can be eaten on its own or as a basis for other meals. Tostadas are often cooked with corn tortillas, however, tostadas made with wheat or other components are also available.

Stale tortillas, like stale bread, may be repurposed as tostadas by frying them in hot oil until they become brown, stiff, and crispy. Commercial tostadas taste and feel similar to tortilla chips.

14. Sopes

Sopes de frijol.jpg Dahyana Yasada R. R., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A typical Mexican cuisine with a fried masa base and flavorful toppings. It is native to Mexico’s central and southern regions, where it was previously known as pellizcadas. It’s an antojito, which appears to be an extraordinarily thick tortilla topped with veggies and meat.

The fried masa foundation is topped with refried beans, crumbled cheese, lettuce, onions, red or green sauce, and sour cream. Other ingredients (mainly meat) are occasionally added to produce varied flavours and styles.

15. Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Huevos rancheros is a breakfast egg meal that is similar to the customary substantial mid-morning feast on rural Mexican ranches. cooked eggs are served on gently cooked or charred corn or flour tortillas, topped with a pico de gallo of tomatoes, chile peppers, onion, and cilantro. Refried beans, Mexican-style rice, and guacamole or slices of avocado are common accompaniments, with cilantro as a garnish.

Variations employing wheat flour tortillas instead of corn, and pureed chili or enchilada sauce instead of tomato-chili pico de gallo, have arisen as the meal spread beyond Mexico. Non-Mexican ingredients such as cheese, sour cream, and lettuce have also grown popular outside of the dish’s original territory.

Don’t forget to try regional specialties, since Mexican food varies widely from state to state. Whether you’re eating street cuisine in Mexico City or a traditional restaurant in Oaxaca, you’re bound to come across a variety of delectable delicacies.

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