This list of typical Mexican food is a selection that covers the different corners of the Mexican gastronomic geography of sea and land.
1. Asada and marinated tacos
What would Mexicans be without tacos? The popular corn tortilla admits any filling, from any type of meat or fish, to all kinds of cheeses and grains and a few varieties of vegetables, chili being a must.
Mexicans eat tacos at any time (well at least I do) and everywhere and the first businesses that were installed in the cities and towns of North America with a minimal Mexican presence were the taquerias.
The enchilada is the basic marriage of corn tortilla, chili and cheese, and anything from there is welcome to join the union as a filling or garnish.
Each Mexican region has made its particular contribution to the enchilada. In the Bajío they prepare the enchiladas mineras, which are made with guajillo chili and ranchero cheese and are accompanied by a salad made with lettuce, potato, carrot and jalapeño chili.
The enfrijoladas are enchiladas covered with beans, the mole ones have the famous poblano sauce and the people of Colima eat some that they sweeten with piloncillo.
Tex-Mex cuisine was born from the integration in the southwestern United States of the culinary tastes of Mexicans who emigrated to the territory in search of a better life.
The Mexican cowboys who worked on the Texan ranches used to receive the toughest parts of the slaughtered cattle for their food and to eat them more easily they used to cut them into small strips which they called fajitas.
The tasty roast beef fajitas are also made with chicken and other meats and are eaten with sauce on a corn or wheat tortilla.
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There is no consensus on the origin of the noun “burrito” as a name for this Mexican dish. One version says that Juan Méndez, a street vendor at the time of the Mexican Revolution, sold them on the back of a donkey, from which the cute name would come.
In any case, unlike tacos, in burritos the tortilla is made of wheat flour and is rolled into a kind of cylinder, which is filled with minced roast beef and fried beans. Meat can be substituted, but beans cannot be left out, this is one of the main names of typical Mexican foods.
Pozole is the Mexican national broth and each family cook has her secret with which she tries to distinguish it from any other in the neighborhood.
The most representative ingredient of pozole is the tender corn grain of the cacahuazintle variety, which is native to Mexico and has a white appearance, giving the dish the complementary denomination of white pozole, which is the most popular.
The broth contains pork or chicken and other varieties are red and green pozole, which take on these colors depending on the ingredients.
Pre-Hispanic-style tortilla chips are toasted corn roasted indirectly over fire on comales, so commercial recipes that fry them break their pre-Columbian spirit.
Its international name of “nachos” is more recent and is attributed to the waiter from Coahuila, Ignacio Anaya, who in 1943 saved some American ladies from hunger with some tortilla chips with cheese.
Now corn tortilla chips are eaten all over the world with cheese, jalapeño peppers and other toppings.
The basic and humble quesadilla is a corn or wheat tortilla, folded and stuffed with cheese, which is grilled or grilled until the dairy melts.
There are also double tortilla quesadillas, one on top of the other with the cheese in the middle, synchronized calls. It has migrated to other types of meat and vegetable fillings, even without cheese, although they continue to be called quesadillas.
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This fresh shrimp broth with chili hails from the Mexican Pacific coast. The original recipe is from Sinaloa and the chiles must be chiltepines, round and small fruits that are left to dry on the plant so that they acquire their characteristic hotness.
The recipe evolved and now there are endless aguachiles, such as red, green and even those that contain tequila or mezcal. A good aguachile can do a lot of good after a party with a strong hangover.
Not many people know that the humble tamale was a food of the Mexica nobility during pre-Hispanic times and the priests used them in their ceremonies, which is where the tradition of offering them on the Day of the Dead comes from.
Now tamales are part of the diet of all Mexicans, wrapped in corn or banana leaves, plain or filled with meats, chili peppers, vegetables and even fruit.
10. Caesar Salad
The Caesar Salad is so universal that many people believe that it is an international cuisine recipe that came to Mexico like many others, without knowing that it is a national creation that is already approaching 100 years of history.
In 1924, Cesare Cardini, an Italian cook based in Tijuana , mixed fresh lettuce with a dressing made from Parmesan cheese, egg and olive oil, to participate in a culinary contest, giving rise to the famous dish.
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11. Puerto Nuevo Lobster
This contribution to Mexican gastronomy was made by the humble wives of the fishermen from the Baja California town of Puerto Nuevo.
In the mid-twentieth century, when fishermen caught lobsters, many stayed at home for normal consumption and the women of Puerto Nuevo began to prepare them fried in lard, cut in half, with a molcajete sauce of golden chiles from the tree. bird’s beak and accompanied by beans and tortillas.
The recipe became a classic and is now the main tourist attraction in the town of Puerto Nuevo, serving tens of thousands of dishes a year.
12. Veracruz style fish
The Spaniards brought olives, capers, and oregano to the New World, and in Mexico they discovered chili peppers and the xictomatl, which was what the indigenous people called the tomato.
One of the most fortunate culinary encounters between these vegetable products from the two worlds is the Veracruz style Fish, for which a piece of preferably white meat is required.
The fish is browned in butter and covered with the exquisite sauce based on güero peppers, tomatoes and other indicated products, also including garlic, onion and peppers.
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13. Come back to life
It is a seafood cocktail widely consumed during the Lenten season, with which coastal Mexicans try to “return to life” without having fasted as if Jesus had to do it in the desert.
The cocktail admits all the variety of shellfish and seafood, such as prawns, shrimp, oysters, octopus and snails. The “Vuelve a la vida” from Veracruz has a hedgehog and connoisseurs say that it is an aphrodisiac bomb.
The Huastecs usually serve a huge tamale up to 5 meters long in their mass meals at parties and meetings, which they cut into portions and is enough for dozens of people.
This tasty tamale is filled with pork meat, ground chili and spices and is prepared in wood ovens sealed with clay. The ancient Huastecs prepared them in holes with hot volcanic stones.
The sandal called huarache was created by the Tarascans and made of cotton until the conquerors brought bovine leather.
Similar to footwear, its namesake was born, the thick corn tortilla that, due to its shape, is reminiscent of the indigenous sandal. The huarache has a varied topping, which can include beans, cheese, meat and vegetables.
The invention of the dish is attributed to Carmen Gómez Medina, a Mexican woman who offered it for the first time in 1935 at her food stall in Canal de la Viga.
16. Chicken in pipián sauce
According to pre-Hispanic mythology, the gourd emerged from the head of a decapitated warrior in a ball game against the lords of the underworld.
The pipián sauce, prepared with a base of roasted and ground pumpkin seeds, has a mythological past and is part of the oldest Mexican culinary traditions.
The delicious pipián chicken has an attractive greenish appearance thanks to the green chili in the sauce.
Fish and shellfish meat marinated in lemon, lime or sour orange juice is prepared throughout the American coast, both in the Atlantic and the Pacific.
It is generally made with a white meat fish, such as grouper, red snapper, hake or corvina, and in Mexico green chili is added to the marinade, which also has red onion, cilantro and other ingredients.
Shrimp ceviches are also very popular. They are usually accompanied with tortilla chips.
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18. Ranch Eggs
Fried eggs covered with slices of chili, tomato, onion, and some other ingredient, accompanied by tortillas and fried beans, was the traditional breakfast of day laborers on Mexican ranches.
The Huevos Rancheros or rancheros breakfasts have gained international recognition and are now eaten everywhere and at any time.
19. Mole Poblano
The most accepted version indicates that this delicious sauce, which is traditionally eaten with pieces of turkey, was created in the 17th century by Sister Andrea de la Asunción in the Santa Rosa convent in Puebla to entertain Viceroy Tomás Antonio de la Serna y Aragón, of official visit in the city.
According to tradition, Sister Andrea used about 100 ingredients. Now we settle for less, but several types of chili, chocolate, tomato, banana, nuts, raisins, sesame, garlic, onion, tortillas and spices cannot be missing.
20. Black Mole
The black mole is one of the gastronomic emblems of Oaxaca and the traditional recipe has 34 ingredients, including 6 varieties of roasted chiles with their seeds, which are black chilhuacle, pasilla, mulato, guajillo, ancho and chipotle.
Like all moles, the most glamorous thing is to eat it with guajolote, the name that Mexicans give to turkey, but it also goes with chicken and pig’s head.
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Guacamole is one of the most popular and versatile Mexican sauces, since it lends itself to sauce anything, from tortilla chips to a meat dish.
Its basic ingredients are avocado and green chili, another reason for its popularity, since both components are abundant and cheap in Mexico.
According to pre-Columbian mythology, the guacamole recipe has a divine origin, being created by Quetzalcóatl himself so that the Toltecs would have something good to sauce.
It is a sauce or dressing that culinary symbolizes the Mexican national flag for the green of the chiles and cilantro, the white of the onion and the red of the tomato.
The most common is the salty one, but there are also sweet ones by incorporating fruits such as watermelon, papaya, mango, melon and guava, among others, eaten as a snack.
The traditional pico de gallo is used to season quesadillas, muffins, salads, grills and other preparations.
23. Baked suckling pig
Baked suckling pig is one of the culinary prides of the hidrocálidos. The tender pork of about 4 kilos must be seasoned with a special sauce several hours before baking.
Ground chile de arbol, fresh and chopped parsley and thyme, garlic, oregano and other ingredients participate in the sauce. When putting it on the baking tray, the piece should initially go skin side down so that the skin cooks first.
The secret to crispy, golden skin is to sprinkle the suckling pig with melted lard and lemon juice.
Birria is a dish based on lamb or goat meat, very popular in Jalisco . In the absence of lamb or goat, they are also made of beef.
The traditional dish is prepared in a ground oven with the meat covered with a sauce based on chili peppers and spices and covered with maguey leaves. The most commercial birrias are prepared in a wood or gas oven.
25. Dogfish bread
This typically folksy dish is prepared with the dogfish from the Gulf of Mexico, which is nothing more than the small shark.
It is similar to a lasagna in which the tortillas serve as the pasta sheets, while the meat is replaced by a shredded dogfish stew.
The tortillas are smeared with refried beans and the entire preparation is bathed in a tomato sauce, habanero chili, epazote and other ingredients.
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26. Pork roast
Coahuilenses prepare their roast pork to commemorate the great dates. The pork leg meat is cut into cubes about three centimeters on each side and fried until golden brown in lard.
A sauce based on cascabel chili, ancho chili, garlic, onion, bay leaf, oregano and various species is prepared and added to the meat, cooking over low heat for about 10 minutes. The traditional accompaniments are charro beans and tortillas.
27. Sopitos from Colima
Sopitos are smaller tortillas, about 6 cm in diameter, with a small rim, that are fried in lard and covered with meat, shredded cabbage, lettuce, onion, radishes, and cotija cheese.
The people of Colima usually eat at least 5 sopitos when they go to dinner at restaurants called cenadurías. They are accompanied with a green tomato sauce and tree chili.
28. Durango broth
Durango people got used to drying beef to keep it longer and from it they make their famous caldillo since the early days of Spanish colonization.
In the preparation, you can not miss the dried chilies and cumin and it is traditionally accompanied with handmade tortillas.
The caldillo from Durango has become a tourist attraction in the city that gives it its name. A few years ago, one was prepared with 1,800 kilos of meat and more than 5,000 liters of water, enough for 25,000 people, which obtained a Guinness Record as the largest soup in the world.
It is a typical dish from León, Guanajuato , consisting of a bolillo stuffed with pork rinds and a dressing with serrano and arbol peppers and abundant tomatoes, which give it the predominant colors of the macaws.
In León you find macaw carts everywhere and the people of León eat them as a snack and as a complete meal. The traditional liquid accompaniments are cebadina and lime water.
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30. Fish a la carte
It is a typical dish from the coast of the state of Guerrero and the “official” fish to use is the red snapper. Guerrero fishermen used to prepare various fish by inserting a stick through their mouths and grilling them with all the pieces at the same height, or the same size, hence its name.
Now it is done in a more practical way, winging the fish and marinating it with mayonnaise, chili peppers and other seasonings before grilling it.
31. Lamb barbecue
The sheep barbecue is the symbolic dish of the state of Hidalgo and its main ally is the maguey leaves.
The meat is wrapped in maguey and baked over a slow fire in a pit lined with stones and also with maguey leaves.
In the lower part of the hole, a container is placed to collect the delicious maguey-flavored meat consommé that is released by the preparation. The meat is tender, juicy and delicious.
32. Michoacan Carnitas
The canitas are the great representatives of Michoacán cuisine and their secret is that the pig is fried in its own lard in a large copper saucepan, a metal that distributes the heat more evenly.
The preparation of the carnitas is a ceremony that involves a long wooden shovel to move the carnitas without getting too close to the fire, a carving tool to take them out, and the pinchada, which is a metal strainer to catch and drain the pieces of meat.
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33. Cecina from Yecapixtla
The cecina of Yecapixtla is originally from the Morelos town of that name, but it is known throughout the national territory.
They are prepared with strips of beef loin and leg that are salted and hung to air in a cool, dry place. To consume them, they are roasted on a griddle and sauced, accompanying them with beans, avocado and tortillas.
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34. Shaken Fish
It is a classic of the Nayarit coast that has become popular throughout the Mexican Pacific coast. The fish, preferably snapper, is placed on aluminum foil and buttered with garlic salt, pepper and lemon juice.
It is then varnished with a mixture of hot sauce, ketchup and soy sauce, and with mustard and mayonnaise. Finally it is grilled.
35. Goat to the shepherd
The residents of Monterrey and in general the people of New Leon frequently enjoy a kid al pastor prepared with family or friends.
The kid is smeared with olive oil, salted and rosemary, thyme and other aromatic herbs are added to taste. Finally, it is grilled and eaten with a spicy sauce, beans, and tortillas.
36. Chile in nogada
The chile en nogada competes with the mole for gastronomic supremacy in the state of Puebla. It is prepared by filling a poblano chili with a stewed mincemeat of beef and pork and with pieces of fruit, the most used being apple, pear, peach and banana.
The preparation is covered with a walnut cream, pomegranate grains and chopped parsley, whose colors make a culinary representation of the national flag.
37. Tampico style meat
Curiously, this popular dish that gastronomically identifies the important city of Tamaulipas was not born in Tampico but in Mexico City .
It was created in 1939 by Potosino chefs José Inés and Fidel Loredo, who had lived in Tampico for several years and honored the city with the name of the recipe.
The typical dish is made up of strips of roast beef, green enchiladas, white cheese, guacamole and black beans. The sauce is based on piquín chili.
Pre-Hispanic Mexicans ate escamoles mainly out of necessity and now they are an exotic dish that their fans don’t skimp on paying for.
These guijera ant larvae are eaten fried in butter and epazote, and also mixed with eggs, moles, and other stews.
The aggressiveness of the ants does not facilitate their capture, which is usually done between March and April, factors that make the delicacy more expensive.
39. Cochinita pibil
It is believed that Yucatan was the first Mexican territory in which the natives tried pork, reason enough for the cochinita pibil to be one of the culinary symbols of the peninsula, along with its sister dish, the popular black beans with pork.
Cochinita pibil is prepared with pork marinated in achiote and wrapped in banana leaves. Traditional cooking is done in an earthen oven and the name “pibil” is a Mayan term related to this type of baking, which before pork was used with pheasants and deer.
The cochinita pibil is usually accompanied with pieces of red onion and pickled carrots.
We close our selection in a sweet way, with the tasty ates, a recipe that arrived with the Spanish conquerors.
The first ates were quince, but now guava, mango, apple, sapodilla and other fruits are more popular.
They are served with a slice of cheese and are the ideal dessert for a typical Mexican meal.
Now all you have to do is enrich this list with a dish of your choice that we have left out.
See below a video of how delicious Mexican tacos are:
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