Mexican Food and Cuisine – 15 Traditional Dishes to Eat in Mexico

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Want to eat some traditional food from Mexico? The Mexican food has become famous worldwide, especially for the tacos but there are many more local dishes that you should try in addition to Mexican tacos.

Here’s a list of 15 traditional dishes to eat in Mexico as well as more info about the dishes, and the cuisine of Mexico. 

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros is one of my absolute favorites when it comes to Mexican food, and what makes it even better it that you can eat it any time of the day, although it’s mostly considered a breakfast dish. 

The dish is made of fried eggs which are served on lightly fried tortillas made from corn or flour. It’s topped with salsa and is usually accompanied by beans and rice, but can also be served by itself. The salsa is made of chili peppers, onion, tomatoes, and cilantro.

Huevos Rancheros

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Cabrito

Cabrito is a regional specialty of Monterrey, in the northeastern part of the country. The dish is made of roast goat kid and can be cooked in various ways, such as Cabrito al Pastor, Cabrito al Horno, and Cabrito en Sangre.

Aguachile

Aguachile is basically the Mexican version of ceviche. It’s made with shrimps which are seasoned in lime juice, chili peppers, cilantro, and salt. 

Aguachile

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Tacos al Pastor

You could talk about Mexican tacos for days, and it’s not only a highly integrated part of the Mexican food culture but it also comes in many varieties, and you could probably spend your whole vacation in Mexico just trying out various forms of Mexican tacos. 

My favorite and probably the most famous type is Tacos al Pastor, which can be found in the streets as well as specialized restaurants. The tacos bought as street food is prepared and served the traditional way. 

tacos al pastor

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Enchiladas

Enchiladas originated in Mexico, but have become popular across the world, and especially in the USA. The enchilada is basically a tortilla made from corn which is filled with a variety of meats, cheese, beans, and vegetables in many combinations.

The tortilla is then tucked together and usually comes covered in mole sauce. Enchiladas can be eaten alone or accompanied with rice or beans on the side. 

Enchiladas is a traditional food from Mexico

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Quesadillas

Quesadillas is another popular food from Mexico that you should definitely try. It’s available as street food and in many restaurants. I love having quesadillas for lunch, but you can basically have them any time of the day. 

A Quesadilla can be made with a corn or flour tortilla, and the main ingredient is cheese, but it can also be filled with other ingredients such as meats, onion, and vegetables.

You can choose between a full- and half quesadilla whereas the full quesadilla is made with two tortillas and a layer of cheese and other fillings in-between.

Mexican quesadillas

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Tostadas

Tostada literally means toasted in Spanish, and it’s a common dish in Mexico as well as other Latin American countries.

When talking about tostadas, you usually refer to the flat or bowl-shaped tortilla which is typically deep-fried or toasted with various toppings on the tostada. The toppings can include beans, beef, cheese, etc.

Tostadas

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Gorditas

A gordita is a pastry which is filled with meat and cheese and other fillings. It is typically fried or baked, and the most common version in Mexico is the Gordita de chicharron.

Gorditas can be found all over the country, and it’s a very traditional Mexican food that you should definitely try.

Gorditas

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Arroz a la tumbada

If you want to eat a traditional seafood dish from Mexico, the Arroz a la tumbada is a great choice. The dish consists of white rice and seafood and usually has a fish broth and sofrito added to make it nice and savory.

The seafood can be shrimp, clams, crab, calamari, whitefish or a mix.

Mexican Meatballs

Locally known as Albondigas, the Mexican meatballs are usually served in a soup along with potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables. It’s a filling dish and there can be a wide variety of spices included in recipes for Mexican Meatballs. 

Mexican meatballs

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Fajitas

Fajitas is another traditional Mexican food that has spread worldwide together with variations of tacos. Fajitas is basically any grilled meat served on a tortilla made of flour or corn.

The original fajita was made with skirt steak, but chicken and other cuts of beef are common today as well. What makes a fajita a fajita is the seasoning, similar sizes of the grilled meat and vegetables.

Fajitas

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Pozole

Pozole is a traditional Mexican stew which can also be served in soup form. It’s made from hominy (processed corn) and typically include some kind of meat such as pork or chicken.

It’s seasoned with spices and often garnished with chili peppers, onions, avocado, salsa, and limes. Below are photos of green- and red pozole. 

Mexican food Pozole

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Tamales

Tamales can be found all over Latin America, and it’s a traditional Mesoamerican dish, which probably originated in Mexico. It’s made of masa or dough, which then gets steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf.

You can get tamales with various fillings, including cheese, meat, vegetables, chilies or even Mexican fruits. 

Tamale

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Tlacoyo

The Tlacoyo is another traditional food from Mexico that you shouldn’t miss to try! It’s delicious and can be found in many Mexican restaurants.

It’s an oval-shaped kind of tortilla made of masa, which is then stuffed with various ingredients before it gets fried or toasted.

Tlacoyos

Photo: Marcos Castillo/Shutterstock

Flautas

This Mexican dish is also known as Taquito, and it’s basically a rolled crisp- or deep-fried taco with various fillings, often with cheese, chicken or beef.

The flautas are often topped with sour cream and guacamole. 

Flautas

Photo: Marcos Castillo/Shutterstock

More about the Mexican food and cuisine

Mexican Food comes from one of the oldest cuisines in the world, dating back more than 9000 years at the time of domesticating maize, which is a staple food in Mexican cuisine.

In modern times, the food in Mexico has been heavily influenced by Spanish culture but there are many traditional dishes that are still served as street food or in local restaurants, and many dishes also have an added Mexican touch. 

The Mexican food culture has always been rich and it’s deeply integrated into the society. Some of the most common ingredients in Mexican cuisine include corn, beans, chia, avocados, tomatoes, cacao, chili peppers, sweet potato and various kinds of meat.

More about Mexican food

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After the Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire, they introduced many European foods, such as meat from domesticated animals and dairy products. Some African and Asian influences can also be found, which is a result of African slavery in New Spain.

However, Mexican food is still authentic and unique because even though the Spanish tried to impose their own food and diets, the Mexicans hold on to their traditions.

Street food in Mexico

Much of the traditional food from Mexico is available as street food as well as in restaurants. Mexican street food is usually cheap and delicious, and you’ll find plenty of vendors in local areas serving freshly made street food in Mexico. 

  • Tacos
  • Tamales
  • Tortas
  • Sopes
  • Gorditas
  • Elotes
Street food in Mexico

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List of Mexican Desserts

Many of the Desserts in Mexico have origins from Spain, but some are also traditional sweets originating within the country. 

  • Traditional Flan Custard
  • Tres Leches Pastel
  • Capirotada (Mexican bread pudding)
  • Pan de Muerto 
  • Arroz con leche
  • Jericalla
  • Mangoes with chili powder and chamoy
  • Paletas (Mexican ice pops)
  • Churros
Mexican dessert

Jericalla – Photo: Carolina Arroyo/Shutterstock

What do Mexicans eat for breakfast?

While breakfast is highly personal and varies a lot from person to person, some of the most common types of breakfasts in Mexico include beans, eggs, salsa, tortillas, sweet bread, and coffee.

Scrambled eggs with beans and vegetable are common, or some toasted bread. If you’re on the go and have limited time, many Mexicans will grab something simple on the way like Tamalli in a bun, Tacos de Canasta or some sweet bread.

Huevos Rancheros is a very traditional breakfast dish in Mexico, but there are many different ways to prepare eggs for breakfast in Mexico, and it varies from region to region too. 

Breakfast in Mexico

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What are the typical Mexican dishes?

If you only have limited time in Mexico and want to eat some traditional Mexican food, these dishes should definitely be considered as typical Mexican dishes: Tacos al Pastor, Pozole, and Huevos Rancheros. 

Where to eat Mexican food?

The best places to find authentic food from Mexico is to go for local recommendations and staying away from the touristy areas. Much of the food found in tourist areas in Cancun and Playa del Carmen is internationalized or Americanized.

However, just a few blocks away from the main tourist sites, you’ll find an abundance of Mexican food served by street vendors and local restaurants. These are the places you should go to eat traditional food, and you’ll save a lot of money by doing so as well. 

Eating out is a part of the Mexican culture, so don’t be afraid to eat at the local restaurants. It might be a good idea to learn some basic Spanish phrases, but many will speak at least some English.

local mexican food

Frequently Asked Questions about Mexican Food

Many Mexican dishes are spicy but not all of them. Mexican food has a wide range of flavors and there are plenty of dishes that aren’t spicy.

There are some similarities between Spanish food and Mexican food, but the food in Mexico is generally spicier than Spanish food, and include more meat rather than seafood.

Much of the traditional dishes are also based of the Mesoamerican food culture, so while you’ll recognize some foods as “Spanish” most of them have a unique touch or way of preparing the dish.

Nachos is not a typical Mexican dish, and even though it originated here it was catered to Americans, and it’s more common to find it at Mexican-American restaurants.

Real traditional food in Mexico is much healthier than what you’ll find in American-Mexican restaurants, such as Taco Bell or Chipotle’s. But of course, some dishes can be quite heavy with many calories due it being fried.

However, many Mexican dishes are also rich in protein and healthy fats with an absence of additives. Beans, Corn, Tomatoes, and Avocadoes are all staple food in Mexican cuisine, and they have a wide range of health benefits and important nutrients.

Mexican Food served in American Fast-food restaurants are generally bad for you because they contain a lot of sugar and additives as well as a lot of calories. However, authentic food in Mexico is much healthier and isn’t bad for you. 

A traditional taco is served on a small tortilla made of corn or wheat, and it can include a variety of fillings such as meats, seafood, cheese and vegetables. A traditional taco is eaten with your hands, and is usually garnished with cilantro, chopped onions, tomatoes, chili peppers and salsa or guacamole.

The main ingredients in Mexican cuisine are tomatoes, corn, avocadoes, cilantro and chili peppers. 


Which is your favorite food from Mexico? Leave a comment below!

August 18th, 2019|

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Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

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