Best Foods of Mexico

We are major foodies, and sampling all the local dishes and flavors is an absolute must when we travel. Food in Mexico is some of the best we’ve ever eaten, and we want to showcase some of our favorites here in this article.

While tacos reign supreme on our list, unsurprisingly, there’s so much more to Mexican food than this global street food dish. Follow us as we delve deeper into Mexican cuisine.

1. Tacos in Mexico City

Two small mexican tacos slathered in salsa and guacamole sauce
Two street tacos in Mexico

Mexican tacos have exploded in popularity all over the world. Who hasn’t yet come across a taco truck near their home?

Barbecued meats, juicy salsas, warm tortillas, and just a dabble of chili peppers; what’s not to love?

And nowhere else in Mexico are the tacos better than in Mexico City. Tacos come in all shapes and sizes, but we love the small ones best, which fit perfectly in the palm of your hand.

Street tacos aren’t hard to find in Mexico City. Just roam the streets, and you’ll find vendors showcasing their delectable meat selections cooking on an open pan, simmering in oil.

Hey, nobody said street tacos were healthy!

Walk up and point to each meat cut and tell them how many tacos you want. The best part of ordering small tacos is that you get to sample all the different cuts of meat without feeling overly full.

2. Carnitas Tacos in Quiroga, Michoacán

Man holding up carnitas park in Quiroga, Michoacan state, Mexico
Street vendor selling carnitas in Quiroga

Carnitas tacos are just one of the many types in Mexico, but nobody does carnitas better than in Michoacán. Translated to mean “little meats,” carnitas tacos originated in Michoacán state. So it’s only reasonable that this state takes its carnitas very seriously.

The best carnitas are cooked over a slow flame for at least 3-4 hours before being served. By that time, the pork is juicy and tender. Easily pulled apart, chopped into small pieces, and served on a tortilla.

In Quiroga, a town just west of the state capital of Morelia, up to 30 different vendors line the street selling their unique carnitas recipes to pedestrians passing by. Some vendors have been selling carnitas cooked in their families’ traditional recipes for generations since the turn of the 20th century.

Not all carnitas taste the same. Different vendors use different recipes. Our advice is to take your time and visit multiple vendors.

Come with an empty stomach!

3. Barbacoa En Consomé in Oaxaca

“Barbacoa” means to slow cook a piece of meat over an open fire. And nowhere is barbacoa cooked better than in Oaxaca. Though you can have the meat served to you on a tortilla (a la taco), we recommend having the barbacoa served to you as a stew (“en consomé”).

The barbacoa pot looks like an entire pig or goat was maliciously chopped up, thrown in the pot, and sadistically boiled. If you look carefully, you can identify the ribs, parts of the jowl, intestines, liver, and kidneys.

Nothing goes to waste in a barbacoa pot.

For taco lovers, fear not. You can still ask to be served a side of tortillas, cilantro, and onions. So, you can still construct your own DIY tacos if you want.

4. Pozole or Menudo in Pátzcuaro

Not for the faint of heart, Menudo and pozole are stews that predominantly feature the stomach lining of a cow, or “tripe.” If cow innards make you queasy, then you may want to take a hard pass. Or, if you’re lucky, other, more regular cuts of meat might be included. But tripe is usually the main event.

It can be hard to chow down on cow tripe, so we like to put our tripe pieces on tortillas and spoon on healthy amounts of chopped onions, cilantro, and lime juice.

Fun fact: Menudo is reported to be a hangover cure. So, menudo is often served during the weekdays and consumed after a hard night of partying the night before.

5. Chilaquiles (Aka Mexican Nachos)

If you grew up eating nachos slathered in American cheese at movie theaters and ball games, then Mexican chilaquiles are your salvation.

Talk about a substantial upgrade.

Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican breakfast consisting of deep-fried tortilla pieces. To create a delicious breakfast, the tortilla chips are slathered in salsa, cheese, and other toppings.

Chilaquiles might look like informal street food, but the dish is often served even in fancy hotels and restaurants. One time, our chilaquiles even came with a poached egg on top.

Are you driving in Mexico? Read our Mexico road trip guide for more information.

6. Bonus: Chapulines

Deep fried grasshoppers being sold from a bucket
Deep fried grasshoppers being sold from a bucket on the street

A snacking favorite for many in some areas of Mexico, Chapulines are toasted grasshoppers seasoned with lime juice, salt, and garlic.

We tried some in Oaxaca, and while Chapulines are far from our favorite Mexican food, we’re glad we tried it.

Sprinkle some on your homemade tacos for that added protein boost.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope this post helps inspire you to sample a wide range of foods on your trip to Mexico.

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