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More Than Just Tacos: 33 Popular Foods in Mexico You Have to Try

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What's the most popular food in Mexico? Is it Guacamole? How about their famous tacos? Perhaps some fajitas? Well, after living and traveling across the country, we found out that Mexico is way more than its world-known classics.
They know how to eat, and they´re goooood at it. So, after a while discovering new foods, we figured it was time to do a little recap, and show you the most popular food in Mexico.
From East to West, North to South, we've found that the flavors vary greatly throughout the country! Here are 33 different foods in Mexico that you have to try. 

1. Tacos (al pastor)

The most popular food in Mexico (or at least best known) has to be tacos. And, particularly, "tacos al pastor" refer to the ones made with tender pork and pineapple marinated in a savory and aromatic chile sauce.

You will usually see the pork stacked in a metal pole that spins around a vertical fire (just like with Shawarmas). This goes on a small rounded tortilla, and it usually uses pico de gallo as a garnish. This consists of a mix of cilantro, onion, red pepper, and tomato.

2. Burritos

Another super popular food in Mexico is the burrito. This one is like the big brother of the taco. The tortilla is bigger, and once all the ingredients are in place, you roll the tortilla and wrap it around the mix.

In the US, the burrito is very popular, but truthfully, the taste of the burritos in Mexico are quite different. 

They are still very large, and plentiful in flavor. We loved getting burritos everyday from the local market in Cancun. For just $2 (40 pesos),  we were completely satisfied for lunch!

Cancun Street food, popular food in Mexico

Burritos are a great street food, and normally cost just a couple of dollars.

3. Gordita

In the Yucatán Peninsula, you will find a lot of variations with the same ingredients. What's incredible is that each one of them seems to have a unique taste. Gorditas are one of them, and certainly one of our favorites.

Get meat, a thick tortilla, some garnish, and get ready. What they do is cut a little pocket in the tortilla, and fill it with the meat and garnish. The result is a very tasty, and practical, a Mexican classic.

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4. Fajitas

Fajitas probably rank top 3, or top 5 for sure, in the popular food in Mexico category. These little meat stripes with veggies are usually in the company of true Mexican tortillas (pretty much like any other dish). They're simple to make, easy to carry around, and super tasty!

5. Panucho

Panucho has been one of Fede's favorite foods from Yucatán. You fill the classic Mexican tortilla with beans. After that, you fry it in oil or butter. Lastly, you put shredded chicken and onion on top.

6. Tostadas

Tostadas are literally almost the same as tacos, with the difference that the tortillas are fried instead of grilled. You can put anything on top of them, from steak to shrimp, and they're just as delicious!

7. Sopes

As we mentioned before, a lot of these meals are very similar in ingredients, but they have a variation in either the shape, the cooking method or the final touches.

Sopes are made with a thick and wide tortilla, "pinched" at the edges to form edges, and fried. After that, you can treat them like a pizza, putting cheese and any meat you want on top.

8. Salbutes

Salbutes are VERY similar to panuchos. The main difference consists in the first step. Salbutes aren't filled with beans and then fried. Instead, they go straight into the hot oil. Still a delicious botana from the Yucatán peninsula.

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Salbutes are similar to tacos, but the tortillas are fried.

9. Nopales

Nopales are actually a type of cactus. They have A LOT of benefits to our health, such as protecting nerve cells, provide high antioxidants, and regulate blood sugar levels. Mexicans have it as a crucial part of their diets.

To eat them, you have to cut the sharp edges on the outside, and then boil them in a pot. You can mix them with tomatoes, eggs, or pretty much anything you like them with. They're delicious and, as mentioned before, incredibly nutritious.

10. Chiles en nogada (Puebla)

This food is one of the most traditional & popular food in Mexico. It originally comes from the state of Puebla. Its main ingredients are chiles poblanos (a type of hot pepper) and a cream made with nuez de Castilla (commonly referred to as "nogada"). Its popularity not only comes from the flavor but from the visual presentation.

When served, the three colors that pop are green, red & white. This symbolizes the Mexican flag's colors.

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11. Sopa de tortilla

Sopa de tortilla is a very simple, yet effective soup to have at any time during your day. It's basically a tomato soup, with garlic, onion, and fried tortillas (cut in stripes). Boil everything with chicken broth and enjoy a traditional meal that will fill your stomach and put a smile on your face!

12. Quesadillas

Quesadillas are simply one of the most popular food in Mexico even outside the country, along with tacos and burritos.

They consist of a big tortilla with cheese inside, folded in half. You can also add any type of meat, or veggies, to it, but you can't forget to add cheese. Otherwise, the whole name of the food will lose its meaning!

13. Pozole Rojo

Red Pozole is a Mexican soup that you can cook with pork and corn mote. The broth is made with pork meat and a powerful chili sauce is added to it, which gives it consistency and a delicious flavor. It is medium spicy and very addictive.

14. Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a very popular food in Mexico, made with rolled corn tortilla and bathed in a spicy sauce using chili in its preparation.

Depending on the style, the enchilada can be accompanied or stuffed with meats - chicken, beef, turkey - or cheese. In addition, they are accompanied by some additional garnish, which generally consists of fresh chopped or sliced onion, lettuce, cream, and cheese.

enchiladas, popular food in Mexico

Enchiladas can be made with red or green sauce, or mojo.

15. Guacamole

Oh, our precious guac! What would we do without it? Probably one of the best dips ever created, guacamole is as simple as effective when it comes to a healthy dip or spread you want to have in your diet.

It consists of four simple ingredients: avocado, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, and some cilantro (chopped or as decoration). Mix everything, and add a bit of salt & lime juice. Voilà! Ready to eat. If this isn´t the most popular food in Mexico, then it´s at least a top 3!

guacamole, popular food in Mexico

Guacamole is the best thing to start of your meal with.

16. Tamales

Tamales can actually be found all along The Americas, but just because it's not exclusively from Mexico doesn't mean that it's not part of their culture. The base is usually corn dough or rice, mixed with some kind of meat.

The mixture is covered then with the corn's husk (or other food's covers like avocado's or plantain's) and served in a plastic container. They can be very tasty, and flavor really changes a lot depending on the local recipe each one offers.

17. Camarones a la diabla (Super Spicy shrimp)

If there's one thing Mexicans do great is spicy food! This simple dish is made with shrimp, tomatoes, onions & a mix of hot peppers. If you're into spicy stuff, this is one of the most delicious meals you'll have.

On the other hand, if you're not into spicy stuff, we recommend you to stay away from camarones a la diabla, since it will burn your whole mouth like nothing else.

18. Chilaquiles

When it comes to popular food in Mexico, Chilaquiles usually is one of the top choices. This can be considered as a huge snack or a full meal. The main ingredient is totopos (a.k.a. tortilla chips).

A plate is filled with them, and then it's time to get creative. On top of the tortilla chips, some people add a red or a white sauce, some others also include some kind of meat, sliced onions, eggs, and/or avocado.

There's really no right or wrong when it comes to deciding what to put on top, but the result is always a big plate that tends to grab everyone's attention.

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19. Pastel Tres Leches

For those of you with a sweet tooth, this dessert is something you want to try. With the sole base of milk (regular, condensed, and evaporated), get your sponge cake wet, add some vanilla essence, and you get a delicious and traditional dessert. This is definitely a popular food in Mexico!

20. Elotes

The short answer is that this is corn on the cob. But Mexicans know how to cook their food, and the Elotes are a great & simple way of enjoying it. After it´s boiled, you´re able to add butter, mayo, shredded cheese, hot sauce, and pretty much anything you can imagine on it. 

Best part? it´s presented to you with a stick, so you can eat it easily, without making a mess with your hands.

Mexican street corn, popular food in Mexico

Elotes are the typical Mexican street corn, and are perfect for on the go.

21. Esquites

Mexican street corn (elotes) are super practical, and the perfect snack for on the go. However, if you don't like getting corn in your teeth, then you may prefer esquites.

Instead of serving the corn right on the cob, esquites are the corn kernels taken off the cob. They are then served in a bowl with the preparation of your liking. Mayonnaise, lemon, hot sauce, and cheese are some of the most popular ways to eat this Mexican snack.

22. Mole Poblano

Mole Poblano is a very representative dish from Puebla. It consists of a dark red-brown sauce usually served with turkey or chicken.

Although it contains approximately twenty-five ingredients, you can prepare Mole Poblano in nearly infinite numbers of ways. Of the many different ingredients found in the dish, the main ones are chili peppers, chocolate, plantains, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon sticks, anise, and cloves.

Mole Sauce, Mexican food

Mole is a thick sauce made from chocolate, chili, and tons of other interesting ingredients.

23. Mole Verde

Mole verde is a type of mole, just like the Mole Poblano. The main compounds of it are pumpkin seeds and green chili. These are responsible for its distinctive green color. Other ingredients can be green tomato, poblano pepper, chile de arbol, onion tails, radish leaves, celery, coriander, and lettuce leaves.

24. Pambazos

The pambazo is a Mexican sandwich, whose filling varies according to the region, being the traditional fillings of potato, and potato with chorizo. The name comes from the bread it uses, which has the same name of the dish.

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25. Huarache

The first time we heard of this dish, we loved a particular fact about it. Huarache´s shape simulates traditional Mexican sandals!. It is made with corn dough and it is common that they are served with steak, ribs, or fried egg and are accompanied with sauces, cheese, and refried beans.

26. Ceviche

The seafood in many parts of Mexico is super fresh and tasty. One of our favorite seafood dishes is ceviche, which Is a mix of different types of seafood, onion, tomato, oil, vinegar, and lemon or lime.

Ceviche, popular food in Mexico

Ceviche is the perfect food to get at the beach.

27. Huevos Motuleños

Huevos Motuleños are a typical breakfast of the city of Motul, Yucatan, Mexico. They have a fried omelette as a base, with refried beans. A couple of starry eggs are added, bathed with a tomato sauce, pieces of ham, peas and cheese. Another characteristic of these eggs is that they are usually accompanied by slices of fried plantains.

According to what the Motul community says, this recipe was created in 1921 by chef Don Jorge Siqueff, who was the owner of the most popular restaurant in the city.

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28. Huevos divorciados

Huevos divorciados (or "Divorced eggs") are a typical, yet super original, dish in Mexico. The recipe is quite simple, it consists of two fried eggs, where each one has a different sauce around it. One of them will have a red sauce, tomato-based, and the second one will have a green pepper sauce. Super easy to make, super tasty to have!

29. Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros are a classic popular food from Mexico. Eggs of your choice are cooked in a red tomato based sauce, and served (of course) with tortillas. This dish is not only a very typical breakfast in Mexico, but it is also common to find in the US.

Huevos Rancheros, popular food in Mexico

Huevos Rancheros are one of the most popular foods in Mexico for breakfast.

30. Totopos

We bet you have definitely have these, no matter where you´re from. Totopos are nothing more than tortilla chips! Totopos, or totopitos, are pieces of corn tortilla, fried in oil, typically triangular in shape.

The word totopos comes from the native language Nahuatl tlaxcaltotopochtli. This is a combination of the words tlaxcalli, meaning tortilla, and totopochtli meaning “something toasted, crunchy, noisy to eat”. Next time you visit some friends, ask them "Hey, should I bring Totopos to have with your guacamole?".

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31. Tlayudas

Tlayudas are a popular food found in Oaxaca, Mexico. Instead of many other tortilla based dishes that are rather small, tlayudas are extremely thin, large, and crispy. They are then topped generously with meat, veggies, cheese, and other toppings of your desire.

Go into a market in Oaxaca, and it is the number one dish you will find them promoting. There are plenty of options, one tastier than the next.

want to know more great things to experience in the city of Oaxaca? We have a full article that you can check out by clicking the link below.

32. Marquesitas

This is something that is so tasty, and we can't believe we didn't know about it before! We discovered this Yucatan street dessert in downtown Cancun, and simply couldn't get enough of it. 

Marquesitas are a very thin and crispy waffle, spread with Nutella. They are topped with a shredded sharp cheese, and then rolled up to eat as a finger food.

There are also a great load of other ingredients offered to add on such as strawberries, coconut, and other sweet toppings. They usually cost about $1-$1.50, and are the perfect mix of sweet and savory.

Cancun marquesitas, popular food in Mexico

Marquesitas are the perfect sweet & savory street dessert.

33. Pan de Muertos

Pan de Muertos ("The bread of the dead") is a special type of bread that you can find only in Mexico. It is not bread for daily consumption, since it is closely associated with the celebration of the Day of the Dead, a holiday that can last from one day to a week during the month of November, depending on the region.

Every part of the bread has a meaning and represents something related to the festivity (for example, the rounded bottom represents the endless cycle of life and death).

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