Mexico Food Guide – 21 Most Popular Mexican Foods

Mexico is a popular destination to visit for multiple reasons. Many visitors travel to this country for the stunning beaches, fascinating culture, incredible markets, fabulous cities and tasty cuisine!

It’s not difficult to create a Mexico Food Guide here as the range of culinary delights is abundant!

Mexico Food Guide – 21 Most Popular Mexican Foods

Mexico is a popular destination to visit for multiple reasons. Many visitors travel to this country for the stunning beaches, fascinating culture, incredible markets, fabulous cities and tasty cuisine!

It’s not difficult to create a Mexico Food Guide here as the range of culinary delights is abundant!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

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Mexican foods fish tacos Sayulita

You could spend your entire vacation eating around this diverse nation. Truthfully, we did that on our 3-month adventure exploring many regions and foods in Mexico.

Seriously, we feel as though we have just scratched the surface of eating as many delicious and most popular Mexican foods as possible.

In addition to the incredible food, here are 10 more excellent reasons to choose Mexico for your next trip!

Mexico is one of our Top 10 Countries for Food Lovers

While there are countless meals and snacks to taste during your visit to Mexico, these are the top Mexican foods I had to share in my Mexico Food Guide.

21 Mexican Foods you must try on your Foodie Mexico Trip this year! 

1. Tamales

Mexico Food Guide Tamales
Mexico Food Tamales – Tamales are the ultimate Mexican foods to buy from street vendors at any time of day

Tamales are the perfect snack foods in Mexico to pick up from street vendors or small eateries. Pouches of corn dough (masa) are stuffed with various fillings, which can be sweet and savoury.

Typical fillings are chicken with salsa verde (green sauce), black beans and cheese or slow-cooked pork with mole. 

These yummy parcels are then steamed in corn husks or banana leaves.

They’re a super affordable snack food in Mexico and a great choice to take on long bus or train journeys. 

2. Tostadas

Mexico Food Guide Tostadas
Mexico Food Guide Tostadas come with many toppings, but seafood is my favourite

Mexicans are a resourceful bunch, and the Tostada is proof of why. So what happens when you’ve got excess corn tortillas at home, and they’re starting to go stale? Throw them in the fryer until they’re crunchy and golden. This creates a new base for a tasty snack called tostada.

You can put just about anything on top of a tostada; however, the most popular toppings include avocado, prawns, seafood and ceviche or frijoles (refried beans), quesillo (cheese) and roasted meat.

3. Tlayuda

Tlayuda has to be included in your Mexico Food Guide

Tlayuda is one of Oaxaca’s most popular Mexican foods, and this city is well-known for having some of the best food in Mexico. And I strongly agree! 

Tlayuda is a sizeable toasted corn tortilla topped with refried black beans, asiento (pork fat), strings of fresh quesillo (delicious Mexican cheese), thinly sliced roasted meats and usually creamy avocado slices and finally, some crunchy lettuce to add crunch. 

Tlayudas are served open-faced, although I like to fold it in half and eat it like a pizza.

This has to be one of my all-time favourite foodie Mexico memories from my time in Oaxaca, learning Spanish and falling in love with this incredibly delicious city. 

4. Mole

Mexican Foods in Mexico Mole
Popular Foods in Mexico – Mole

Mole is a staple of Mexican home cooking traditions. If you can try mole, pronounced mo-leh, take it! This is one of the foods in Mexico that will pleasantly surprise you.

Mole is a sauce made from dried chilli peppers, cocoa, and corn, all roasted and ground before being combined and left to cook for many hours. 

Mole isn’t a dish you can prepare with haste; the flavours develop over time to create the most delectable sauce you’ll ever encounter. Mole is a rich topping on braised meats and enchiladas.

They say that there are 7 moles in total to taste in Mexico. I recommend aiming to try them all if you can.

5. Sopa de Lima

Mexican Foods in Mexico Sopa de Lima
Popular Mexican Foods – Sopa de Lima

Sopa de Lima is the best Mexico food choice to try if you travel in the Yucatan Peninsula region. When translated into English, it’s called ‘Lime Soup’, and it’s a lovely light and tasty classic soup of the area.

This traditional Yucatan soup is prepared with chicken, onions, tomatoes, local spices, peppers and lima yucateca, a large lime native to the Yucatan. Upon serving, the dish is topped with crunchy tortilla strips, adding texture and flavour to this winning dish.

If you’re exploring the Yucatan State, we recommend you visit the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza on a day tour or check out Tulum & the Cenotes. Also, you’ll indeed find a bowl of Sopa de Lima at an eatery or restaurant nearby.

6. Pozole

Mexico Food Guide Pozole
Mexico Food Guide -Pozole is a tasty Mexican soup

I can still remember the first time I enjoyed Pozole. It was in a local market in Oaxaca, and the woman serving the dish must have been at least 75 years old. It tasted so good, I could only guess that she had been cooking this dish most of her life. She had perfected it. 

Pozole is a soup from hominy corn (processed to give it a puffed, meaty texture) with tons of fresh green herbs and spices.

The broth is traditionally cooked for hours, often overnight. Upon serving, you’ll find shredded crunchy lettuce, onion, and radish on top. Furthermore, remember to squeeze fresh lime into your soup before tucking into it.

As usual, you can find chilli flakes to add to your broth if you like your food with a kick!

7. Burritos

Mexican Foods in Mexico Burritos
Popular Mexican Foods – Burritos

Most of us are familiar with the Mexican burrito—a flour tortilla stuffed with tasty ingredients.

Popular fillings include roasted or stewed meats, guacamole, sour cream, vegetables, refried beans, rice and cheese. Oh, and you can add all kinds of spicy sauces to your burrito.

This Mexico Food Guide could only exist by mentioning this classic Mexican food that is known universally around the world.

8. Memela

Best foods to try in Oaxaca memelas

Memelas are one of the most favoured street snacks in Mexico. This is one of my Top 10 foods in Oaxaca, Mexico.

These round-shaped discs of masa (dough made from corn flour) are toasted, then topped with refried beans and various other ingredients such as queso fresco (fresh cheese), chicharron (fried pork belly), guacamole, fried eggs or tinga (pulled chicken stew). 

A popular breakfast food and equally delicious as a snack or light meal at any time of the day.

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9. Chalupa

Mexican Foods in Mexico Chalupa
Popular Mexican Foods in Mexico – Chalupa

Chalupa is similar to memela; but the difference is that they’re fried in oil rather than toasted. Chalupas are a favourite snack food in the city of Puebla.

Typically, chalupa is topped with green or red salsa, although you will find it topped with mole poblano (a thick and savoury chocolate and chile sauce produced in Puebla).

Chalupa usually has shredded pork or chicken stew and diced onions on top. 

10. Chiles en nogada

Mexican Foods in Mexico Chiles en nogada
Popular Mexican Foods – Chiles en nogada

If you can visit Puebla (and I recommend you do), you must try one of the most visually appealing Mexican foods: Chiles en nogada.

It’s a signature dish in Puebla and is also considered a national dish of Mexico. So what is Chiles en nogada? It’s a big poblano pepper filled with picadillo (a combination of fruits, spices, shredded meat, and aromatics).

The loaded pepper is then doused in a delicate walnut-based creamy sauce and decorated with pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley. 

11. Elotes & Esquites

Mexican Foods in Mexico street food Elotes Esquites
Popular Street Snacks and Mexican Foods Elotes & Esquites

If you spend some time in Mexico, you’ll soon discover that corn is an essential ingredient in many Mexican food recipes. For this reason, it’s no surprise that elotes and esquites are some of Mexico’s most famous street foods. However, these are two similar dishes prepared a little differently.

Elotes are corn on the cob, grilled and then topped with butter, mayonnaise, cotija cheese (an aged, salty cheese), lime juice, and chilli powder. 

Esquites are loose corn kernels that are boiled or roasted, mixed with onions, lime juice and chilli peppers, and served in a cup.

Either dish is a delicious choice, and you can find them served from street vendors at all times of the day in just about every Mexican city.

12. Enchiladas

Mexican Foods in Mexico Enchiladas
Popular Mexican Foods – Enchiladas

Enchiladas are pretty similar to a burrito, but then they evolve into an entirely new dish.

First, a flour or corn tortilla is stuffed with various fillings like pulled pork or chicken, vegetables and beans and wrapped tightly. Next, the enchiladas are layered in a dish, covered in sauce and cheese, and baked in an oven. 

Enchiladas come with various side dishes such as rice, black beans or salad, and a generous dollop of guacamole or crema (Mexican sour cream).

13. Torta Ahogada (Drowned Sandwich)

Mexico Food Guide Torta Ahogada
Mexico Food Guide – One of the unmissable foods in Mexico is Torta Ahogada

Torta Ahogada is a famous sandwich in Guadalajara. Although I visited this city mostly to try this sandwich, I discovered a fantastic destination simultaneously. Oh, and the sandwich is 100% worth it!

Torta Ahogada means “drowned sandwich”, so you must only wonder what is in the sandwich and what delicious sauce it is drowning in. 

Essentially it’s a crusty baguette roll filled with pork carnitas (slow-cooked pulled pork) and red onions, then drowned in red chile sauce and served with fresh lime wedges.

This sandwich is messy, spicy and gnarly; I love it! Be prepared to eat it with your fingers acting as a spoon or have an actual spoon on hand to enjoy. 

We recommend this Guadalajara Private Market Food Tour where you can taste one of the best torta ahogadas in the city and learn about the food of this region at the same time.

14. Tacos al Pastor

There are so many kinds of tacos to be enjoyed across Mexico. Aside from chowing down on yummy fish tacos when hanging out on the coast in Sayulita or Puerto Escondido, I search high and low for my favourite taco, the flavourful tacos al pastor.

Taco al Pastor is a taco with history! Its origins date back to the 1920s and 30s with the arrival of Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. The method of preparing and cooking al pastor means ‘in the style of the shepherd’.

Thin strips of marinated roasted pork are carved off a rotating vertical spit, placed on a corn tortilla and served with onions, coriander leaves and pineapple. 

The flavour is sublime! Don’t forget to squeeze fresh lime over your tacos al pastor to elevate the flavour. And, if you like it spicy, there’s usually a bunch of spicy salsas to add a kick to your tacos. 

For the full experience, enjoy your plate of tacos with a bottle of chilled Mexican beer. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Don’t Miss visiting these 11 Amazing Historical Places in Mexico

15. Molote

Mexico Food Guide Molote
Mexico Food Guide -Molote

I’ve got yet another delicious Mexican food from Puebla to add to your growing food mx list for this great city.

The molote is a large empanada; however, this empanada style is quite unusual. Prepared with a mixture of corn masa, and then filled with shredded chicken, quesillo, potato, or mushroom, they’re deep-fried in oil to produce a crunchy snack. 

Topped with crema (creamy Mexican sour cream and red or green salsa and sometimes cheese, and lettuce too – this food of Mexico is a filling snack that is sure to put a smile on your face.

RELATED POST – 11 Amazing Historical Places in Mexico You Need to See

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16. Enfrijolada

Mexican Foods in Mexico Enfrijoladas
Popular Mexican Foods for breakfast – Enfrijoladas

Enfrijolada is a popular breakfast dish to include in your Mexico Food Guide. First, fresh corn tortillas contain ingredients such as shredded chicken, cheese, mushrooms, or vegetables. Next, the tortillas are covered in a creamy black bean puree, folded, and generously coated in more delicious bean sauce. 

Usually topped with some queso fresco, this breakfast dish will undoubtedly get you through to lunch.

17. Chilaquiles

Mexico Food Guide Chilaquiles
Mexico Food Guide – Chilaquiles is one of the best Mexican foods eaten for breakfast

Want more Mexican foods for your Mexico Food Guide for breakfast? Another dish you need to try is these quartered corn tortillas, fried and then topped with red or green salsa. Then, shredded stewed chicken, fried or scrambled eggs, cheese and crema are served atop.

It would only be breakfast in Mexico if beans were featured here. So, expect your Chilaquiles served with a generous helping of frijoles (refried beans).

Chilaquiles are a popular breakfast food. Read more about our 12 favourite breakfast places in Oaxaca!

18. Cochinita Pibil

Mexican Foods in Mexico Cochinita pibil
Popular Mexican Foods – Cochinita pibil

Cochinita pibil is a slow-roasted pork dish famous from the Yucatan Peninsula. Pork shoulder is first marinated in achiote and sour orange juice, then slow-roasted for many hours to produce the juiciest and most tender meat you’ll ever taste.

If you’re visiting the beautiful cities of Valladolid (just 2 hours by bus from Cancun), Merida or other places in the Yucatan, you can find cochinita pibil.

Usually served in tacos, tortas or as a topping on salbutes (fried puffed corn tortillas), this is one of the most delicious foods in Mexico; so don’t miss it!

19. Birria 

Mexico Food Guide Birria

Birria must be on your list of food in Mexico to try. Birria is a stew made from goat, and it is seriously delicious. Goat meat is marinated in a sauce with spices and ancho chiles, then slowly cooked until tender and soft.

This traditional Mexican dish originates in the state of Jalisco, so cities such as Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta that I recommend you visit will offer this dish in many different forms.

You can enjoy birria as a soup, topped with fresh coriander, chopped white onion, and salsas. It’s usually served with tortillas to dunk into the delicious soup and scoop up all that lovely slow-cooked meat.

You can find birria served in tacos in this region, too, and they’re a little messy but fantastic.

One of Mexico’s best places to eat this dish is at Tlacolula Sunday Market, located about an hour from Oaxaca City. These vibrant markets run every Sunday! This is a fantastic cultural experience!

Check out our complete guide for how to visit Tlacolula Sunday Markets, including tips about how to get there on local transport, what to expect and what to eat.

20. Flautas (Flutes)

Mexico Food Guide Flautas
Mexico Food Guide -Flautas (flutes) are tasty Mexican street food snacks

Wander through any of the bustling food markets in Mexico, and you’re likely to find flautas. So, what exactly are these much-loved, crunchy and delicious Mexican foods?

Flautas are rolled corn tortillas filled with cheese, shredded chicken, mashed potato and other fillings fried in oil until golden brown.

Find flautas topped with tomato, queso, coriander and crema, a cheap and filling snack available everywhere.

21. Gorditas

Gordita means ‘chubby’ or ‘little fat one’ in Spanish, and these Mexican food snacks are named so because of their thickness and appearance. Essentially they are masa (corn dough) grilled, then cut open and stuffed with various fillings such as meat, cheese, beans and vegetables.

Some South American countries have a similar snack called arepa. Either way, you can never stop at just one gordita; they’re just too good!

What are the Best Food Cities to Visit in Mexico

If you’re wondering what Mexico food places to include in your Mexico Food Guide, check out our MEXICO Food Map for inspiration.

Best Food Tours in Mexico

I’ve always been a huge fan of joining food tours worldwide!

And, having completed my goal to visit every country in the world, I’ve had the privilege to taste every cuisine!

The best thing about joining food tours in Mexico is learning more about the delicious cuisine (and usually tasting the classic Mexican foods, too). Furthermore, you also gain knowledge about the culture, people and history.

From personal experience, these are my Top 3 recommended food experiences in Mexico.

  • Polanco Food Tour in Mexico City – Enjoy food and drink tastings at seven local hotspots in this best food tour Mexico City style. Try national dishes, including mole, tlayuda (my fave) and mezcal.
  • Oaxaca Food Tour – Eat Like a Local – You’ll walk and eat your way around Oaxaca on this 4.5-hour tour of this mouthwatering city, tasting the best Mexican foods of the region.
  • Best Tacos After Dark Food Walking Tour in Puerto Vallarta – 3.5-hour evening walking tour of Puerto Vallarta’s Old Town. Discover more about Mexico food tacos style! Enjoy tacos al pastor, fish tacos and tacos de cabeza (beef cheek), quesadilla, and the famous Mexican churros.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about Mexican foods in our Mexico Food Guide, and remember to try the extensive range of Mexican Drinks, too!

Check out these 61 Mexican Food Recipes from BBC Food to learn more about Mexican food recipes.

Mexican Foods in Mexico Tacos
What is Mexico food recipes without quintessential Mexican tacos?

Travel Tips for Mexico

We have many travel guides and tips for Mexico—what a delicious country!

Start your food journey with our Mexico Food Guide (21 of Mexico’s popular dishes).

Check out our Food Map of MEXICO, including 15 places to eat the best food! If you’re short on time, these are our top 5 food cities in Mexico.

Did you know Mexico is featured in our TOP 10 best countries for food lovers? 

Still trying to decide where to take your next trip? Read these 10 reasons to visit Mexico; it’s the ideal vacation spot.

For history lovers, these 11 historical places in Mexico will amaze you! 

If you plan to visit Oaxaca, a food lover’s paradise, you must taste these 20 most delicious dishes in Oaxaca. I also recommend these 12 best breakfast places.

For an unforgettable and authentic cultural experience, visit the Tlacolula Markets on Sunday – an absolute highlight of our visit! 

You may want to try as many of these popular Mexican drinks as possible; they’re so good!

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in Mexico. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View options for eSIM in Mexico.

If your travels in Mexico are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM. The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

Want to travel in Mexico with like-minded travellers? View the best deals on group adventures in Mexico.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

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