After almost 5 years here in Mexico, I've tried a variety of food in the country.
Plenty of food items that I would have a harder time (read: impossible) to find in Mexican restaurants (even if ran by Mexicans) in small town Iowa and other items that have always been very familiar to me as I've eaten "Mexican food" back home since I was a little kid.
As I wrote in this article here, I actually enjoy Mexican food made by Mexicans (and only Mexicans, not Taco Bell) back home than the Mexican food you find made in Mexico.
Which isn't to say that Mexican food in Mexico is crap. It tastes great!
Only that, based on my food preferences, I like the food back home a little bit more due to better taste and bigger portion sizes (not to mention other benefits like free chips included at the start of the meal, customer service is much better, I don't have to remind the cook to not poison my food with anything too spicy, etc).
Still, as I hinted at already, one major benefit to Mexican food made in Mexico is that you tend to get more variety of things to try than you would in a small town of Iowa (even if said Mexican restaurants of small town Iowa are run by Mexicans).
That's usually because, for whatever reason, Mexican restaurants ran by Mexicans back home all seem to agree on a collective list of food items to offer and rarely anything else: quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, flautas, etc.
Of course, this is Iowa we are talking about and not California or Texas.
....Probably things are run a little bit differently in states with more Mexican heritage folks.
Anyway, I figured to finally put together an article with photos of different food items I have tried in Mexico and my thoughts on them.
Are they even worth trying?
Which ones are delicious, which ones are OK and what tips do you need to know before trying food here?
Obviously, whatever tips I'll give are based on my food preferences but let's get those out of the way now:
Tip 1: Don't forget to tell the cook or waiter "sin picante" or "sin chile" if you don't want your food ruined with anything too spicy. In my experience, they'll understand either expression but "sin picante" seems to work better.
Tip 2: Don't forget to ask the portion size of the food. This is rarely an issue as most food items are of normal portion size but I have found myself sitting down at a table to have the food delivered to me and it comes out with the portion size meant for a child. In such a scenario, you'll have to ask for seconds because you won't believe how fucking small the food is. What's more surprising is how some places can offer such small food but yet you have Mexicans fat as fuck everywhere. Must be that coca cola....
Tip 3: Going back to spicy salsa, I do recommend you at least get "a portion on the side" of some salsa to experiment with. Just make sure it isn't placed on the food. Some places naturally give you salsa on the side and others will try to dump it on your food. Nothing wrong though with just having some on the side to experiment with. Also, most Mexicans will tell you that green salsa is less spicy than red salsa. It might be just me but I find red salsa to be less spicy.
Tip 4: If not sure if something will be spicy or not, ask your waiter. You can still tell him "sin picante" and they'll get rid of anything spicy on it. But if you feel like experimenting with something spicy but not too much, ask him "how spicy is it?" Granted, some Mexican might have a different standard for what is spicy but others (especially if they have experience with foreigners) might keep in mind that his standard is different than yours. Still, just asking "how spicy is it?" can't hurt.
Tip 5: If new to Mexico but on a budget, don't forget to try the "menu del dia" at small mom and pop restaurants (especially if outside of touristy areas). They tend to be a little bit cheaper usually from what I've noticed.
Tip 6: As I wrote here, a few Mexicans might try to rip you off on the prices by overcharging you. It happens to me maybe once every 3 years because I find most Mexicans (compared to other nationalities like Colombians or Dominicans) to be more honest on average. Still, keep an eye open so you don't get ripped off (and know to learn Spanish so you can stand up for yourself better obviously).
Tip 7: As I wrote here, don't be afriad to "Americanize" your food. For example, I always try to get street food spots to put french fries in my gorditas even if Mexicans don't do that. It usually comes at an extra cost of like 5 pesos or sometimes comes free of charge (even if I don't mind paying the simple 25 cents more). While I get new tourists to Mexico would prefer something more "authentic," I don't mind "americanizing" the food to my tastes because I've had enough "authentic" food for years now. No need to prove to anyone how "authentic" my food is nor am I competing to be the next Anthony Bourdain. I'll customize what I eat so I can enjoy it and would recommend you do to if you don't feel like having an "authentic" meal and prefer something tastier to what you like.
Tip 8: Will the food make you sick (especially street food)? Well, I've written on this topic here, here and here. All I can say is that, for the most part (especially after having worked in food service in the US), you'll find that locals in countries like Mexico have much lower standards for sanitation when preparing your food. Having said that, the food has only gotten me sick two times in my 7 years in Latin America: one time in Nicaragua that you can read here and in one time in Mexico as you can read here. But I also rarely get sick so your mileage will vary.
Anyway, that's all I got to say for now regarding tips. Nothing else comes to mind at the moment.
If you got any tips or anything to expand on the tips listed, mention them in the comment section below and I'll include them here if I find your comment to be accurate.
But let's move onto the food now!
Obviously, this isn't going to cover ALL of Mexican food items out there but it'll cover anyhow the food items I eat more often and can most commonly find being sold in street food spots as I tend to live fairly cheaply.
On top of that, almost all of the food items will have personal photos I took instead of standard stock photos.
Much better to see how the food actually looks when purchased by a real person at not overly fancy places instead of how it looks when presented to look as nice as possible for a professional photographer at a restaurant that charges 10 bucks for water?
Anyway, given how long this article here, check out the "Table of Contents" below to help you navigate it if you don't want to read the whole article (or do! -- I wouldn't mind).
Tacos al Pastor
Perhaps this is the first food item I bring up given my time in Mexico City and how you can find "tacos al pastor" on so many corners of the capital.
Here's a photo I took of some here.
Personally, I quite like this food item because it's some of the cheapest tacos you can find in the city.
While I don't find "pastor" to be overly tasty, I like the taste anyhow.
It's not amazing but it's fine in taste. Nothing bad.
The main appeal of "tacos al pastor" is that it is cheap as fuck compared to other tacos out there.
While the tacos themselves are small as fuck like you can see in the photo above, they are still very cheap.
Back when I first began living in Mexico City 5 years ago, you could get 5 tacos al pastor for 25 pesos in areas like Roma Norte.
While I haven't lived in Roma Norte in a while, I'm pretty confident the days of "5 for 25" are over in those areas.
However, where I live right now in the south of the city, I can get them for as low as 4 pesos a taco at one specific spot but the rest in my area still sell at 5 pesos a taco.
You'll get the options of red or green salsa and I always prefer red salsa.
However, in my experience as I have gotten used to extra spiciness over the years, I find your mileage will vary when it comes to red salsa (what I always get).
Some places have red salsa that is just a tiny bit too spicy and others have red salsa that is just right.
I could personally show you who has the best red salsa for tacos al pastor in my experience.
There's one place in this small open air food court spot outside Metro Copilco that is always popular and has THE BEST red salsa I could find anywhere.
However, their tacos come at 5 for 35 pesos last I checked.
Yeah, that extra 10 pesos or 50 cents does damage.
But worth it for their red salsa!
Anyway, for the tacos al pastor, they'll often add some small chopped up onions and this green shit (cilantro? or whatever it is...) on top of it. Worth it.
And a small pineapple thing.
Definitely get the pineapple thing.
Now, to be fair, not all the tacos of Mexico City are small.
Here's an example of some BIG AS FUCK tacos.
I purchased these often in Pachuca de Soto.
Tacos like these used to cost as low as 17 pesos when I first began living here in Roma Norte of Mexico City.
However, they'd be more expensive than that in Roma Norte these days.
One thing to keep in mind is that, for tacos of these size, keep an open eye for places that include extra ingredients.
Be it places that add bacon or french fries.
Bacon isn't too common but it's not terribly rare to find a place putting french fries on your larger tacos (even outside of touristy areas).
Be it french fries or potatoes even as with those tacos of Pachuca shown above.
The french fries really do it.
Let's move on.
Ah yes -- the gringas.
Quite frankly, I don't know why they ever gave this food item "gringa."
Why is this food item called a gringa?
I have no idea!
But you can look at it here.
I only had this food item once and it was enough for me.
While I didn't hate it, I did wonder to myself "why the fuck did I buy this?"
My memory of it was that it reminded me a lot of a taco de pastor (it consisted of pastor itself to be fair).
But, from what I remember, it basically involved the cook taking 2 tortillas, throwing some pastor in between and maybe adding a few other items to it.
But, for the most part, it didn't strike me as being much different from a taco de pastor.
Which, as a side point, is one major difference between some gringos and Mexicans.
It often can come across to some of us that the food items here are not always that far from each other.
But, to the Mexican, he can come up with a million reasons for how they are different from each other due to the most nuanced details that few who are not Mexican give a fuck about.
The gringa, in my experience, is one of such cases.
It felt more like a "sandwich of a taco de pastor" given the extra tortilla they threw on top of it but nothing more.
I truly did not see much difference in taste from this compared to the taco de pastor and never again bought another gringa.
Back home, the quesadilla is different in that they throw A SHIT TON of cheese in the fucking thing.
So much so that you can see how it is different.
Down here in Mexico, I can appreciate the difference a little more even if they don't overdue it with the amount of cheese like they did it back home.
And, quite frankly, I'm not sure which is better: bomb the fucking thing with too much cheese or keep it normal in quantity of cheese?
You be the judge. I actually don't mind. Both have their appeal to me.
....Actually, now that I think about it, bombing the thing with too much cheese does sound better.
Having said that, not even Mexicans can agree on the amount of cheese to include!
I say that because, if you are familiar with Mexico City, you'll notice that it's standard to NOT EVEN INCLUDE cheese in the QUESADILLA!
I wrote more about this topic here.
But, to summarize, you actually have to tell the cook in Mexico City to include cheese for your quesadilla.
To remind him that a "quesadilla" has "queso."
What the fuck?
Did someone drop these cooks of Mexico City on their head?
It's only a problem really for this specific city from what I've noticed.
Anyway, if you get a quesadilla in Mexico City specifically, just don't forget to have the quesadilla be "cheese only" or "combinado."
Without the cheese, it literally does become a taco basically.
....Which is ironic to say because plenty of tacos in Mexico City include cheese also but I digress!
Also, for those curious, here's a picture of some quesadillas that look green and a bit different. A place near me serves these. First time ever trying "green quesadillas" back then but I actually like them this way more nowadays because they taste better to me.
Next, we have something that resembles a lot the quesadilla but is put separately on menus in Mexico City.
After going through photos on my phone and knowing I've tried it before, I believe this is what it is.
Here's a basic Wikipedia description of it: "is a flour tortilla-based sandwich made by placing ham, vegetables (like tomatoes, onion, etc.) and a portion of Oaxaca cheese (or any type of cheese) between two flour tortillas."
The only thing I will add is that I have seen them sold with other types of meat and not just ham.
Anyway, it is tasty and I recommend it.
This is just a small dessert you can have in Mexico.
Pastel de Elote
This is basically just a Mexican corn cake.
I once asked a local what this next item is called and she said oblea.
I've seen countless homeless people and hustlers try to sell these things but never bought them because they never looked like something to eat nor something I'd buy.
However, I bought one not long ago and actually was surprised you could eat it.
It has a sweet taste to it.
Anyway, it was OK to try. Sweet. Pretty cheap. Only 6 pesos.
Sure. Go try it.
Frijol con Puerco
I know I had some "frijol con puerco" at one point based on what I ordered from Uber Eats.
Based on the photos from their restaurant website, I believe this is it.
It's basically a little soup dish with some pork and beans inside it.
Actually liked it more than I expected.
So here you go.
This was OK.
The meat tasted good.
They gave me a bunch of tortillas to put the meat on.
It's a bit messy though when you get it.
If you are ordering it to have it delivered like I did, make sure to be prepared for how messy the juices are.
Might need some paper towels or whatever but it's tasty.
Dzic de Venado
I didn't really care for this.
It's been a month since I ate what you see in the photo so my memory is a bit fuzzy as I type this now but I remember it being some type of meat with onions as you can see below.
And it was just OK.
It wasn't cooked badly but I just didn't like the excessive onions all over it.
Not my cup of tea.
This is one of my favorite food items in Mexico.
For one, the flautas always come with lettuce, cheese, cream and whatever else.
It actually has a lot of the food ingredients that we gringos typically just puts on tacos back home.
Plus, it is hard shelled!
You can see them here.
All around, it makes for a great food item and one of my favorites.
Of course, your mileage will vary as to where you buy it from.
For example, there's a common restaurant in Mexico City that I haven't been to in a few years but I used to go to for flautas every so often.
I forgot the name of the place as I haven't been there in a while and they aren't around the areas of Mexico City that I live in.
Still, for those who know what I'm talking about, it's some common restaurant around parts of the city that has a sign of some light brown skinned, middle aged woman who could pass as your mom and always has a stern look on her face.
....Maybe you know what I'm talking about.
Anyway, while I'm not sure if they still do this but they used to have some promotion where you could eat as many flautas as you wanted.
I used to go there with people I knew and we'd eat at least 20 to 30 flautas together.
They were not always the highest quality flautas (a tiny bit soggy from what I remember) but still good enough for the price!
And a competition really to see how many we could eat.
If you want higher quality flautas anyway, go to this place called Casa de Toño.
Their flautas only cost like 55 pesos last I checked, their red salsa is spicy but not overly spicy with decent taste and their flautas are usually made very well (with decent customer service and they never mind taking a 500 peso bill as payment with change ready for you ALWAYS).
In fact, the flautas you see in the photo above are from them.
Tacos Dorados de Pollo
This is another classic example of "how is this different from another food item?"
In this case, the "taco dorado de pollo" is basically a flauta.
Now, to be fair, I know some Mexican out there will somehow come out of the woods to explain some nuanced differences in history and food preparation to show how it is different.
But I don't give a fuck.
It's not different from a flauta except in portion size.
Flautas tend to be bigger and "tacos dorados de pollo" tend to come in such small portion sizes that it is actually one of those food items in Mexico that you need to ask seconds of.
You can't have "tacos dorados de pollo" as a meal unless you are getting AT LEAST 8 of them.
That's how small they are.
They're like tacos al pastor -- too small and you need to keep this in mind (especially if you are hungry).
Alambre & Fajitas
This is another example of two food items that are basically the same.
Both food items are basically the same where you do the following:
1. Place a bunch of tortillas on the side.
2. Cook a shit ton of meat with some vegetable items of whatever is included (like peppers or whatever they offer).
3. Don't forget the cheese.
Then give that to the customer to basically make their "customized" taco.
If we're being honest, both food items are basically "make your own" tacos.
That's what they are!
Here's a photo of an alambre that I took anyway.
And here's a picture of some fajitas I had delivered to my house recently.
They both give you tortillas.
And, instead of putting the food items (the meat, the cheese, etc) onto the taco, they give you those food items separately and expect you to put the food items on your tortillas yourself.
The other main difference is that the alambre and fajitas include more food items than what they'd usually give you if you ordered a taco in Mexico.
While tacos in Mexico can come with cheese depending on the place, they don't usually give you all the other vegetable food items with the tacos that they do with alambre or fajitas.
In my opinion, that's really the main appeal of the alambre of fajita is that you get more shit to throw onto your tacos to make them tastier.
Usually at a higher price anyway than if you ordered tacos but worth it anyhow.
It just seems weird to me that Mexicans prefer to call this a different food item (alambre instead of "make your own taco") and why they can't just include those extra ingredients in the tacos themselves.
Still, it's very tasty nonetheless!
I thought this food item was OK.
According to Wikipedia, it is supposedly one of the main dishes of Mexico.
I never heard about it until recently.
It's basically some meat with rice, beans, a salad and they threw in two random enchiladas with it also.
All around OK.
Given there was only one restaurant in my area that was offering it, I had to go with those who made the one in the photo above and the meat could've been cooked better.
But it's an OK meal.
I'm taking cheap shots here, ain't I?
Complaining about food items in Mexico that look too similar to each other and then bringing up the "queso fundido."
Too easy of an example to bring up!
And was it OK?
Yeah, the "queso fundido" was fine.
I prefer it mixed with some meat usually when having it.
Anyway, the queso fundido is basically a small bit of cheese (with meat if you pay for it) and a bunch of tortillas to throw your cheese (and maybe meat) onto.
In the photo above, they hadn't given me the tortillas just yet but they did a second or so later.
So, similar to the alambre or fajita, it's basically a "make your own taco" or "make your own quesadilla."
In fact, without the meat included, it would be a quesadilla basically!
A tortilla with cheese!
Granted, I'm sure there are some nuanced differences that the Mexican will bring up but most of us foreigners don't give a shit as it tastes very similar (those who say they do give a shit are either Anthony Bourdain wannabes or those just trying to bend over backwards to be nice to your feelings).
It's literally a smaller quesadilla without any of the grease that you'd get with a street food quesadilla.
I'm definitely glad I noticed how a lot of the places were not going to add meat to it and chose to have some pastor with the queso fundido.
Or else I'd really be let down as to the quality of it.
All around, it's not the worst food item.
The "queso fundido" is another typical example of something that resembles very much other food items in Mexico but, despite the lack of creativity, still tastes good.
It's not something I'd ever order again -- even as an appetizer -- because it just wasn't that impressive.
Tasty but not overly exciting.
I'm not really sure how to describe this other than basically being a taco.
I didn't see too many differences.
The tortilla might be different than normal but it didn't seem much different otherwise.
Overall, it tasted good.
Similar to the pan arabe, this actually came from another part of the world.
Mexico, like any other country, obviously has foods that were brought over or contributed by other regions to their cuisine.
It has more of a Mediterranean heritage to it.
Still, it's something you'll find in Mexican restaurants down here.
It basically seems like a big taco to me with a weird lettuce thrown in.
I guess mine was even "more Mexican" given they threw cochinita pibil on it.
Tasty but not very different from other food items you find in Mexican cuisine.
This is a type of meat that you'll find in Mexico.
If I remember right, I think it has its origins more in the northern part of Mexico.
Overall, it's fine.
This is a type of fruity drink you'll find in Mexico.
Pretty tasty actually.
Tastier than I expected.
I had the "fresa" flavor but you can find it coming with other flavors depending on the place you buy it from.
Definitely worth trying.
Moving away from a lack of creativity, the gordita is a food item where you can more noticeably see the difference in taste and appearance.
Here's a picture of it.
As you can see, it includes french fries.
That's not typical of gorditas in Mexico but I've had plenty of luck in getting street food spots to include the french fries for either free or for a small amount like 5 pesos.
Which, for 5 pesos more for all of the french fries included, it's basically free anyhow.
In Mexico City, a lot of gordita places will sell it including chicharron mostly commonly or they might include beef or something.
And they always include lettuce, cheese and usually cream.
Now, if they don't include cream (which isn't always the case), the gordita isn't going to be as tasty but it's workable.
But it needs cream in my opinion.
Otherwise, it tastes "too dry" so to speak and just isn't as pleasant to me.
Of course, some Mexicans might get around that by adding salsa (red or green) and you can try that too.
I've done that as well but only with the salsa I have at home because I'm much more hesitant to try the red salsa of any stranger as I find the red salsa at street food spots to be hit or miss.
Sometimes they are too spicy that they make the food not so enjoyable anymore or they work well.
Anyway, I have a bunch of red salsa at home that I save from my orders at Casa de Toño so I just use that like you can see here.
If they don't include cream anyway to the gorditas, obviously the salsa is a good alternative if you have something that you know won't kill the inside of your mouth.
But hopefully it does have cream!
When it does, I love gorditas.
Without the cream? Eh, they're OK. Nothing to write home about.
Gorditas de Migajas
Next, we have another variation of the gorditas: the gorditas de migajas.
They come from the state of Querétaro.
Given the portion size of what I was given when I ordered these (and can't find too many of them in CDMX), I felt they would be better served as an appetizer.
But that was just my experience.
This is another one of my favorite food items in Mexico.
Tostadas are often cheap as fuck at only like 20 pesos a piece if you buy them in the street.
You can usually get two of them for 40 pesos more or less and that'll be good enough for a solid meal.
As a side point, some Mexicans will joke about how the tacos of Taco Bell are basically tostadas.
Actually, I can't disagree with that too much.
Basically, they are some hard shelled thing with a bunch of meat, lettuce, cheese and cream thrown on top.
Salsa too if you want.
Here's a picture of some.
Quick note: While those tostadas don't look as tasty as other ones I've tried, it was the only photo I had. Those were still tasty though!
While the shell isn't bent upwards like a hard shelled taco of Taco Bell, I can kinda see where the Mexican is coming from when he says this is a tostada.
The only thing I'd say is that it is bit ironic for said Mexican to be claiming that it is a literal tostada when, as we have covered already, there are plenty of food items in Mexico that are SO SIMILAR to each other with EXTREMELY minor differences that no foreigner would give a fuck about but yet they somehow claim they are different food items and deserving of their own names.
Be it the chilanga quesadilla vs. a taco.
The alambre vs. the fajita.
A paste vs. empanada as we'll cover soon.
Queso fundido vs. a quesadilla or taco.
So on and so on.
Regardless, I do see where the Mexican is coming from by saying that a taco from Taco Bell is basically a "bent upwards" tostada.
And, perhaps for that reason, I find the tostada to be so much tastier given the extra ingredients it has that I'm used to having on tacos from back home.
Anyway, I quite like the tostada as you can tell.
The only thing I dislike about it as that it's not uncommon for you to take a bite into the thing and then parts of it crumble and random things like lettuce fall everywhere.
Obviously have a plate ready for shit to fall down.
Try not to eat it in front of a laptop also and be mindful of shit falling everywhere.
It's very tasty anyway and one of my favorite food items.
When I first started living in Latin America, I was going to countries that were not Mexico.
In fact, I'm pretty confident that somewhere I learned that a torta is basically some dessert type item.
Here's a description of what I mean where apparently "torta" can mean something different in other countries.
"Torta is a culinary term that can, depending on the cuisine, refer to cakes, pies, flatbreads, sandwiches, or omelettes. Usually, it refers to: cake or pie in South America, much of Europe, and southern Philippines. flatbread in Spain."
Or that's my impression anyway.
In Mexico though, I've always heard "torta" to mean basically a sandwich.
It was a confusing thing for me when I first arrived here but got used to it.
And that's all it is -- a sandwich basically.
A very big sandwich anyway as the portion size tends to be big.
At first, I remember thinking that I'd need some chips to go with it but I've never been able to eat the chips after having a torta.
The torta might look normal sized and might need a side item to enjoy but the torta itself will be fine enough for you.
Here's a picture of one.
This is basically a torta from Puebla.
It basically looks like a hamburger but without the hamburger meat inside.
Here's a picture of it.
There are some other minor differences between this and a torta but I'll leave it at that.
Very tasty and worth trying.
The Ahogada Items: Tortas & Flautas
In Mexico City, you'll find a few restaurants offering food items already discussed but in "ahogada" version.
"Ahogada" meaning drowned as they have it drowning in sauce basically.
The most classic example of that is the torta ahogada.
Here's a picture of it.
Here's a Wikipedia version of it:
"A torta ahogada (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtoɾta a.oˈɣaða], drowned submarine sandwich) is a typical dish from the Mexican state of Jalisco, particularly in the city of Guadalajara. Although it is popular in some other parts of Mexico, it is most popular in Guadalajara. It is called "drowned" because the sandwich is submerged totally or partially in a sauce made primarily of a dried chili pepper called chile de árbol. Less spicy versions of the sandwich, made with a tomato-based sauce, are also available."
Anyway, what did I think of it?
Well, it wasn't too spicy for me but I have gotten used to spiciness in Mexico over the years.
There was a tiny bit of spiciness but nothing major.
Second, it didn't seem that special to me.
Other "more normal" tortas that I've had were much tastier than what this offered.
Third, drowning it in sauce simply made it too soggy and the bread crumbled while eating it.
Above all, it was OK but I would not eat this torta again unless it was 3 AM in Tepito and I walked to a torta spot where they only had this torta left and none of the other tortas.
It wasn't terrible but definitely not worth the hype that other blogs given it from what I've read.
And, outside of the "torta ahogada," I've seen restaurants offering other food items in "ahogada" style like flautas for example.
You can see some below here.
My thoughts on those is similar to anything else I've tried "ahogada" in that I feel it makes the food worse to drown it like they do.
Not terrible but not something I find to improve the quality of the food.
Volcanes & Cráteres
First, let's cover the volcanes.
It is an appetizer that you can see here.
It's two hard shelled things with a bunch of meat and cheese thrown in between.
The size you see of these volcanes is pretty small actually compared to some volcanes that you see out there.
There's another place near me that serves volcanes and they are literally 5 times the size of the volcanes you see in the photo above.
In that case, it's questionable if volcanes are "appetizers" with such a size.
But, when served in a small portion size like the ones you see above, that's obviously not a real meal and would be better to eat as an appetizer.
Perhaps similar to a tip given before, this is one of those food items where (based on my experience alone) you should be mindful of asking the waiter how big they'll be before ordering them.
And, as long as the hard shelled things aren't burnt (which some places serve as such because I guess the cook didn't know how to make them), then they are quite tasty.
One of my favorite appetizers in Mexico (assuming the portion size isn't crazy big and not burnt).
Second, we have the cráteres.
I haven't seen these as commonly sold around Mexico City as volcanes but they aren't hard to find either.
Honestly, they're basically the same as volcanes.
I saw no difference between this and volcanes.
But yet, for whatever reason, there is a different name attached to them.
There might be some very slight differences that some Mexicans could point out to me but they're basically the same.
I tried this food item for the first time ever only a few days ago as I write this.
Here's a picture of it.
It's basically a torta (sandwich) that consists of chorizo and, if I think right, small cut potatoes?
With some other food items they threw in like lettuce, cream, etc.
When they first described it to me, it didn't sound very tasty as the bread didn't look that appetizing but I was wrong.
I liked it.
And it was very cheap -- only 30 pesos (was originally only 25 but they increased it to 30 pesos because I asked for extra chorizo as it looked like they were giving a small portion of chorizo).
They also do something to the bread that gives it extra taste as you can see they dipped it in something or whatever.
Worth trying without question.
Might go well too with a small bag of chips or some side item because the sandwich was not overly big but enough to leave you not hungry in of itself.
While I rarely find any place offering burritos in Mexico, I also don't go looking for them necessarily as I don't care for burritos much.
Either way, sometimes you find them in both touristy and non-touristy areas.
One day out of the blue, I decided to try one in Mexico that you can see here.
Personally, I thought the food was Ok but not overly exciting.
It seemed a bit dry and felt like it needed more.
It consisted of beef and cheese.
But nothing more.
Just not that tasty as I had hoped.
But, thanks to the salsa from Casa de Toño mentioned before, I was able to redeem it.
Not much else to say on this item.
This is basically a bunch of soft chips mixed in with whatever sauce and some meat (chicken or beef usually) that you can see here.
A lot of people I've heard say that this serves more as a breakfast item.
Even other Americans seem to catch onto that.
Personally, I think it can work fine as a lunch or dinner.
Fills up nicely.
And is generally always tasty.
As long as the chilaquiles are not overly spicy, then I quite like them.
But you'll find it to be hit or miss.
Some places have chilaquiles that are spicy enough that you need more than a generous amount of water or black tea on the side and other places serve it with a sauce that isn't anything that'll kill the inside of your mouth and ruin your meal.
Just depends on the place and how they serve it.
And it doesn't matter so much how touristy the area is.
You'd think touristy areas would serve it without the extra spice but I find that doesn't matter.
Sometimes I have more luck getting chilaquiles in non-touristy areas also.
So it just depends.
Enchiladas & Enfrijoladas
Next, we have enchiladas and enfrijoladas.
Both of these food items are basically the same with a very minor difference.
It's hard to describe what they are made of without looking it up on Google and I'm just going here based on what I've tasted trying them.
Basically, they come across as very soft tortillas that are wrapped around some meat (chicken, beef, etc) and then a bunch of salsa thrown on top.
For the enchiladas, expect a red or green salsa usually.
For the enfrijoladas, expect some bean type sauce or whatever thrown on top of the food.
Cheese included if you want it.
Sometimes a few other random ingredients thrown in depending on the establishment but that's basically it.
Both are tasty but I prefer the enfrijoladas.
Here are pictures of both (first the enchiladas and the second is the enfrijoladas).
Keep in mind that certain food items also have their own way of being made differently in other parts of Mexico.
Enchiladas is a good example of that and here's an example of what I mean.
Here are some papadzules.
While they don't look that appetizing, they actually were tastier than they look.
Basically, these are enchiladas but with eggs inside them.
From the Yucatan area supposedly.
For breakfast, I would say so!
They were tasty enough.
I wasn't overly excited about them but I found they tasted well enough to try.
This is basically having enchiladas but with some aguacate sauce or whatever it is put on top of them.
Pretty tasty actually. I liked it.
In Mexico, you have a certain sauce that you see people use on various food items known as mole.
It combines chillis and other ingredients.
One of the more well-known things to try in Mexico.
You can have enmoladas (known also as enchiladas de mole), pechuga de pollo con mole Poblano and many other foods that people put mole on.
Personally, I've tried it many times over with various foods.
There's also various types of mole that you can try and I like some more than others.
I'm a bigger fan of mole poblano and mole mole almendrado.
Here's a picture of some mole with chicken I had recently in Milpa Alta of Mexico City.
Anyway, when it comes to the mole sauce itself, I liked it but in limited amounts.
It had an odd mix of "sweet but slightly spicy" taste to it.
Not overly spicy whatsoever.
But a slight spice to it with some odd chocolate type taste to it also.
I liked it anyhow.
Just the right amount of spice. While I don't always eat anything too sweet, I enjoyed it anyhow.
These remind me as some type of weird mix between gorditas, tostadas and huaraches.
You can see it here placed on top of a gordita.
And here's a picture of a better looking sope from Casa de Toño.
Basically, it reminds me of the huarache because it has some bean type thing on the bottom as you can see.
But it kinda looks like a tostada to some degree if you compare it to the photo above.
Though the material you throw the junk on top looks similar to the material that comes with gorditas.
Tasty but I don't see much reason to eat this.
Instead of a sope, I'd rather have a gordita or a tostada.
You can see the pan arabe here.
There's a place near me that sells 2 pan arabes de pastor for only 35 pesos total.
When I first tried it with the one in the photo above, I liked it a bit surprisingly.
They added some extra taste to it that I'm not sure what it is but some kind of liquid that makes it taste better.
All around, tasty and worth trying.
The only thing I'd say is that the price seems a tiny bit elevated for the amount of food you get (in compared to other food items described on this list like the alambre for example).
Still, it's worth buying if you aren't on a backpacker budget.
Nothing more to say.
Huarache & Agua de Horchata
Since I don't have a picture of the agua de horchata separately, here is a picture of both the huarache and agua de horchata.
In my experience, some places serve a shit huarache and others serve it well.
I find it to taste MUCH better when you add the vegetables (con verde) which I think are cilantro if I'm not mistaken.
Otherwise, it's not as tasty or worth trying to me.
One thing to mention is that I never learned properly how to eat the damn thing I think.
It's quite large and I never looked at other Mexicans trying to eat it.
Sometimes I'd like bend it and eat it like that or whatever else.
Not sure if that's how you are supposed to do it but I originally found this type of food to easily have pieces fall off to the side (be it the meat, the cilantro, etc).
Then you have the agua de horchata.
Easily one of my favorite drinks made in Mexico.
Though, as I wrote here, I think I one time vomited because of drinking it but never had problems with it since.
It's common in Mexico to find "aguas frescas."
One example of such is the agua de horchata that you saw in the last section.
Another example is what you can see in this picture I had here (forgot what the taste was as I ordered this over a week ago).
Anyway, Wikipedia has this description of them here:
"Aguas frescas are light non-alcoholic beverages made from one or more fruits, cereals, flowers, or seeds blended with sugar and water."
Pastes & Empanadas
As far as I am aware, I don't think empanadas are a type of Mexican food.
When I first began traveling around Latin America, I found them in many other countries and so I'm not sure who invented it.
I can say anyway that Argentina make them the best.
Then I arrived to Mexico and eventually moved to a state called Hidalgo for a brief period.
While there, I tried something called "pastes."
At the end of the day, both pastes and empandas are basically the same thing.
I remember getting into a minor discussion with a former Mexican girlfriend about this where she disagreed.
She explained the nuances of it!
How it's different because of x, y and z.
And, to the foreigner, I didn't give a fuck.
Do they look similar?
Do they taste similar?
YES AND YES.
Therefore, they are the same.
After all, just look at them in these two videos here.
THEY LOOK THE SAME.
And they taste the same!
Next, we do have some real pictures where the first are pastes and the second are empanadas.
While this style of empanada does look different from the pastes, they are still both meat filled pastries.
Basically they are meat filled pastries (just like empanadas oddly enough).
Leave it to the Mexicans to invent a type of food that resembles TO A T another type of food and claim it is different because of some slight nuance that nobody else cares about it.
....But can I complain?
It still tastes great!
The empanada or the paste is basically a snack but, being honest, I sometimes treat it like an actual meal too.
But it's more of a snack really.
Pan de Muerto
This is basically some sugary type of bread that you find Mexicans eating more and more of around a special day called Dia de Muertos.
You can see it here.
Honestly, I don't like it too much.
It tastes OK but it's more of a personal preference as I tend to enjoy sweet foods but not too much of them.
I prefer more of a bitter taste.
Still, if you are new to Mexico and happen to be around for the Dia de Muertos, try it out!
Here's an article I wrote on trying "pan de muerto" for those curious.
Tacos de Barbacoa
If cooked right, this is a type of taco I prefer: barbacoa.
More expensive but it tastes better!
As of this writing, there happens to be a spot literally right outside my house that sells tacos de barbacoa every Sunday.
The taco in the photo above happened to come from that place today.
Funny enough, it was my first time eating there and the cook was surprised to see a gringo stop by (there's no gringos in the area of Mexico City where I live) and was pretty nice.
It's similar to what I wrote here about how places that don't get any gringos can sometimes have MUCH nicer locals than the touristy areas.
It actually sometimes feels a tiny bit weird regarding how nice the locals can be in said non-touristy areas (almost like you feel you are getting some odd special treatment that I appreciate but is different anyhow).
The dude even ended up giving me a small free taco (along with the 3 that I ordered).
After taking a bite of it, he asked me "if it tastes good" and "I like tacos, yes?"
I said yes to both.
But to be honest, the meat wasn't cooked well enough as I had hoped but it tasted fine and who can complain about a free taco?
They also gave me a SHIT TON of vegetables (some green pepper looking thing that I have no idea what it was) and the usual cilantro and onions with red salsa.
They were extremely generous with the amount of vegetables and salsa that they gave me (much more than I could've used on the tacos provided).
Anyway, when it comes to tacos de barbacoa, they are known (as far as I have heard) to be from the Mexican state of Hidalgo or at least very popular over there.
For those curious about food from Hidalgo, there were other items I tried but never took a picture of that I wrote about in this guide to Hidalgo's capital (Pachuca) that you can find here.
"Barbacoa" is actually a solid example of how each Mexican state has certain food items (like with the paste even as that came from Hidalgo) that you won't find as commonly in other states.
Mexican food is actually a lot more diverse than what this article you are reading lets you believe as you'll find special food items in each state that are worth trying (some are nasty though but let's not get too negative here).
Cabrito is basically roast goat.
It has its origins in Mexico in the state of Nuevo Leon.
There are various ways to prepare it, including the following according to this article here:
"Cabrito al pastor: The best-known and perhaps most popular form. The whole carcass is opened flat and impaled on a spit. The spit is then placed next to a bed of glowing embers and roasted slowly in the open air without seasonings other than the light scent it will absorb from the slow-burning charcoal.
Cabrito al horno (oven-roasted cabrito): Toasted slowly in an oven at low temperatures. A number of variants of this preparation have emerged, including some very elaborate processes that involve applying seasonings and covering the cooking meat at specific times to produce a tasty and juicy treat.
Cabrito en salsa (cabrito in sauce): The animal is cut into portions, browned in oil and braised in a tomato-based sauce with onions, garlic and green chilies, and other seasonings until tender.
Cabrito en sangre (cabrito in blood), sometimes fritada de cabrito: A less common preparation in which the blood of the animal is collected when it is slaughtered and it becomes the basis for the sauce that the goat is braised in, along with the animal's liver, kidneys, and heart, and other seasonings. The end product is tender cabrito in a rich, very dark sauce."
Similar to barbacoa, you can also add it to various items.
For example, I had some tacos de cabrito here with some very mild guacamole that they gave me.
Worth a try? Why not.
It's not my favorite meat in Mexico. That goes to cochinita pibil or birria.
Still worth trying.
Apparently this is a type of meal that came from Nuevo Leon in Mexico.
I have never seen these before except one time in CDMX as you can see here.
To be honest, they don't look exactly like what I am seeing in Google when I search this food item up.
Regardless, it was tasty what I did have and I recommend it.
Chile en Nogada
Finally, we have this food item here: chile en nogada.
This is basically a sweet-flavored stuffed pepper that is eaten around September time more commonly on Mexico's Independence Day (September 16).
I wrote more about my experience trying the chile en nogada in this article here.
Personally, I quite liked it.
And a bit different from the other food items in Mexico that many of which seem very similar to each other as I already mentioned.
Having said that, the only other thing I'd say about this food is that I wouldn't try it frequently because it's too sweet for me.
I liked it!
But I'd have to share it with someone (split it in half) because I truly don't like eating too much sweet flavored foods all at once.
It makes me feel like I'm going to vomit for some reason.
Too much sweetness and I need some black tea to drink with it.
Give me something more bitter.
Still, it's delicious either way.
This is a traditional dish found not just in Mexico but many other Latin American countries.
It has ground beef, tomatoes, olives and other ingredients depending on the region it is made from.
I definitely like it quite a bit.
Here's a picture of some I was warming up as I ordered a bunch of it to be delivered cold to my apartment the other day.
The Chile Relleno
In Mexico, you have various options of the "chile relleno" that you can try.
"Chile Relleno" just means "stuffed chile" in which something is stuffed inside a chile for you to enjoy.
Perhaps it be cheese, chorizo, picadillo or whatever you can find in Mexico.
For this article, I have tried "chile relleno de queso" several times as it is a popular enough option.
Initially, I was living in an area called Pedregal de Santo Domingo and couldn't find any places offering it in my area at first. So I again had to resort to Uber Eats to deliver it to me.
Ended up paying a tiny bit more than what I normally would thinking that this would be like the Chile en Nogada where you might want to pay extra to get something nicer (not sure how hard it is to cook it but I thought it might be so I imagined they'd need a fancier chef with a higher salary).
So I ended up paying around 15 bucks (close to 300 pesos) versus all the other places asking for 130 to 200 pesos (literally the most expensive Chile Relleno I could find on Uber Eats in my area and at the hour I ordered it).
And, despite paying more, the "Chile Relleno" was kinda crap in my opinion.
Here's a picture of how it came out.
It's almost like the chef vomited on my plate.
For one, the packaging was shit and some of the orange liquid leaked out of the box.
Second, I'm half-confident that it was microwaved and the cheese wasn't very tasty.
The chile itself wasn't as bad as it looks though. It was actually kinda tasty.
I did order a second "chile relleno de queso" just to give it a second shot from a local place near where I live right now as you can see here.
And while it equally looks like shit, it wasn't bad in taste. It was OK and actually tastier despite being cheaper at only around 3 bucks to have it.
The main problem I have with both is that I would rather replace the cheese with something else.
So I ended up trying another "chile relleno."
It's basically the same thing as a "chile relleno de queso" but replace the queso with mole and add some much needed meat.
Chile Poblano Relleno de Pollo con Mole.
That's all it is really no matter how you have your "chile relleno."
It's just a stuffed chile with whatever you prefer stuffed inside it as I said before.
Regardless, what I can say above all after having tried multiple "chile rellenos" from different places (both cheaper and expensive) is that I don't really care for the chile relleno unless it has meat inside it.
The last one with mole and chicken was much better.
While the "chile relleno de queso" that I had in either photo above tasted OK, I personally prefer it having some meat instead of queso.
Otherwise, it makes for an OK meal but most meals I prefer eating have some type of meat.
Without meat, I simply don't care for it as much even if it tasted fine.
So that's all I can say.
Let's move on.
This is basically a type of Mexican soup that includes, from what I remember, at least the following: pork, garlic, tomato, hominy, etc.
It's not terrible.
But, if I'm being honest, I don't like soup that much.
Not a fan of soup at all.
For that reason, I'm not likely to ever eat pozole.
Though, for purposes of this article, I did order some pozole tonight so I can try it again and give a more updated view on how I see it.
It was called "Pozole Rojo de Jalisco" and the ingredients are as following: "se sirve con aguacate de 40 gramos y chicharron de 10 gramos. Carne de 120 gramos, maiz de 300 gramos y caldo de 425 mililitros."
You can see what it looks like in the photo below (the pic doesn't show all the ingredients as it was delivered to me and they put some side ingredients in other packaging that came with it that I hadn't put into the soup yet for the photo below).
Anyway, if you like a soup style dish, I can see why you'd like pozole.
While I don't like soup much, what I had was tasty and the chicken cooked well.
They did add some weird vegetables inside it that I wasn't a big fan of but it didn't ruin the meal for me.
All around, it was OK. Not something I'd try ever again but it wasn't a bad meal (I'm just not into soups much).
If I'm not mistaken, I think this is also called "tortilla soup" but it is also known as "Sopa Azteca."
Basically a soup with cheese, cream, tortilla chips, a little bit of chicharron, some green vegetable thing and whatever else.
While I'm not big into soups, I actually enjoyed this one a bit more than any other soup I've tried.
I'm not sure if I'd eat it ever again as I don't usually go for soup but it is something I wouldn't mind trying again.
Here's a picture of what I had.
Sopa de Lima
Oddly enough, this doesn't come from Lima, Peru!
Actually, the "lima" just means lime.
Anyway, it's another soup I tried for the purposes of this article as you can see it here.
The soup anyway consisted of a very small amount of chicken, garlic, lime, tomatoes, onion, etc.
All around, it was OK.
I didn't care for it much and I wouldn't try it again but the taste was fine.
The description of this from the website is the following: "chileatole con maiz cacahuazintle, aceite y ceniza de chiles, brotes de epazote y chochoyotes de maiz nixtamlizado."
This wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but I didn't care for it much and wouldn't eat again.
Sopa de Habas
The description of this from the website is the following: "sopa de habas con nopales, pimientos, cebolla morada y cilantro."
I actually liked this a lot more than I expected.
It's been a month since I've had this so, as I type this, I think this is the photo of the "sopa tarasca" that I had.
The photo anyway matches the photo on the website of the restaurant.
Basically though, the website description is this: "sopa tarasca con crujiente de tortilla, jitomate, queso fresco vegano, rabano, crema vegana y brotes de cilantro."
It was OK.
Not really worth dying for but it wasn't bad.
Here we have some pasta dish that you can find in Mexico.
The description of it according to the place I bought it from was the following: "Fideo seco con adobo de chile pasilla oaxaqueño y hoja de aguacate, salsa de frijol al chipotle, crema vegana, queso fresco vegano, aguacate y chile frito."
It was tasty and worth trying.
Not much else to say other than I think it could be improved by adding some meat to it.
Jugo de Carne
This is a random thing I ordered from Uber Eats not too long ago.
It's basically some sauce that tastes like some type of meat.
The one I got didn't seem to have any meat or anything inside it really.
Overall, it was pretty tasty.
Felt like it needed something more though and so I added some beans to it from another side dish I had at the same time called Frijoles de la Olla.
Overall, Jugo de Carne was worth it. Something I'd maybe try again.
One thing to add though is that this is not the same as "Carne en su Jugo."
I was slightly confused as if these two items were the same before trying either one because I'm used to name variations of the same thing existing for food down here.
"Carne en Su Jugo" seems to be based from the Mexican state of Jalisco while, according to this article, supposedly "Jugo de Carne" was originally from Spain.
Still, I included "Jugo de Carne" because it's not a terribly rare dish that you'll find among the cuisine in the country.
It also wouldn't be the first food item exported to Mexico like how tacos al pastor have Syrian and Lebanese influence.
Or the flan!
Worth trying if you happen to be down here in Mexico anyhow.
Carne en su Jugo
This is basically just a soup with a shit ton of meat thrown inside.
As the name of the meal implies.
I had it delivered to my house so, like other soups, it looks slightly different than what you'd see when getting it at a restaurant.
Still, it was fine.
I liked it.
Would I eat it again?
Well, if I was forced to eat something that seems like a soup, this would be my choice because it is very meat heavy.
Anyway, here's a picture of what I was given.
And, for whatever reason, they gave me tortillas with it also.
Granted, I also ordered "Torta Ahogada" with the "Carne en su Jugo" so I'm not sure which the tortillas are meant for.
If I had to guess, probably the "Carne en su Jugo" obviously.
Even then, I didn't feel tortillas were necessary to enjoy either meal.
It was a fine meal either way. Not crazy about it but it was fine.
Chalupas & Agua de Jamaica
I never tried these before.
And I have no idea how to explain them either after trying them.
They included chicken in the ones I got.
And they were very messy in that I needed a fork to eat them.
They were cool.
Not amazing but not average either.
Slightly above average in taste and definitely worth trying again.
Here's a photo.
And also they gave me a random "agua fresca" that I didn't order.
If I remember right, supposedly it was "Agua de Jamaica."
So there you go.
Frijoles de la Olla
This is basically a light soup full of beans.
Or that's what I was given anyway.
Overall, it was OK. I enjoyed it. Don't really have much to say on this item. Was fine.
Originally brought over by Spain to Mexico, this is a classic you'll find Mexicans enjoying across the country.
We all know what flan is so not much explanation needed.
Here's a picture of one I had recently.
Though I don't usually eat anything too sweet, churros are my preferred sweet snack to enjoy in Mexico.
I've bought them for as little as 1 peso each in the street and the one you see in the photo below was only 4 pesos.
Sweet but it's not a huge thing to eat like the Chile en Nogada.
Quick snack to enjoy and nothing about it that I dislike.
For a good churro in Mexico City, you can buy them off the street if you want something really cheap or you can get the best churros I have found at a place called "Churreria El Moro."
Similar to the pambazo, I found the mollete to be nicer than I expected.
I say that because I only tried it recently a few months ago and I always thought that it was quite small.
Perhaps I thought so because, in my time going to other restaurants, sometimes the mollete that I saw other customers eating always seemed very small in portion size.
However, to my pleasant surprise, the mollete that I ordered not too long ago was pretty normal sized as you can see here.
I actually considered buying a burrito with it because I wasn't sure how small it was going to be but I'm happy that I didn't as it wasn't necessary.
One of which is chorizo and the other is chicken that I took home with me.
And not only was it decently sized beyond what I expected but it tasted pretty well too.
The tamale was likely the very first Mexican food I ever had in Mexico if my memory serves me right (or one of the first anyway).
It started back almost a decade ago when I took my first trip to Mexico (and was also my first trip to Latin America) that you can read about here.
I was walking with a group of other Americans and we had some street food where someone was selling tamales.
In short, I hated it.
I fucking hated tamales.
It literally almost made me throw up.
Well, it wasn't the taste nor did it give me food sickness.
It was just something about the texture of the food that, for whatever reason, I hated in the moment and my body almost ejected it back out of my mouth.
After that moment, I had some more tamales in Guatemala not too long after and got used to the food.
Since Guatemala, I never had a tamale again as far as I can remember.
While I don't hate tamales anymore and can get behind eating one again, it's just not a type of food that I care that much about.
Having said that, sometimes it can be better depending on the ingredients you add to it.
For purposes of this article, I had some tamales delivered to me from some restaurant that specializes in them and gets great reviews.
I ordered a tamale of cochinita, one of chicken with mole and they ended up giving me a free sweet tamale made out of milk and sugar.
Here they are.
It wasn't as bad as my first time trying tamales.
Would I eat it again?
I also had some street tamales recently for purposes of this article and they were OK also. Not amazing but just whatever.
Not terrible but, if you add the right type of meat like cochinita, I'll like it more.
And I should also add that the tamale in the second photo -- the chicken with mole -- wasn't as bad as it looks in that photo.
It looks like shit in the photo and it did in real life but it tasted fine.
Anyway, that's all I got on tamales.
Similar to what we saw with enchiladas, this is another example of how certain foods are made differently depending on what part of Mexico you are in.
The vaporcito is a Yucatan version of a tamale.
Worth trying if you like tamales. I thought it was OK.
This is a small little soup that was OK to try.
Not really my cup of tea but I've seen it on the menu around Mexico City and gave it a try.
Here's a picture.
Elotes & Esquites
Being from Iowa, you'd think I'd like the elotes and esquites, right?
It's actually one thing I like about Mexico is that they serve these corn based snacks all around the city.
I remember my first time trying an elote outside of a Walmart years ago that was close to Cuatro Caminos metro.
A girlfriend of mine was walking with me out of the Walmart with groceries and she encouraged me to buy one for us.
And liked it!
Have had them since.
But what is the difference between the two?
Well, from my foreign understanding, the main difference is that esquites is served off the cob and in a cup while elotes are served on the cob.
Unfortunately, I don't have much to say about it but I do have a photo of some esquites as you can see here.
All I can say is that I'm a fan of it!
Here's a picture of some elotes also (nacho flavored).
This is a new thing I tried recently in Mexico City that I never heard of before.
While eating it, I wasn't sure how to describe the taste beyond "bland" and "weird."
Not even sure what the plant is really because I never tried it before or ever heard of this thing before but here's a photo of it.
So, given I'm not sure how to describe what I ate, let's turn to Wikipedia here:
Another name for it seems to be "chenopodium nuttalliae."
And, according to Wikipedia, this thing is "species of edible plant native to Mexico. It is known by the common name huauzontle (literally "hairy amaranth", from the Nahuatl huauhtli 'amaranth' and tzontli 'hair'). Other variations of the name include huauhzontle, huanzontle, and guausoncle. It is related to other commonly-consumed plants such as quinoa, amaranth, and epazote, as well as the common American weeds goosefoot and lambsquarters. The plant grows upright branches with red tinted green leafy stems. Huauzontle stems superficially resemble baby broccoli, although the stems are much thinner, and support fewer of the leaves."
We also have this interesting information here from Wikipedia: "During the rule of Moctezuma, huauzontle and amaranth were the fourth most important crops, after maize, beans, and chia. Many towns paid tribute to the Aztec empire in huauzontle."
And, according to the same source, it's apparently not uncommon to mix this thing into pancakes, seasoned salads, eggs battered and deep fried, etc.
For those who are vegetarians, I imagine this is an interesting thing to try.
For everyone else, I'm going to say again that it didn't taste that good.
Next, we have the "dorilocos."
This is a street food snack that is popular in Mexico and can be found around Mexico City.
This food very much reminds me of when I was in high school where we all ate something called a "walking taco."
But this is not a walking taco (in fact, it doesn't taste as nice in my opinion).
Basically, you get a bag of doritos and fill it with a bunch of vegetables and sauce and whatever else.
Honestly, it's not the worst snack in the world.
I would try it again but I think it could be improved.
For example, I strongly think that adding some beef or whatever type of meat that would work best into this would improve it a lot.
There was some random cube-like vegetable they added into my last Dorilocos that you can see below that really didn't add much to the snack.
So I'd replace that specific vegetable with some type of meat.
On top of that, I think they would be better off mixing better the Doritos with the rest of the stuff they have inside.
Otherwise, you have the Doritos at the bottom of the bag and it would be a tastier experience to better mix it up.
Similar to other food items mentioned here, the "machete" is typical of more common Mexican food in that it represents another food item quite strongly: the quesadilla.
Here's a picture of one I ate not too long ago.
It very much reminded me of a quesadilla.
On top of that, when I was looking into new foods to try, I read online that the "machete" was supposed to be SO HUGE that I would have to basically be starving to eat the whole thing.
It's definitely bigger than a quesadilla but the one I purchased in the photo above was easy to finish without having to be THAT hungry.
Though, to be fair, I've also tried the "machete" on other occasions and the size of what you get does depend on the place.
Anyway, the one you see in the photo above consisted of chicken, lettuce, cheese, cream and red salsa.
While being very similar to a quesadilla, I quite liked the "machete" A LOT more than actual quesadillas.
Much tastier and highly recommended.
The "tlacoyo" as you see in the photo below was a bean style tlacoyo.
It very much reminded me of the huarache and, if I had to guess, is probably some cousin of it.
Despite being similar to the huarache, I found it stood on its own and was also very tasty.
It involved bean, cheese, cream and supposedly "nopales" but I didn't find any "nopales" on it.
Anyway, it was delicious.
I probably wouldn't eat it as a meal in of itself unless they put some type of meat on it (like chicharron).
However, if I was to have an appetizer to split it in half with someone, I'd pick this as something suitable for that.
Not really sure how to describe this type of food beyond sharing a picture of it.
The one you see in the photo above included chicken.
While it was a little bit burnt as you can see, it wasn't terrible in taste.
But, even if not slightly burnt, I don't think I would ever find this type of food overly appealing.
Mostly because the other ingredients didn't work well together in my opinion (WAY too much onion).
It had so much onion that I'm almost surprised they don't call this thing a "Cebolladilla."
While not a terrible thing to try out, the food itself was just not overly tasty nor memorable. It wasn't bad to try but not something that would make me overly excited to try it again.
For those who don't know, there's some black object thing made out of volcanic stone that is used to serve food with in Mexico.
It's known as a molcajete.
Basically you put take the molcajete when it's hot as fuck and thrown in whatever type of meat you prefer, cactus stuff, onions, cheese and salsa with tortillas placed on the side.
The meat I chose when trying this out was chorizo.
And, because I usually prefer eating at home, I had this food ordered to take home with me.
For that reason, they basically gave me each food item (the meat, the onions, the cactus thing, the molcajete, etc) separately for me to put it all together myself.
Though, because I was taking it home, they obviously gave me a molcajete made out of plastic and not volcanic stone.
You can see it below here.
Note: The picture above is a tiny bit incomplete. I didn't add the salsa nor all of the meat just yet but it gives you an idea of what it would kinda look like.
While making it, I tried to follow instructions and photos online as to how to "reconstruct it" and put it together like you'd normally see it in a restaurant.
Above is how I made it (right before placing the onions and the salsa inside).
Honestly, the food itself was very tasty (never tried cactus before and didn't know I would like it).
The chorizo and cheese were done well.
Obviously, my "putting it together" doesn't make it look as appetizing as what you'll see in photos and videos online done by professionals.
Still, I tried!
Well, the food was only worth 4 bucks.
And, while I enjoyed it, I did think to myself in the end that this is more of a type of food that you eat in a restaurant instead of taking out.
That way the presentation looks more professional instead of having you put it back together.
Even while putting it together, I wondered to myself "why am I putting all of this into the molcajete when I can just throw it onto the tortillas to begin with?"
Really just seems like extra steps to eating.
And, on top of that, I didn't see much difference between this and tacos.
Sure, in Mexico, tacos often come with cilantro and this didn't have cilantro.
But it has the tortillas, cheese, meat and salsa.
And it has onions (though they aren't chopped up).
So just replace the cilantro with cactus stuff.
A "cactus and meat" taco?
Another one of those "basically just a taco" meals in Mexico (despite the very nuanced differences that only a few and few foreigners could care about).
Having said that, it was tasty and I would eat it again but only if I was eating it in a restaurant while sitting down and not taking it home with me.
On the surface, it feels like this is more of a "presentation" food really.
Meaning that the presentation of it is a large part of its value.
Like when you order a fajita back home and it comes with sizzling and making lots of noise and all that smoke and you feel like you are getting A REAL MEAL HERE.
If I ever ordered a molcajete in a restaurant (and assuming it came out like I see online), then I'd imagine it'd be a nice presentation also that you don't get with every meal.
Otherwise, I'm not sure why I'd eat this again and not just go for a taco (unless I REALLY REALLY wanted to eat a cactus again).
Anyway, it was worth trying, was very tasty and I would probably order this again but only while sitting down in a restaurant.
Concha de Vainilla
The first time I ever heard of "concha" was in a Mexican restaurant back in my hometown in Iowa.
A Latina woman who was working there that I hadn't met before asked me if I had tried concha before.
I genuinely didn't know what she was talking about.
Back then, my understanding of "concha" meant pussy.
That's how I learned the word.
So I was confused when this Latina gal was asking me if I have tried "concha" before.
But, to be fair, it wouldn't be the first time that a Latina has asked me about my interest in concha.
They offer me conchas all the time!
Though, in this circumstance, she was talking about a different concha than what I was familiar with.
You can a picture of it below.
It's basically a desert.
Since then, I've tried it before and, for purposes of this article, tried it again so I can take my own picture of it for you all.
But, if I'm being honest, I wouldn't eat this normally.
It doesn't taste bad.
It's just that I don't always go for sweet things.
And it's like an Oreo in my experience where you want to eat the sweet stuff on top but then lose interest in eating the less sweet bread portion of it.
But some sweet things I like more than others. Some of them included in this article.
"Concha" is just OK to my tastes.
Arroz con Leche
It's not very unique to Mexico even though plenty of countries have their own style that they add to it.
Still, regardless of the nuances surrounding how it is made in Mexico versus other countries (and I couldn't tell you as I didn't try it until I arrived to Mexico), it is still a common dessert in the country.
I enjoy it but don't care for it much.
Here's a picture of one I had recently.
This is another thing you can try in Mexico that serves well for after a meal.
It tastes pretty sweet.
And it is known as Garibaldi.
Here's a quick description with more information here on the origins of the Garibaldi:
"Este pan “fue un invento de mi abuelo, porque él era fanático de Giuseppe Garibaldi, gran revolucionario italiano del siglo XIX, por eso se llama así”, cuenta Alberto en la sala del hotel Dos Casas, en San Miguel de Allende"
I'm going to run through quickly here the next 6 desserts that you'll find in Mexico because they're not that interesting.
In fact, many of them didn't actually come from Mexico but were brought over to Mexico over its history.
Still, you'll find them commonly enough offered in Mexican restaurants to try and so I'll mention them here.
First, we have the cuerno below.
The cuerno is OK. I wouldn't eat it again.
Rebanada con Granillo
Then we have the rebanada con granillo.
It's OK also.
Basically just a piece of bread with some sweetness all over it. I think they have variations of this if I'm not mistaken.
Not the worst thing in the world. I like it.
The oreja is OK. I wouldn't try it again.
Tranza con Maple
The tranza con maple is actually pretty good. Recommended.
Piedra de Nuez
This is pretty good also. Recommended.
The bigote is OK. I wouldn't eat it again.
De La Rosa Mazapán
This is a small little candy that you can buy around Mexico.
Easy to find at street spots selling candies, chips or whatever else.
At some of your local corner stores too.
I enjoy it.
The only thing about it that I don't like is that it seems to make a mess and fall apart easily.
Other then that, it's cool.
Very cheap too.
Though it's been over a year since I bought one, I last remember them selling for somewhere between 5 to 9 pesos depending on the size.
Here's a photo.
Mixiote de Cerdo
This is basically a small bag full of pork.
It comes with some side nopales.
Though I thought the portion size of what I got seemed a tiny bit small, I enjoyed it.
They also included a side of tomato sauce for whatever reason. I tried the mixiote de cerdo without it and then dumped some of the tomato sauce on top of it.
Tasted slightly nicer actually with the tomato sauce.
Here's a photo.
This is basically a mix of what molletes and chilaquiles are.
Grab some brad, throw some bean stuff on it, add some red salsa (mine wasn't very spicy), some cheese and some chips.
Very fucking tasty.
I'd definitely eat this again.
Arroz a La Mexicana
Not a meal in of itself but easy to find in Mexico and include as a side to whatever else you are eating.
Personally, I strongly prefer this type of rice over any other rice out there.
Even though most Mexican spots I've been to don't offer it, they are easy to find at supermarkets and there are plenty of restaurants that do serve this.
I find that they serve it more -- at least in my experience -- with the chile relleno de queso.
Here's a picture.
This is a common enough snack offered at plenty of restaurants.
Roasted onions basically.
Though I don't care for onions very much (outside of caramelized onions for my hamburgers), I actually enjoyed these "cebollitas asadas" a little more than what I was expecting.
They were not amazing but not bad either.
Actually do serve as a decent snack before a big meal.
Here's a photo.
If you look this up, you might find a very different food item made in Ecuador like I have seen.
Still, Mexico seems to have its own version of "encebollado" than what you might find in other countries.
Basically, as you can read here, there's this meal from Hidalgo in Mexico that involves "steak and onions."
It's steak and onions.
I remember living in the capital of Hidalgo, Pachuca de Soto, and trying "encebollado" on a few occasions with their steak and onions.
Since I left Hidalgo, I haven't had it since until today when I found a restaurant offering it on Uber Eats.
A difference though is that the place I found offering it has options to replace the steak with other meat options like chicken, pastor, etc.
So I had one of pastor as you can see here.
For some odd reason, they gave me tortillas with it. Didn't use them. Not needed.
With tortillas, they're basically tacos.
It's not an overly creative meal but it's tasty and worth a try.
In Mexico, there's no shortage of ways that Mexicans will try to throw napoles into their food.
For example, I've had it served in my molcajete before.
As you can see in the picture below, you can also order them as a snack before a meal just by themselves.
When you do that, some places will offer cheese on top of the "nopal asado."
Maybe a taco de nopal also? I've seen that also!
Or thrown into a salad.
Among many other things that nopales are used in.
Because of this, they deserve a mention on their end in my opinion.
Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of nopales.
I don't think it tastes bad. It's just "OK" based on what I enjoy eating.
But, if you add something like chorizo or chicken to it, it does become something I enjoy eating more.
Here's a picture of some I've had recently.
And, for those curious, we have an example here of how they are integrated into other meals.
Specifically, this is a "nopal divorciado con frijoles."
Tacos de Piña
It's not a real taco.
But it's something I have seen before on a few occasions in Mexico City and so I ordered it.
More of a dessert with some pineapple taste to it obviously.
Was OK to try.
The other day, I saw someone across the street in Iztapalapa sell one of these.
It seems to be some light street food snack where they take some jicama and throw some powder on top of it.
Not spicy at all.
To me personally, Jicama tastes like something between a potato and an apple.
It's apparently a Mexican turnip.
OK to try.
Can get very messy though.
When I tried eating it on the rooftop, it melted so quickly I had to go back downstairs to eat it and my hands looked like they were covered in blood.
This is a dessert from Yucatan of Mexico.
It's basically like a crepe rolled into a taco filled what various ingredients.
I ordered mine with some pepperoni and cheese.
Very delicious. Highly recommended.
This is another type of dessert from the Mexican state of Michoacan.
Was OK to try.
This is something you will find not just in Mexico but in other Latin American countries too.
I figured I'd include it as it's common enough here in Mexico as a dessert.
Worth trying. I like it.
I find it hard to explain this one.
They were VERY fucking tasty.
Absolutely would eat again.
Basically, it came across like a taco but make the tortilla entirely out of cheese?
It is very cheesy.
I had my last one with pastor or chorizo if I remember right (the one in the photo below).
The Chicharrón Family
Similar to nopales, you notice that Mexicans love inventing meals or snacks involving chicharron.
For example, before you have a meal, perhaps you'll have some "chicharron crujiente."
Perhaps you'll have some "chicharron prensado" afterwards.
Or, as you'll see in the next photo, maybe you'll have "chicharron en salsa verde."
Among other snacks or meals that Mexicans include chicharron into!
Personally, I find chicharron to be OK.
It's not amazing but it tastes fine.
But let's get into a quick snack that is popular down here.
Chicharrón de Queso
This is a snack you have before a bigger meal I find.
Just a rolled up thing made of cheese.
Mine came with chorizo on top of it.
Here's a picture.
Basically, I was given some soup with a bunch of meat inside it.
It comes from Jalisco anyway.
It was very tasty. I would say I enjoyed it almost as much as I do cochinita pibil (which we'll cover soon).
You can add this meat also to plenty of other items like tacos for example.
In my neighborhood, you can find plenty of people selling this stuff on the street on Sunday.
Definitely worth buying.
So, as I said, there are various food items in Mexican cuisine that add birria to them.
Here's an example of one called "quesabirria."
According to Wikipedia here, here is a description of the food: "Mexican dish comprising birria-style cooked beef folded into a tortilla with melted cheese and served with a side of consommé for dipping. Eater has described quesabirria as "a cross between a taco and a quesadilla." The dish, which has origins in Tijuana, Mexico, gained popularity in the United States through Instagram."
I agree strongly with the description of it being a mix between a taco and a quesadilla.
Anyway, there were only two places I could find in my general area with Uber Eats that serves this food.
I got the ones from the better rated place.
Anything with birria is worth it.
The only things I wish were different about this food are:
1. It come in a bigger portion size. For the price I paid (8 bucks), I could've gotten more birria meat if it had came in a stew like in one of the photos above.
2. While I'm not normally one to call for my salsa to be spicier, I wish the red consommé had at least some spice to it. It was not spicy at all. The food would taste better with some spice to it.
Overall, it was good though. Next time I try this, I'll at least hopefully have some red salsa nearby and maybe add some side dish to it like "arroz a la mexicana" or whatever.
Tasty either way. Worth a try.
Here we have birria used with chilaquiles.
You already know what birria is and what chilaquiles are.
So it's easy to understand.
Worth trying. I liked it.
While I'm normally not into vegan foods, I did come across a restaurant near me that serves some specific types of Mexican food I don't see commonly in Mexican restaurants in CDMX.
The next four food items that I will show you came from this restaurant.
The first one is the garnacha (where the one in the photo below is apparently of Veracruz style).
Here's a description of it here:
"Garnachas in Veracruz are made with shallow-fried corn tortillas topped with a red salsa made with spices and different garnishes. For these vegan garnachas we will use potatoes as toppings, and I am sure you and your family will enjoy them!"
The restaurant description of the item was the following: "Cuatro piezas. Tradicional garnacha veracruzana con salsa roja, yaca y queso vegetal."
All around, I enjoyed it.
When I was eating it, I noticed a VERY small spice to the taste but it was barely noticeable.
It was also a bit sweet.
I wouldn't eat it again though unless it came with some type of meat but I'd recommend it for sure for those who are vegans or whatever.
Next, we have the picadita.
Here is a definition of it below for you:
"Picaditas or picadas is a Mexican popular snack consisting of a thick corn tortilla with pinched sides topped with salsa, onions, and cheese. The name comes from the word picar which can be translated as 'pinched' due to the border made along the edges by pinching the dough."
As you can tell, the picaditas I was given (and they look the same as the ones advertised on the website of the restaurant) don't look the same as the description above.
Nor do they look the same as the picaditas you'll find on Google images.
The restaurant description of the item I got is the following: "Untada con frijoles refritos perfumados con hoja de acuyo y salteado de hongos en salsa tatemada y cremoso de aguacate."
Still, perhaps it's just another version of it suitable for their Vegan/Vegetarian audience.
Personally, I thought the ones I was given were a bit bland.
They didn't taste awful. Just bland.
Wouldn't try again (unless maybe it had that salsa and cheese but, even then, I don't think I'd care for it even based on that description).
Also, it reminded me a tiny bit of sopes.
What is a molote?
Here's a description of it.
"Molotes (the food) are a common street food, found in Oaxaca during Easter and Christmas time. They are made with a disk of fresh masa then usually filled with a chorizo and potato filling, fried, then topped with salsa, crema, queso fresco, and garnished with sliced radishes."
As you can tell, I again have been bamboozled.
The molotes in the photo below do not resemble what you find online nor the description in the quote above.
Given they are more of a vegetarian style from Oaxaca (according to the website of the restaurant),obviously there are some differences.
The restaurant description of their molote is the following: "Molote de platano macho maduro, relleno de hojas de la chinampa, champinon y chile seco, sobre mole de la "costa."
Anyway, there obviously was no chorizo filling.
It definitely was not fried.
The food you see in the picture below was more mushy.
It was also very sweet and actually very tasty.
Not the most authentic molotes out there if I had to guess but I suppose it's some weird vegetarian version of it.
Well, the ones I got were.
I actually did enjoy these quite a bit and would serve as a decent snack.
For once, the vegetarian restaurant finally gave me something that kinda resembles the food you see in Google images.
The tetela is another food item that you can find in Mexico.
They ended up -- for whatever reason -- giving me some mole sauce and I dumped it all over the tetela.
Which was very much needed because the food -- without the mole -- is VERY bland based on what I was given from this specific vegetarian restaurant.
I wouldn't try it again.
Here's a description of it though:
"Tetelas are a sort of triangular empanada or quesadilla that predates the Spanish conquest of Mexico. They are made from corn masa and filled with only a few ingredients, usually beans, herbs and cheese."
And here is the description of the item by the restaurant I got it from: "Tradicion de la cocina oaxaquena, envuelta en hoja de acuyo, acompanada de queso y crema (vegetal) y mole negro de Oaxaca."
Next, we have "frijoles charros."
I thought this was OK but it seemed like a less tasty cousin of the frijoles de la olla.
I would rather have that or even jugo de carne than this again.
It wasn't terrible but I just didn't care for it.
Cazuela was not actually invented in Mexico but you can find versions of cazuela that differ by country across the Spanish speaking world.
Anyway, I ordered the cazuela and had it delivered to my apartment.
Similar to the molcajete, I think I made a mistake here by not just eating it in the restaurant.
I feel it's one of those items you can't have delivered to you because then it looks even more different than what you see online.
Apparently it's supposed to come in a a very special pot as you can read here.
"Cazuela is both a very special type of South American stew and the very special pot in which it is cooked."
Similar to how the molcajete comes with its own presentation (at least from how I understand it trying it and reading about it briefly).
Outside of the lack of pot I was given, it also doesn't seem to be very much like a stew.
I get there are various ways of making cazuela so maybe I got some very weird looking one that is authentic to some random area.
Anyway, the one you see in the photo above is what they gave me and it looks like the one in the pictures on their website so I'm positive that they didn't mess up my order.
Which, when you look at it in the picture advertised, it does look a tiny bit more like a real cazuela. So, similar to the molcajete, it really just might be one of those items you got to eat in the store for the more proper appearance.
It is what it is.
Was it good?
It was alright.
I wouldn't eat it again and, if these things actually do come in stews, I'd probably be less likely to given I don't usually go for a stew.
These are just bits of chile that you can find in Mexico at different restaurants.
I decided to order some just because I've seen these in plenty of menus over the last few months close to where I live.
While I have less tolerance for spicy stuff, I didn't find it overly spicy at first when I took a bite out of a small piece.
A hint of spiciness but not crazy.
Then I eat four at once and my mouth exploded into a fire.
If you got higher tolerance for spiciness, I could see this being an OK snack before a meal because the taste was fine.
Guacamole & Aguacate (Avocado)
Who doesn't know what guacamole and avocado are?
Essential parts of Mexican cuisine.
Need little explanation.
The only thing I'll add here is the distinction between them since some people might get confused.
Here's a definition I found online.
"While avocado has no additives and is consumed in its natural state, guacamole is mixed with other seasonings such as pepper, onions, tomatoes, and salt, based on an individual's preference. This explains why there are many guacamole recipes."
And I enjoy them.
Similar to some other items on this list, this is a common "mini snack" item you see served in a few restaurants down here.
Often served "asado" or "fresco."
You can eat it alone all by itself or have it come with other ingredients.
Either is fine in my experience.
Here is an example of a "queso panela a la Mexicana."
At the same time, it's obviously used in various Mexican dishes as well.
Above all though, it's just a white, fresh and smooth Mexican cheese that comes from pasteurized cow's milk.
Some also call it by another name known as "queso canasta."
The carnitas below are "de cerdo estilo Michoacan."
These were pretty good.
They included some salsa that I threw on.
They gave me some tortillas too but I didn't feel like using them to eat the carnitas.
This is some nasty ass shit.
I hated the menudo.
The red soup itself was actually tasty. I enjoyed that.
But I didn't enjoy the meat inside it.
It didn't taste bad whatsoever but there was something about it that made my body want to spit it back out.
And I'm not sure what it was.
But something about chewing on the meat included in this meal made my body almost feel like it was going to throw it up back out.
So I stopped eating it half way through.
Would never try again.
Consomé de Pollo
Sometimes called Caldo de Pollo (even though there is supposedly a slight difference between the two), this is basically just a Mexican version of chicken soup.
I don't think I've ever had chicken soup before this version because I generally never liked soup in my life.
They gave me some green pepper thing with my delivery on the side that I threw into the soup.
It was cool. The chicken tasted good. Soup was fine. Not something I'd order again because I don't care for most soups but it was cool.
And it is a very common item that you see in Mexican restaurants down here in CDMX. Not rare at all from what I've noticed.
Anyway, here's a picture of what I ordered.
This is a more traditional soup that you'll find in some restaurants in Mexico.
I remember finding bits of rice in mine, some chicken and a few other ingredients.
It tasted fine.
Nothing too exciting but I enjoyed it.
While I've said before that I would probably not try again most of the soups on this list (outside of maybe Carne en su Jugo for example), this is one other soup that I'd try again.
The problem I have with most soups is that most of them don't have enough meat and/or the taste is just boring.
It tastes fine but very boring to eat.
This is one soup where I can eat again and again and maybe even go out of my way to buy again.
It came with some avocado, chicken, carrot, cheese and maybe another ingredient or two.
They also gave me some lime but I didn't use it on my soup after giving it a quick taste test. I felt the lime would've make the taste less enjoyable.
Here it is.
Next we have the memela.
This kinda reminded me of a haurache but, for whatever reason, not as tasty.
The meat was fine.
It was something about the material that the ingredients were placed on that seemed a bit bland to me.
Personally, I wasn't much of a fan of this but it wasn't terrible.
Just not overly tasty.
Cafe de Olla
Regular readers of my blog might know that I'm not usually a fan of coffee.
Even though I like a bitter taste, coffee is just too bitter for me usually outside of some random brand of Colombian coffee that I enjoyed years ago.
Since then, I've never been able to find a cup of coffee that I could enjoy.
A specific style of coffee in Mexico known as Cafe de Olla is one that I do like.
I wouldn't go out of my way to drink it. I'm not that excited about it.
But, compared to most coffees out there, it's actually something that I liked.
Here's a picture of it.
Keep in mind though that I had it delivered to me by Uber Eats.
So it didn't come with the traditional earthen clay pot that you'd normally drink it in.
It's one of those items that, for the full experience, you have to drink it in the restaurant or make it at home and have the traditional pot to drink it from.
Next, we have this traditional drink from Oaxaca here.
Here's a description of the drink from here:
"Tejate [teˈxate] is a non-alcoholic maize and cacao beverage traditionally made in Oaxaca, Mexico, originating from pre-Hispanic times. It remains very popular among the indigenous Mixtec and Zapotec peoples, especially in rural areas. It is also very popular in Oaxaca and the surrounding regions. Principal ingredients include toasted maize, fermented cacao beans, toasted mamey pits (pixtle) and flor de cacao (also known as rosita de cacao). These are finely ground into a paste. The paste is mixed with water, usually by hand, and when it is ready, the flor de cacao rises to the top to form a pasty foam. It can be served as-is or with some sugar syrup to sweeten it. The drink is served cold."
It is a little bit sweet in my experience and has a taste and smell that reminds me of coffee.
I enjoyed it.
I could see myself ordering this again on an occasion like agua de horchata.
Pan de Elote
This is basically just Mexican cornbread.
Doesn't need much of an explanation.
I enjoyed the one I got in the photo.
I wouldn't normally eat this or buy it again unless it was being served in one of those morning hotel buffets.
Anyway, as you can see here, apparently it was invented in Mexico even though you can find it in many countries.
"El pan de elote es un sencillo y sabroso postre originario de México, pero que se elabora en muchos países de América Latina. Hay tantas versiones como nombres: pastel de choclo y chipa guazú; Johnny cake, en el Caribe o cornbread, en Estados Unidos."
Huevos a la Mexicana
I don't always eat eggs unless I include some type of meat with it like bacon.
Usually I need some type of meat included to enjoy them more.
However, in this case, "huevos a la Mexicana" was pretty nice.
The little bits of chile and everything else did give it more taste that made it enjoyable.
I wouldn't eat this though again unless I was at a hotel and they were serving it in the morning.
Otherwise, for more of a morning meal, I'd probably go straight for the chilaquiles or something.
Here are the huevos divorciados.
They were OK.
Tastier than they look (obviously, like other food items here, they won't always look as good when delivered by Uber versus having them in the restaurant).
Still, you get the idea.
You get two eggs where one of them has a red sauce and the other has a green sauce with some bean and chip stuff in between.
Similar to the "huevos divorciados", these huevos rancheros I got were also a bit sloppy in how they were made.
First, they did include the tortilla but they didn't put the eggs on the tortilla. I had to grab the eggs and put them on myself as that is part of what makes them "huevos rancheros."
Second, it did come with some salsa but not very much.
So, similar to "huevos divorciados," I simply didn't pick the right place to try them.
Though I also did order from the place 10 minutes before they closed so that could explain why they were so sloppy in how they made the "huevos divorciados" and "huevos rancheros."
It's actually almost comical how disgusting they look in the photos above. I could order some new ones from somewhere else but I'm not going to spend the money because I genuinely don't care for these two meals.
Having said that, they did taste OK.
Knowing what the ingredients are and having tried "huevos rancheros" and "huevos divorciados" at other restaurants that are nicer, I can say I know these items well enough.
And that, on a typical day, I wouldn't normally eat them.
They don't taste bad (and the ones in the pictures do taste OK) but they just don't fit what I enjoy in a meal.
Here's a video that shows a better looking version of them.
But let's get to some eggs that I do enjoy and would eat regularly.
Out of all the Mexican egg meals I've tried, this one is the best.
It has chorizo as you can see and some peppers that, at least in my case, were not spicy at all but still had some decent taste to them.
This is definitely something I'd eat regularly.
Based on the name, I'm guessing these eggs are supposed to be typical of Toluca, Estado de Mexico.
Anyway, they very much resemble a lot what the "Huevos Veracruz" were that I was given.
Main difference, based on what I was given, seems to be that the "huevos toluqueños" have Oaxaca cheese on them and come with "chiles toreados" instead of "rajas poblanas." I've also seen other places put aguacate next to the "huevos veracruz."
You can see it here.
Anyway, it really wasn't much different than the "huevos veracruz" in terms of taste.
Both were very similar in my experience and very tasty.
Huevos al Albañil
Next, we have another egg dish that you can see here.
Basically, it's eggs with some green sauce on it.
Not very spicy at all but it did have a tiny bit of spice to it.
It was OK. Very basic and not as exciting to eat.
These are OK. Not really worth dying for nor the best egg meal from Mexico.
I wouldn't try them again but they were not bad. Just didn't care for them.
One of my favorite egg meals from Mexico.
Absolutely worth it.
Basically these are "drowned eggs."
Similar to the other ahogado items mentioned on this list but "drowned."
I wouldn't try them again as I don't really like Mexico's concept of "drowning" the food.
I often think it makes it less tasty.
Huevos con Mole
Here are eggs but with mole sauce.
Gorditas de Huevo
Basically just gorditas made out of egg with whatever you prefer eating inside (I think I had bacon with these).
Tasty. Go try them.
Lomitos de Valladolid
Supposedly, this food idea came from Valladolid, Yucatan.
Though what I was given doesn't look the same or as good as the pictures of what you'll find online when researching it.
Here's a picture of what I was given.
Apparently the meat was supposed to come with more sauce (what looks like something red online) but I was given some green sauce as you can see to dump on the meat.
Anyway, it's apparently a bunch of little pork cubes, put in a sauce and some other ingredients.
They gave me rice and beans on the side.
Was honestly not a bad meal despite how bland it looks. The meat tasted fine anyhow.
This is another food item from the Yucatan.
I found a nearby restaurant that serves food from the Yucatan here in Mexico City so that explains the focus here on food from that region.
Anyway, this food supposedly has Mayan roots.
It came with chicken on the inside and a bunch of other ingredients.
And the texture of the stuff holding it all together reminded me of a tamale.
For whatever reason, it basically came across like a tamale sandwich.
Here's a picture of it.
Another food item from the Yucatan!
This is very easy to describe: it's basically "tacos dorados" with "carne de puerco" in tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Tasty and I quite liked it.
However, as discussed later in this article, it's a good example of how some Mexican food items can be small as fuck.
I was surprised at how little they gave me but generally that is the case whenever I order "tacos dorados" in most places in Mexico.
And we have another thing to try from the Yucatan!
It's supposedly one of the signature dishes of the Yucatan according to Wikipedia.
It really doesn't look nor taste too different from the "Lomitos de Valladolid" that I had before.
Here's a picture of it.
Similarly, online pictures of this look better than what I was given here in Mexico City.
One could argue that maybe, given that I am in Mexico City, what I was given is not as typical with what you'd get if you were in the Yucatan.
Though who knows -- maybe the owners of these Yucatan restaurants I'm finding in Mexico City are from there or maybe they are not.
Regardless, I only say it looks different because online photos I'm seeing include aguacate and mine didn't include that.
Perhaps it's not too important.
Otherwise, it looks very similar to what I was expecting based on what I read online.
Yeah, it was fine.
Just like the Lomitos de Valladolid, I liked it but wasn't crazy about it.
"The Food Inside Your Tortas"
This isn't really a unique Mexican food to try but it is something you might notice here in Mexico City and maybe in other parts of Mexico.
That is the practice of putting some random food item like a taco or chilaquiles inside the torta itself.
Some weird mixing of the two.
For example, I ordered recently a "torta de chilaquiles" as you can see here.
It tasted OK. I liked it. Something I'd probably try again.
Similarly, I've heard of places in Mexico offering "tortas de tacos" where they put tacos in the torta obviously.
Haven't seen those in real life but I've seen videos of them.
Here's a video of what I'm talking about.
Machaca is basically a traditionally dried meat like spiced beef or pork.
Popular in Northern Mexico and Southwestern US.
I ordered some recently here in Mexico City and found that a vast majority of places near me only offer machaca when mixed in with eggs or whatever else.
Eggs being very common from what I've seen.
Similar to birria, I wanted to try machaca all by itself without mixing it in anything but couldn't find anything quick near me.
So here is what I was given: machaca mixed in with eggs with some tortillas on the side.
In hindsight, I'm actually glad I ordered some side food with this because, similar to tacos dorados de pollo, I wasn't very content with the small portion size here.
Still, it tasted good. I liked it.
Here are the "migas norteñas."
Apparently they are more popular in the north of Mexico.
I had trouble finding them in Mexico City and could only find, as of this writing, one place offering them in Roma Norte in some cafe run by some women from Oaxaca or Chiapas (somewhere south).
I actually visited this place twice because, despite them saying they are open online on Sundays, they were not.
On the following Monday, they were open thankfully.
But, in typical Latin American fashion like I wrote about here, they didn't have literally 70% of the menu.
I think they could tell how much I died inside by my facial expression when I was going down the menu and asked them "do you have this? This? This? No? No? No?"
Deep down inside, I was thinking "FUCKING COCKSUCKER!"
Common is the detail down here when some random restaurant or cafe doesn't have half the fucking menu.
Genuinely makes you wonder how they stay in business and how, if I had the money, it'd be so easy to fucking out compete them.
Traveled all this way twice only to be told they don't have most of the new stuff I'm looking to try.
Well, I ordered some drink they had from Chiapas and wasn't mean about it.
But I do think the lady could tell I was hungry and was hoping to eat something.
While I'm enjoying the drink, one of them did offer to make "migas norteñas" but it'd only come with "Oaxacan cheese" as they were missing the "rajas de chile" and that's why they initially were hesitant to make it.
I said sure.
They included some green salsa on the side that I hadn't put on the food yet before I took this picture above.
Overall, it was good.
A friend of mine named Gino remarked how "it's basically nachos but with eggs, onions and some side bean stuff."
Looking back at it, I think he's right.
If you think about it, it is a lot like nachos!
Let's get to those next.
We all know what nachos are.
Apparently they were invented in Piedras Negras of Coahuila of Mexico.
I prefer them strongly with some type of meat thrown on top.
But there's nothing else to say -- who doesn't know what nachos are and who doesn't like them?
Next, we have the "tescalate chiapaneco."
Apparently, it's from Chiapas region of Mexico.
I got this at the same cafe where I ordered the "migas norteñas" that I mentioned before.
It can come with water or milk.
I ordered it with the water version.
It had a chocolate taste to it.
Not hot at all.
I liked it. Could try again.
This is a common drink you can find in Mexico City.
Where I live in my neighborhood, it's not hard to find someone selling it on the street.
It's basically a hot corn and masa based beverage apparently and it can come with various tastes depending on how you make it.
For example, chocolate atole is also known as champurrado.
Mine did taste like chocolate and was hot.
Tasty. Worth trying.
Apparently it's common to try during Day of the Dead and Las Posadas (Christmas holiday season).
While this was technically invented in Phoenix, Arizona, I am including it in this article here.
Mostly because it does have "Mexican-American" origins, is tasty as fuck and can be found easy enough in Mexico.
Not just in touristy areas but also non-touristy ones!
Don't think I found the one in the picture below in Polanco or Roma Norte.
I found it in Pedregal de Santo Domingo where no tourists are being catered to.
Absolutely worth eating.
The one in the picture below is also full of cochinita pibil.
Salbutes & Panuchos with Cochinita Pibil
Both from Yucatan area.
And they both look basically the same.
Main difference, from what I understand, is that the salbutes don't have refried beans inside the tortillas.
While I normally like beans, I kinda like the panuchos more.
Both came with cochinita pibil on top of them.
For those who don't know, cochinita pibil is a traditional Yucatec Mayan slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
Also something I strongly recommend you try in Mexico!
Anyway, when it comes to the salbutes and panuchos, they fill you up FAST to my surprise.
Ain't no fucking joke.
They look small but they fill me up quick.
Here's a picture of them.
Anyway, over the last month, I've been trying new foods from Mexico that I've never had before.
At this point, I'm basically just getting delivered to my house any "regional" food that is from somewhere else.
Some of the foods are OK tasting (not worth trying again) and some, like the food you see in the last photo, are FUCKING AWESOME.
Will definitely have this again.
As you saw in the last three food items, they were all full of "cochinita pibil."
As I said before, cochinita pibil is a traditional Yucatec Mayan slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
I'm including it separately in this article because of how tasty it is.
One of my favorite things from Mexico.
You can see it again in the food items of the last three photos and you can check out this video here on cochinita pibil.
Give it a try!
Espuma de Cacao
Next, we have some traditional drink from Mexico.
It was pretty foamy at first and has an OK taste.
Called "espuma de cacao."
Never tried it before but came across it at a feria de pan in Mexico City.
Here it is served with some pan de muerto (relleno de mole).
"Snacks in a Bag"
Here in Mexico City, you have no shortage of street vendors who either sit on the side with little "snacks in a bag" to offer or they have some little cart where you can ask for some snack and they'll weigh it and give you a price.
Be it chocolate, nuts, etc.
Not really what I would call "authentic Mexican food" perhaps (though maybe some would) but it is something popular enough that you'll see in Mexico City so it should be mentioned.
Here's an example of what I mean.
And here's an example of some I bought recently.
I know these have a more formal name than "snacks in a bag" but I forgot what they are called.
Anyway, if you live in Mexico City, I imagine you'll see vendors selling something like this eventually.
Mexican Soft Drinks
Next, we have little soft drinks that you can find in Mexico.
Some of them served in street food spots commonly enough to go with your torta, tacos or whatever you ordered.
Here are some examples of what I mean below: Boing, Sindral and Tepache.
As I combed though old photos of things I've eaten or had to drink in Mexico, I came across this photo here and figured I'd mention it.
....What is it?
Well, it's a type of alcoholic drink made in Mexico called Tonayan.
As you can read here, it supposedly has some dog piss in it (not sure how true that is).
"El tonayán es una bebida alcohólica mexicana. Es un destilado de caña de dudosa calidad, siendo su composición 70% alcohol (metanol), 20% tinte para cabello castaño claro, y 10% orina de perro. "
And can apparently make you blind if you drink too much of it (apparently to be fair).
"Esto es en realidad un mito a medias, pues al igual que el resto de bebidas alcohólicas de mayor calidad, degustar un trago de Tonayán o consumir algunos vasos preparados con dicho licor no te dejará ciego; sin embargo, su contenido etílico es tan alto que los expertos de la salud alertaron en 2017 que su consumo excesivo y por largos periodos de tiempo si podría causar efectos adversos como hemorragias cerebrales, las cuáles derivarían en una posible ceguera."
I had it once.
It's the cheapest alcoholic item you can find in Mexico (or that I have seen anyway).
Last time I bought it, it was like 30 pesos or something for a whole liter.
Cheap as fuck!
Well, it didn't make me go blind.
It didn't have much of a taste to it though (wasn't very strong).
Personally, I wouldn't drink it regularly because I don't know how true the "dog piss" rumor is but it wasn't terrible.
More of a "alcoholic homeless person" or "cheap college student" drink.
A little bit of a story about that here where a homeless man in Mexico City tried to help me find cheap liquor past the hours the city would sell it to me.
Anyway, if you are new to Mexico and want to try something alcoholic that all the fresas and fifis would cry in horror at, go for Tonayan!
....And if your vision goes bad afterwards, don't blame me!
And since we're now on the topic of liquor and alcohol, might as well go into vodka, right?
Of course, given this is Mexico, we could discuss mezcal and tequila.
Personally, I'm not a big fan of mezcal or tequila. I don't mind it but it's not my favorite to drink.
More into vodka, brandy, whiskey or rum.
And, when it comes to Mexican vodka, I'm a bit of an expert.
I've probably had more Mexican vodka in my life than your average Mexican that you know personally.
....And that's no fucking joke!
Especially if we are talking about cheap vodka brands like this one you can see here: Oso Negro.
To be fair, Oso Negro tends to have a bad reputation among Mexicans for being VERY nasty tasting.
In my experience, it is a bit nasty but -- in case you didn't know this -- the nasty taste tends to "become normal" and not so noticeable after you've had about 50 bottles of it.
....It gets better, I promise!
Speaking of vodka anyway, one thing you notice about Mexico is that they sell a special type of vodka you don't find as commonly elsewhere.
That is vodka "tamarindo."
It's basically "spicy vodka."
Actually, it doesn't taste very spicy at all. It just has a very weird taste to it that isn't very pleasant but tolerable.
Not recommended though.
....Of course, leave it to Mexico to try to make "spicy vodka."
Next, we have two versions of Mexican brandy: El Presidente & Don Pedro.
We also have different brands of beer you can find commonly in Mexico. I don't have photos of most of them but I've tried various types like Indio, Tecate, Corona, Victoria, Sol and whatever else.
Here's one picture of Sol that I have anyway.
Furthermore, we also have two common alcoholic drinks you'll find in Mexico: Michelada & Cerillito.
You can see them here.
Basically, they are both beers with some sugary shit sprinkled around the top.
The main difference seems to be that, at least in my experience, michelada tends to come without the beer can and also you add some additional taste to the beer itself.
For example, I had the "clamato" version of michelada in the photo you see above which is basically tomato tasting.
Very tasty actually.
Finally, there are some Mexican foods that I will never try.
Simply because the ingredients are something I know I wouldn't want to.
For example, if I had known that I would hate Menudo as much as I did, I wouldn't have tried it.
Outside of that, there are some food items in Mexican cuisine that I know, without even having to try them, that I won't like.
But, given they tend to come up in discussions about Mexican cuisine, I'm going to at least mention them for those curious.
It basically boils down to anything of the following:
1. Anything that is a fish (I don't eat fish whatsoever).
2. Anything with bugs.
3. I generally don't like eating meat off the bone and, if I ever saw a meal in Mexico where the meat has to be eaten off the bone, I'm not going to try it.
So, with that said, what are some examples of Mexican foods that might include some of the above?
Well, for starters, you have those with bugs like the following:
4. Sal de Gusano
When it comes to fish, you have obvious examples like Baja Fish Tacos that I've heard about.
You also have fish food items from Riviera Nayarit like ceviche, pescado zarandeado, etc.
At any rate, I just wanted to acknowledge that there are certain foods (fish and bugs primarily) that I purposefully left out of this article because I'm never going to eat them.
But I felt like I should at least mention them since they are brought up in discussions about Mexican cuisine.
Let's move on.
So What Mexican Food Do I Like the Most?
Finally, let's wrap this up by mentioning what are my favorite foods out of all of the ones mentioned in this article.
Basically, in no particular orders (depends on the day), my favorite Mexican foods are the following:
And which ones would I probably not try again?
2. Queso fundido
3. Burritos (not actually sure how Mexican or tex-mex this one is but regardless I do see it sold down here in non-touristy areas).
4. Pan de Muerto
6. Sopes (I don't dislike sopes but I don't see the reason to eat them when you got better food items that seem similar and better like tostadas).
8. Pozole (it was tasty as I said but I just don't like having soup).
As I said, this list is just a very basic introduction to Mexican food.
You will find so much more diversity when you compare foods from different states of Mexico like you would in any country.
Certain food items that are just more common in certain areas and not as common elsewhere.
Either way, this list includes primarily foods that I happen to have pictures of and have eaten in my specific part of Mexico (Mexico City).
While Mexico City does have so many regional food offerings given it is the capital, obviously there is a large abundance of Mexican food items that are harder to find in this city than in specific pockets of the country.
Also, there were other limitations to doing this article.
For one, I don't eat fish and don't like soup much as I said. So obviously any food items with fish (and Mexico has plenty of solid ones from what I've heard) and many other soup items didn't make this list because I wasn't going to eat them.
Mexico also has some food items that involve bugs and uhhhh....
I. WILL. NOT. EAT. THE. BUGS.
And the food you saw in the list really reflects a lot of street food and also food from Uber Eats as I got to the point of just ordering whatever regional food item that isn't as common in the city to my door.
Anyway, I will agree ahead of time that obviously this list, like I said, could include so many more food items from other states but I'm only writing on anyway what is available to me in the streets down here of Mexico City.
Over time before I get traveling again, I'll make sure to update this list with more food items that I can find out there.
And, on top of that, if there is some dish in Mexico not mentioned here that you really like, let me know in the comments.
Perhaps I'll get around to trying and post a picture of it here (just make sure it's not fish or soup based because I never eat fish and I've had enough soup after trying the few in this list).
Would love to hear it and maybe I'll get around to trying it out.
Anyway, thanks for reading.
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