Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (2023)

Food from Mexico is enjoyed across the world. Mexican dishes smell and taste amazing. A colourful array of fresh ingredients combine to provide just the right amount of freshness, sourness and heat. Below is a list of Mexican food which includes 21 popular Mexican food dishes.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (1)

21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes

Before you travel, it’s good to know something about basic Mexico food names, so check out some of our favourite Mexican foods.

1. Burritos

Burritos are large flour tortillas which are generously filled with various ingredients. These could include beans, fish, meat, cheese, cooked rice, guacamole and salsas.

The tortilla is rolled and the ends folded to contain the filling. They can be picked up to eat but a knife and fork may be required!

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (2)

2. Ceviche

Ceviche is a really fresh seafood dish which is refreshing to eat in the heat. Fresh raw fish is cured in citrus juices (lemon or lime). Spice is then added. For example, aji sauce (tomatoes, cilantro, hot peppers and onions), chilli peppers, chopped onions, salt and coriander.

This dish must be eaten fresh. Prawn ceviche is my favourite. Tortillas are often served to accompany this popular Mexican dish.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (3)

3. Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles are a popular breakfast dish. On the bottom, you will find quarters of lightly fried corn tortillas. Green or red salsa is then poured over them (red salsa is spicier). On top of the salsa, scrambled or fried eggs are added along with chicken, cheese and cream!

A serving of frijoles (refried beans) may also accompany this Mexican dish.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (4)

4. Churros

Churros are a Mexican food most popular as a dessert. They can also be a delicious snack often sold by Mexican street food vendors.

Churros are made of a fried pastry dough. They are usually coated in a cinnamon and sugar mixture. You can eat them plain or with a variety of sweet extras (chocolate, caramel or perhaps whipped cream).

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (5)

5. Elote

Elote is another popular food in Mexico. This Mexican dish is corn on the cob which is boiled, then served on a stick. Different ingredients are then added like salt, butter, chilli powder, lime, cheese, mayonnaise or soured cream.

Similar to Churros, Elote are another popular Mexican street food snack.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (6)

6. Enchiladas

Enchiladas date back to Mayan times. This Mexican food name literally means ‘in chilli’.

Corn or flour tortillas are filled with a combination of different ingredients. For example, meat, seafood, cheese, beans or vegetables. The tortillas are then rolled or folded around the filling.

The stuffed Enchiladas are then covered in a chilli sauce (red or green salsa). Crumbled or grated cheese, soured cream and coriander may also be added to the top.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (7)

7. Guacamole

Of course, guacamole is a very famous Mexican food. This verdant green mixture actually dates back to the Aztecs.

Guacamole is made from mashing together a combination of avocados, tomatoes, onions, chilli peppers, lemon juice and coriander.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (8)

8. Huevas Divorciados

Huevas Divorciados means ‘divorced eggs’ in Spanish. We first ate this traditional Mexican dish whilst backpacking around the Yucatan peninsula. It is typically served at breakfast.

(Video) The Top 10 BEST MEXICAN FOOD you must try - Best Mexican Dishes 2022

Huevas Divorciados starts with two fried eggs each on a separate tortilla. One friend egg is covered with green salsa and the other by a red salsa. The idea is that the sauces are separate (divorced!).

A wall of refried beans is put between them. Coriander and crumbled cheese is sometimes added.

If you are interested in our experience of travelling around the Yucatan peninsula, we definitely recommend that you read our post which is full of useful information.

9. Huevas Motulenas

Huevas Motulenas is another popular Mexican food tradition, particularly in the Yucatan peninsula.

For breakfast, two crispy tortillas are topped with black beans. Fried eggs are then added. Finally, this Mexican dish is topped with tomato sauce, ham, peas and cheese. It is often served with fried plantain (banana).

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (9)

10. Huevas Rancheros

Huevas Rancheros is a more simple version of Huevas Motulenas. Two crispy tortillas are topped with fried eggs and a mildly spicy tomato based sauce. This Mexican dish is sometimes served with refried beans or slices of avocado.

11. Margarita

Although this is a list of the most popular Mexican food, you can’t visit Mexico without drinking a Margarita. This cocktail is a popular Mexican drink. It’s made with tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice.

Margaritas are traditionally served with salt around the rim of a cocktail glass. You can drink them straight up (without ice), on the rocks (with ice) or frozen (blended with ice).

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (10)

12. Mezcal

Mezcal is also not a Mexican dish. However, it is the national spirit of Mexico.

Mezcal is a smoky liquor which is similar to Tequila. In fact, Tequila is a type of Mezcal. Mezcal is made from over 30 different types of agave or maguey plant. These plants are native to Mexico and other parts of South America.

We first tasted Mezcal on the idyllic Holbox Island. If you are planning a trip to Mexico, read our post before you plan your itinerary as you won’t want to miss Holbox Island!

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (11)

13. Mole

Mole is a rich sauce made from sautéed onions and garlic. It is then combined with spices, herbs, nuts and chillies, then simmered with dark chocolate.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (12)

14. Pozole

Pozole is one of the oldest Mexican food traditions. It is a traditional soup or stew. In the past, pozole was reserved for special occasions as the corn plant was considered sacred.

Pozole is made from hominy (dried corn kernels) and can be red, white or green. Traditionally, it is made with shredded pork but chicken and other meats/seafood can be used. Pozole is sometimes garnished with slices of lettuce, onion, radish, lime and coriander.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (13)

15. Quesadillas

The Mexican food name ‘quesadilla’ derives from the Spanish word for cheese which is ‘queso’. Quesadillas are like tacos but much bigger and folded in half. They are fried with melted cheese inside and a range of other optional fillings.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (14)

16. Taco

A taco is a filled corn or flour tortilla. They are small, folded tortillas with a choice of filling. There are plenty of different fillings to choose from.

Most stalls have a speciality filling such as ‘pastor’ (pork marinated in mild chilli pepper, onions and pineapple juice which is deliciously juicy) or ‘asada’ (steak grilled over charcoal). Additionally, you can choose from chorizo, carnitas (diced pork flavoured with orange rind) or shrimps.

Tacos are then topped with diced onion and coriander. Additional toppings can be added like spicy salsa, guacamole and lime.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (15)

17. Taco al pastor

Taco al pastor dates back to the 1920s. The Mexican food name ‘al pastor’ means ‘in the style of the shepherd’. Delicious thin strips of pork sliced off a spit are served on a corn tortilla. These tacos are served with onions, coriander leaves and pineapple.

(Video) Top 10 Mexican Foods To Die For | Best Dishes of Latin America | Mexican Cuisine

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (16)

18. Tamales

Tamales are pockets of corn dough which are filled with something sweet or savoury. They are then wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks and steamed. Fillings can include meats, cheeses, vegetables, chillies, mole and fruit. Remove the outside before you start eating!

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (17)

19. Tortas

Tortas are basically rolls which are cut in half to make thick sandwiches. You will be offered a range of fillings similar to Tacos.

Teleras are the base bread for the torta. Teleras are flat rolls with a soft texture inside and crispy crust on the outside. They are the staple bread for Mexican sandwiches.

We found that Tortas were very good for breakfast as they set you up for the day. This was our choice of Mexican street food whilst waiting in Valladolid for our bus to Chequila.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (18)

20. Tortilla

Tortillas are a versatile food in Mexico used in many Mexican dishes. They are flatbreads made from corn or flour dough. Corn tortillas are a distinctive yellow colour.

Tortillas can be used for many popular Mexican dishes including burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas and tacos.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (19)

21. Tostadas

Tostadas are corn tortillas which are deep-fried or baked until crispy. They can be served alone or with different toppings. Popular choices of garnishes are refried beans, cooked meat, seafood, cheese and ceviche.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (20)

Why is Mexican Street Food Popular?

Mexican street food is popular because it is cheap, tasty and widely available. In Mexico 58% of the population eat street food at least once a week regardless of their economic standing.

It is said that ‘food is the ingredient that binds us together’. Food in Mexico is a social affair. Mexicans enjoy coming together to eat street food.

Basically, Mexican street food is the original ‘fast food’. There is no waiting around, Your fresh food is cooked quickly in front of your eyes. This kind of popular Mexican food is found on many Mexico streets.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (21)

How can I Experience Authentic Mexican Food?

When we travel, we enjoy tasting different dishes in each country we visit. We prefer to eat with the locals and taste authentic, tasty and cheap food.

To experience authentic Mexican food in Mexico, look for Mexican street vendors or small cantinas. These vendors preserve ‘food culture’ (the food from Mexico) by passing original recipes from generation to generation.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (22)

Mexico street food varies slightly from region to region but the basics remain the same wherever you are. Whilst backpacking around the Yucatan peninsula, we enjoyed trying out traditional Yucatan food and learning about Mexican food traditions.

In general, Mexican street food is good quality and has plenty of flavour. Fresh corn wrapped Mexican food tastes completely different to the tortillas we can find in English supermarkets.

Is It Safe to Eat Mexican Street Food?

The simple answer is, yes, it is! If you want to eat like a local and have an authentic experience, then you should try the most popular Mexican food.

Of course, use your common sense. Ask yourself these questions as you look at the food stand:

  • Does the cooking area look clean?
  • Is the food being cooked fresh in front of you?

Don’t forget that the food is being cooked at high temperatures, so any harmful bacteria should be killed.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (23)

Another good sign is a queue of locals. If the locals are eating from the stall, then it is probably for a good reason. Often the queues contain people from local offices and shoppers, so the food should be tasty, quick and of a high quality.

(Video) The Top 10 Mexican Foods #Shorts

Remember to ask the sellers about what they recommend. Ask them for their list of popular Mexican food. In our experience, locals love to share their knowledge and passion for what they are selling. This is a great way of finding out about the most popular Mexican food.

If you are planning on visiting Mexico, click here for our informative post about safety in Mexico.

What is the Best Mexican Food on the Street?

Some of the best Mexican street snacks are tacos, quesadillas, curritos and tortas as described above.

Mexican street food is called ‘antojitos’ which means ‘little cravings’. It is prepared by independent vendors and sold from small stands on the street. Mexico street food varies from stall to stall, so take a good look at what is on offer as stalls are often clustered together.

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (24)

Mexican street food is not a formal meal and is usually based on corn products. You may think you’ve eaten these Mexican dishes in popular Mexican restaurant chains around the word, but nothing can compare to the flavours of authentic street food prepared by locals.

How Much Does Mexican Street Food Cost?

Mexican street food is extremely cheap. For around 20 Mexican Pesos (70p), you can eat small tacos. Order several and you will be full!

If you intend to spend time exploring Mexican cities and eating street food, check our our Travel Resources pagefor accessories to keep your money safe.

Where Can You Find a Mexican Street Food Vendor?

You can find Mexican street food vendors easily in the streets around markets and public transport depots. Another way to find them is by taking your time and wandering around a town or city.

In Cancun, we stumbled across a great street food stand with a team of welcoming people. This place is at the corner of Punta Nicchehabi and Avenue Yaxchilan between Mercado 23 and Mercado 28.

The stall was clean and the food was tasty. Also, the owner was happy to make recommendations. There were places to sit and the staff offered us more and cleared away. It was one of our cheapest, but tastiest meals!

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (25)

Final Thoughts

Are you usually anxious about trying out new foods? We hope that we’ve inspired you to try some popular Mexican dishes whilst you travel around Mexico.

If so, share your experience of eating famous Mexican foods by commenting below. We’d love to hear about your favourites!

Click here to read our article on backpacking in the Yucatan and to experience the Yucatan in pictures.

More Articles For You

Best Hotel in Holbox Island Mexico

How to Find the Best Hotel in Holbox Island Mexico? Finding the best hotel in Holbox can be difficult depending on the time of year you …

Read More

(Video) 21 Authentic Mexican Foods That Have Influenced Global Cuisine | Cultural Insights

Discover the Best Holbox Beach Mexico

Olivier De Winne 2 Comments

To discover the best Holbox beach is easy. On the island of Holbox, beaches are the main attraction. The Holbox beaches are just extraordinary and …

Read More

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes

Olivier De Winne 3 Comments

Food from Mexico is enjoyed across the world. Mexican dishes smell and taste amazing. A colourful array of fresh ingredients combine to provide …

Read More

Best Food in Mexico: 21 Popular Mexican Food Dishes (29)

Food AdventuresMexico

(Video) MEXICAN FOOD RECIPES COMPILATIONS RECIPES | Satisfying and tasty food| Over 2 hours of COOKING!!!

FAQs

What is Mexico's most popular food dish? ›

Tacos. Recognized as the most popular Mexican dish worldwide, the taco has become an art. Some say is the “art of eating with tortilla” and, of course, Mexicans would never deny a taco to anybody.

Why Mexican food is the best? ›

Rich and Healthy Food

Mexican food is popular because it's full of flavor. The Mexican dishes include healthy and fresh ingredients like avocados, beans, chiles, tomatoes and other vegetables, and different types of meat like beef, chicken, pork, and fish even rabbit, lamb, among others used in tacos, tamales or soups.

What is true Mexican food? ›

Burritos, chili con carne, chimichangas, hardshell tacos and enchiladas (as we know them in the U.S.), queso dip, nachos . . . all Tex-Mex. Even fajitas are a Tex-Mex invention (offered to tourists in Mexico now because so many Americans associate fajitas as authentic).

What do Mexican eat for dinner? ›

Food In Mexico
  • Enchiladas. This dish of Mexican cuisine is similar to tacos, but it differs by carrying a lot of cheese and being much spicier. ...
  • Fajitas. To make the authentic Mexican fajitas meat is prepared in tomato sauce, which is rolled in a corn or wheat tortilla. ...
  • Burritos. ...
  • Tacos. ...
  • Pozoles. ...
  • Empanadas. ...
  • Totopos. ...
  • Quesadillas.

What are six popular Mexican dishes? ›

Let's dive right in.
  • Calabacitas. Calabacitas Mexican Dish. ...
  • Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips. Mexican Fruit Salad. ...
  • Quesadillas. Traditional Mexican Quesadillas. ...
  • Tacos. Authentic Mexican Tacos. ...
  • Tamales. Sweet Tamales. ...
  • Rajas con Crema. Rajas con Crema. ...
  • Dorilocos. Popular Mexican Snack of Dorilocos. ...
  • Machetes. Mexican Machetes Dish.

Does Mexico have the best food in the world? ›

Mexico has the seventh best cuisine in the world, according to a 50-nation ranking compiled by the international food guide website TasteAtlas. Mexico was the only Latin American country in the top 10 of the June update of the culinary ranking released by TasteAtlas.

Is Burrito Mexican food? ›

The Origin of the Burrito

The burrito we all know and love today is a staple dish in Mexican-American cuisine. Although often considered a traditional Mexican food, the burrito's origins start in more recent times in Northern Mexico.

Is Mexican food safe? ›

Mexico, like many other countries, has safe parts and not so reliable parts. While some areas are considered to be generally low risk, other Mexican places are ones that we would never choose to even step foot in. Even in the nicest locales, people should take certain safety precautions, especially around their food.

Where is Mexican food popular in the world? ›

Popularity of Mexican cuisine 2018, by country

Around 86 percent of respondents in the United States reported liking the typical food from that Latin American country. Mexican cuisine also ranked high in the Philippines, Norway, and Finland, with the preference of at least eight every ten survey respondents.

Why is Mexican food special? ›

One of the main factors making Mexican food so irresistible, is that it is a blend of different cultures. Its distinct blend of spices, seasonings and vibrant colors create a beautiful presentation. Many of the traditional Mexican dishes still represent their deep, pre-hispanic origins, making them truly unique.

Are tacos real Mexican? ›

Tacos are thought to come from Mexico, long before the Spanish arrived. Ancient Mexicans used freshly made, soft, flat corn tortillas and gave them with fillings like fish and cooked organs. It was a staple meal that provided vital nutrients and energy to those who consumed it.

Is nachos a Mexican food? ›

Nachos were invented in Mexico, for Americans, by a Mexican! They originated in the small Mexican town of Piedras Negras in 1943 and were invented by restaurateur, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya. One day, when Nacho was without his chef, he needed to rustle up a quick snack for a group of US military wives who were in town.

What is a Mexican drink? ›

Top 11 Drinks to Try in Mexico
  • Tequila. Of all the popular shots in Mexico, tequila is the most famous, and it's found behind bars all over the world. ...
  • Mezcal. Mezcal is tequila's smoky cousin. ...
  • Raicilla. ...
  • Margarita. ...
  • Paloma. ...
  • Carajillo. ...
  • Craft Beers. ...
  • Michelada.

How many meals are in Mexico? ›

In Mexico it is customary to have three main meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, although this has been changing and now each family applies its own schedule, according to their work.

What do Mexican eat daily? ›

Mexicans drink lots of milk, like salty foods more than sweet foods, eat an average of 6 tortillas every day, and have a traditional domestic diet: soup, rice, and stew, without leaving out salsa and beans…

What's the most popular food in the world? ›

In a survey of 24 countries, pizza and pasta take the top spot – closely followed by Chinese and Japanese cuisine. An international YouGov study of more than 25,000 people in 24 countries finds that pizza and pasta are among the most popular foods in the world, as Italian cuisine beats all comers.

What country has best food? ›

Best Countries Rankings
  • #1. Canada.
  • #2. Japan.
  • #3. Germany.
  • #4. Switzerland.
  • #5. Australia.
Apr 15, 2016

Which state in Mexico has the best food? ›

According to a survey carried out in January 2020, Michoacán and Oaxaca are considered the best Mexican states for eating tasty food, with over 13 percent of respondents choosing them as their favorite gastronomical regions. Michoacán is located on the Pacific side of the country.

Who invented nachos? ›

According to the Adriana P. Orr, Oxford English Dictionary etymologist in a letter sent in 1999, nachos were created by Ignacio Anaya in 1943. Anaya was a chef at the Old Victory Club who one evening took pity on a group of U.S. military wives whose husbands were stationed at nearby base Fort Duncan.

Where is quesadilla from? ›

Like so many items on our menu, quesadillas originated in central and northern parts of Mexico but the food item rapidly spread to all regions of the country. The literal meaning of quesadilla is “little cheesy thing”.

What are nachos called in Mexico? ›

In Mexico, nachos are called 'totopos'. The first known appearance of the word 'nachos' in English dates to 1949, from the book A Taste of Texas.

What is true Mexican food? ›

Burritos, chili con carne, chimichangas, hardshell tacos and enchiladas (as we know them in the U.S.), queso dip, nachos . . . all Tex-Mex. Even fajitas are a Tex-Mex invention (offered to tourists in Mexico now because so many Americans associate fajitas as authentic).

What is a typical dinner in Mexico? ›

A staple of Mexican food is comida, which translates as either food or lunch. Mexicans typically eat their second meal of the day between 2 and 4 p.m. Though the meal is earlier, like dinner north of the border, comida is the largest meal of the day, with several courses, soup, meat, beans, and tortillas.

What food is Mexico City known for? ›

What food is Mexico City known for? Mexico City is best known for its variety of street foods like tacos, tortas, pambazo, and tlacoyos. Mexico City also has many well-known traditional sweets including churros with hot chocolate and sweet bread. There are endless opportunities to find these foods within Mexico City.

Are tacos real Mexican? ›

Tacos are thought to come from Mexico, long before the Spanish arrived. Ancient Mexicans used freshly made, soft, flat corn tortillas and gave them with fillings like fish and cooked organs. It was a staple meal that provided vital nutrients and energy to those who consumed it.

Is Burrito Mexican food? ›

The Origin of the Burrito

The burrito we all know and love today is a staple dish in Mexican-American cuisine. Although often considered a traditional Mexican food, the burrito's origins start in more recent times in Northern Mexico.

Is nachos a Mexican food? ›

Nachos were invented in Mexico, for Americans, by a Mexican! They originated in the small Mexican town of Piedras Negras in 1943 and were invented by restaurateur, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya. One day, when Nacho was without his chef, he needed to rustle up a quick snack for a group of US military wives who were in town.

Does Mexico have the best food in the world? ›

Mexico has the seventh best cuisine in the world, according to a 50-nation ranking compiled by the international food guide website TasteAtlas. Mexico was the only Latin American country in the top 10 of the June update of the culinary ranking released by TasteAtlas.

What are 5 typical street foods sold in Mexico? ›

Street foods include tacos, tamales, gorditas, quesadillas, empalmes, tostadas, chalupa, elote, tlayudas, cemita, pambazo, empanada, nachos, chilaquiles, fajita and tortas, as well as fresh fruit, vegetables, beverages and soups such as menudo, pozole and pancita.

What is Mexican culture best known for? ›

Updated May 2022: Mexico's culture is rich, colourful and vibrant, influenced by its ancient civilisations such as the Aztec and Maya as well as European colonisation. Mexico is unique and probably one of the most fascinating cultures in the world.

What is celebrated in Mexico? ›

Some of the best Mexican festivals are Three Kings day, Candlemas, Guadalajara, Saint's week, All Saints day. What are the main holidays celebrated in Mexico? The main holidays which are celebrated in Mexico are Ano Nuevo, Dia de la Constitución, Dia del Trabajo, Dia de la Independencia, Dia de la Revolución.

Videos

1. Best Restaurants in Mexico City | The places you must try in CDMX
(Israel Plata)
2. Top 4 Best Mexican Food PART 1
(M1NT OR30)
3. MEXICO CITY VEGAN FOOD TOUR | VEGAN, TACOS, TORTAS, CHURROS & MORE!
(Rated V For Vegan)
4. Mexico's BIZARRE Street Foods!! Do They Really Eat This??
(Best Ever Food Review Show)
5. Top 10 Places to Eat in Mexico City!
(ToddsMexico)
6. Top 10 Mexican foods to eat #shorts
(Top 10)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Duncan Muller

Last Updated: 10/06/2022

Views: 6012

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Duncan Muller

Birthday: 1997-01-13

Address: Apt. 505 914 Phillip Crossroad, O'Konborough, NV 62411

Phone: +8555305800947

Job: Construction Agent

Hobby: Shopping, Table tennis, Snowboarding, Rafting, Motor sports, Homebrewing, Taxidermy

Introduction: My name is Duncan Muller, I am a enchanting, good, gentle, modern, tasty, nice, elegant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.