In this article, we will analyze the various typical dishes and explore what to eat in Mexico. Plus, explain everything about Mexican cuisine, street food, main dishes, soups, drinks, and desserts. But first, a few general tips about Mexican food.
Mexico has one of the most beloved and famous cuisines in the world. Nearly everyone has already tried Mexican dishes like tortillas, tacos, burritos, and guacamole. Yet, Mexican gastronomy has so much to offer with various ingredients, textures, and flavors.
The variety of dishes to eat in Mexico is such that it’s nearly impossible to convey in only one Mexican food guide. But, we will try to present you with the best dishes to eat in Mexico, providing a good variety of flavors, including some regional dishes.
What should you know about Mexican food?
Mexico’s cuisine dates back thousands of years ago. Some of the dishes we consider today are Mexican dishes that originated before Mexico‘s existence. They come from the Pre-Colombiuan civilizations, Mayan and Aztec mainly. With the conquest by the Spanish, new ingredients were introduced, domestic animals like pork, beef, olive oil, and rice influencing its cuisine.
Mexican cuisine also influenced the rest of the world, introducing chocolate, maize, and chili peppers. Due to all these facts, Mexico’s gastronomy was recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural heritage.
Maize, chili peppers, beans, and squash are the cornerstones of Mexican food. Most dishes use the same ingredients but are prepared and cooked differently. So, although some of the dishes are pretty similar, they are also so creative and exciting.
Mexico’s cuisine primes in blending different types of flavors, sour, salty, and sweet. Usually, dishes are seasoned with lime juice, giving them a fresh and acidic touch.
You may think Mexican food is very spicy, but the truth is that it is only if you want. Normally the spice is added at the end to flavor the food. If you don’t want it spicy, simply ask, or season yourself to your taste. But if a Mexican tells you something is spicy, you better believe it. It will be very spicy.
Tips for finding the best Mexican food
Most of the best dishes in Mexico are street food or antojitos, and Mexico is one the best countries to eat street food. Plus, you rarely can get wrong with street food, and they are cheaper than in restaurants.
Like in any country, the best places to eat are where the locals eat. Avoid very tourist places near the most famous Mexican Landmarks. The cantinas are the ideal site to eat, they serve traditional food and are cheaper.
Plenty of people sell food near bus stops and bus stations, and Mexican street food is usually delicious. Don’t be afraid to try and ask what it is; you won’t regret it. We ate all types of street food and never got food poisoning. The only place that people warned us to be careful was in San Cristóbal de las Casas.
Where to eat Mexican food
Mexico is a big country, and each region has its specialties and ways of doing some dishes. You will find a vast diversity according to the region you are in the country.
The best places to eat Mexican food are:
- Mexico City has it all, a fusion of food from the different regions of Mexico. It is the best place to eat street food and pozole. But it truly has everything you may want.
- Puebla has some of Mexico’s most famous dishes, like chile en nogada, mole poblano. It also has fantastic bakeries with different varieties of pan dulce (sweet bread) and is the place to eat sweet desserts.
- Oaxaca is known as a food hub. Its seven types of Moles are very good, plus it has the acclaimed Oaxa cheese and Mezcal.
- Merida is the best place to eat Yucatan food. It has plenty of good restaurants and is a place that revolves around food and culture.
Antojitos/ Street food
Antojitos or Botanas are snacks, appetizers small savory bites that you eat before the main meal. Typically antojitos are also street food. And you can find them everywhere. Mexico is one of the best countries in the world to eat street food. The only other place we have been that rivals Mexico is Thailand.
We listed some of Mexico’s most famous street foods, but there are literally dozens.
Tacos are the most famous popular Mexican dish in the world. They are mainly street food, and you find them everywhere. They are the king of Mexican cuisine.
Tacos are made with small wheat or corn tortillas, about 10 cm in diameter. Various fillings, salsa, and different versions of tacos exist. There are meat, fish, vegetarian, seafood, and beans. Every region has its specialty.
A taco is usually made with two tortillas because of the sauce. And to eat them, you must fold the two ends and eat with one hand.
The most common tacos are:
- Tacos El Pastor – this is like a kebab but Mexico-style. It is made with a small tortilla filled with meat grilled on a vertical skew.
- Tacos de pescado are topped with fish and pico de Gallo (Mexican salad). Usually, the fish is deep-fried in crispy batter. The first time we heard about this, we found it a bit strange, but it works. It’s delicious.
- Tacos de tripa – topped with pig tripe may sound weird but delicious. And it won’t seem like you are eating tripes. Topped with pickled onion and cabbage.
- Tacos de longaniza – are made with smoked sausage and topped with pico de galo or pickled onion.
- Tacos de lengua – made with beef tongue. The tongue is cooked for several hours, making it soft and tender.
- Tacos de Cabeza – made with brains.
- Tacos de Canasta – made with papas (potatoes), chicharrón and frijoles. Normally eaten in the morning and served from a basket that keeps them warm.
- Carnitas tacos – Carnitas is a dish made with several parts of pork fried with pork fat.
Quesadilla is a Mexican antojito made with a large corn or flour tortilla. It is filled with cheese, its main ingredient, thus its name (queso means cheese in Spanish).
Quesadillas may have another filling besides cheese: meat, chicken, or vegetables. After filling the tortilla, it is folded into a half-moon shape and grilled.
There are several varieties of this dish. Like in Mexico City, Quesadillas are filled with other ingredients, and cheese isn’t even mandatory. There exists Gringas, a Quesadilla made with cheese and meat. Or in some regions of Mexico, they are made with two flour tortillas filled with cheese and meat.
Burritos are a Mexican and Tex-Mex staple dish. It consists of a large flour tortilla that is steamed or fried. The tortilla is filled with various ingredients such as cheese, meat, shrimp, and/or vegetables like refried beans, lettuce, and tomatoes. It is then seasoned with salsa, chilies, or pico de Gallo (Mexican salad). In the end, the tortilla is wrapped tightly with all the stuffing.
It is one of the most beloved Mexican street foods. This dish has many variants, like the breakfast Burrito, in which the stuffing is usually breakfast-related, like Eggs. There exist wet Burritos, as the burritos are covered with sauce. Mexicans are creative and don’t follow hard rules.
Flautas are a delicious and crispy antojito. They are in the form of a flute, thus its name. Flautas are deep-fried rolled tortillas with filling. The fillings can be numerous, but chicken, beef, and cheese are the most frequent. Sometimes they are also topped with Mexican cream or guacamole.
You will find them all over Mexico; they are typical street food.
Tamales are an antojito made with corn dough. They are steamed in banana leaves or corn husks. Tamales can be sweet or salty. And have different feelings like meat, cheese, vegetables, pineapple, raisins, and berries. It also has various sizes.
They are a traditional Mayan dish and typical Yucatán food. But you can find them all over Mexico and even elsewhere, like Guatemala and Belize. Normally Tamales are comfort food. It is eaten as breakfast or dinner, usually accompanied by a hot atole (we will discuss it in the drink section).
It is pretty filling and has is soft texture. The dough doesn’t have a strong flavor, as it is mostly filling, which gives the taste to the tamal.
Elotes is a frequent street food all around Mexico. It consists of sweet corn boiled in water or grilled in charcoal. It is served with salt, butter, mayonnaise, and grated cotija cheese around the corn. If you wish, it is added lemon juice and chili powder.
It is beloved by the Mexicans. You can find elotes in food carts on the street or mobile eloteros (vendors of Elotes). There is also a version of elotes locos served with different sauces like sweet and sour, ketchup, and chili. Besides salty, there are also sweet Elotes covered with Nutella, condensed milk, or dulce de leche.
Esquites are another frequent street food in Mexico. It is made with boiled corn kernels, placed in a disposable cup, and covered with various ingredients.
Mexican cream, mayonnaise, and cotija cheese are the most used ingredients, topped with chili powder and lime juice. It is eaten with a spoon. This is a unique dish and very fun to try.
Tortas are sandwiches in Mexico made with white bread and filled with various ingredients. Normally tortas are made with two kinds of bread, bolillo, a bread with a crunchy crust like a small baguette, or Telera, soft bread that lacks a crispy crust.
Tortas can be eaten with anything inside, and Mexican people have plenty of imagination. The most famous tortas in Mexico are:
- Torta ahogada – Called drowned sandwich because it is submerged in the sauce. The sauce is made with chili pepper or tomato-based. The sandwich is made with fried pork or chicken, beans, and cheese.
- Torta Cubana – Sandwich made with various meat, including chorizo, cheese, refried beans, and avocado. It is a massive sandwich and so delicious. Please don’t confuse it with a Cuban sandwich which is very different.
- Torta de Milanesa – Sandwich made with Milanesa, a meat-breaded cutlet.
- Cemita Poblana– Sandwich typical of the city of Puebla. It is made with white bread covered with sesame seeds. It is filled with meat, avocado, Oaxaca cheese, onion, and chipotle. It is enormous and so good.
Totopos are round or triangular corn tortillas that are deep-fried. They are a basic Mexican ingredient. You will find them everywhere and used in other dishes. Like nachos, chilaquiles, tortilla soup.
Normally they are served at the beginning of the meal as and starter. You can dip them in salsa, frijoles, in your food or eat them simply as they are. They are crunchy and addictive.
Totopas are complementary when served at the beginning of the meal in restaurants.
Mexican Breakfast dishes
Mexicans eat a satisfying breakfast, which includes coffee and eggs, beans, frijoles, and fried tortilla chips or totopos. Mexicans eat plenty of corn tortillas for breakfast and usually dip them in salsa, beans, avocado, or eggs. Breakfast in Mexico is mainly on the savory side, but they can also eat Pan dolce (sweet bread) with coffee or hot chocolate.
Breakfast is a meal that you won’t want to miss. They have delicious dishes like Chilaquiles or Huevos Rancheros. And it will keep you running for the rest of the day.
Frijoles are refried beans. They are a Mexican staple dish. They are present in any meal and can be eaten with anything, but particularly for Breakfast.
To do Frijoles, you need to cook the beans until soft, then you need to mash them to a paste, and in the end, you fry them. So technically, they are not fried two times. You can use different varieties of beans to do this dish. The most common are kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans.
For breakfast, frijoles are typically served with eggs, tortillas, avocado, and plantain.
Enfrijoladas is a bean sauce to top stuffed tortillas, enchiladas, chicken, or anything you wish. It is very similar to frijoles, but its consistency is more liquid and used as a sauce instead of a side dish.
Enfriojoladas are a typical breakfast dish in Mexico, although it is also a regular main dish.
Chilaquiles is a Mexican breakfast dish, although it is delicious at any time of the day. It is one of our favorite Mexican dishes.
It is made with totopos (deep-fried tortillas), red or green salsa, and shredded chicken. On top of everything is added crema (Mexican cream), shredded fresh cheese, and usually a fried egg. It is served with refried beans.
The dish is spicy due to the salsa, but generally not exaggerated. The crunchy tortilla is dipped in the salsa and the egg. It is really good and plainly mouth-watering.
Huevos Rancheros is a Mexican breakfast dish. It consists of fried eggs, tortillas, pico de gallo (Mexican salad made with tomato, onion, and coriander leaves), frijoles, and guacamole or slices of Avocado.
It is filling and very satisfying.
Huevos Motulenos is a breakfast dish. It is a typical dish from Yucatán.
It is made with corn tortillas, refried beans (called frijoles), salsa Roja (a tomato spicy sauce), fried eggs, and fried plantains. It can have other optional ingredients like peas and ham. It is so satisfying you will want to eat it besides breakfast.
Huevos Divorciados is a breakfast dish that consists of two fried eggs. One egg is topped with red salsa, and the other with green salsa. They are served with fried corn tortillas and refried beans.
It is a delicious meal that allows you to have the best of both worlds, the green, and red salsa, without having to choose.
Molletes is a traditional Mexican breakfast consisting of an open sandwich, a type of Mexican bruschetta.
Molletes are made with bolillo rolls topped with refried beans, melted white cheese, and pico de gallo (Mexican salad made with tomatoes and onions). There may be variations on the topping used.
This a simple dish but so satisfying.
Best Mexican Soups
Pozole is one of Mexico’s most loved dishes and is even eaten at Christmas. It is a slow-cooked soup, made with meat (chicken or pork ) or simply vegetarian and with Hominy. Hominy is maize kernels that have been processed by nixtamalization, soaking them in an alkaline solution. This makes the kernels well up.
Once the soup is ready to be served, it is garnished with shredded lettuce or cabbage, chili peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, and lime. Depending on the ingredients used, there are 3 types of pozole: white, red, and green. All of them are delicious but have different gradients of spiciness.
Pozole is a prehispanic dish originally from Aztec cuisine. Some theories hypothesize that the soup was used as part of ritual sacrifices.
You will find this dish in Mexican restaurants or cantinas all over Mexico. Especially in Mexico City. Even if you aren’t into soups, try it! It’s very good!
Caldo Azteca or Tortilla Soup
Caldo Azteca, or Tortilla soup, is an aromatic, fragrant soup. Made with chicken breast, tomatoes, chilies, onions, garlic, and cilantro. It is topped with crunchy fried tortillas, cheese, avocado, and lime juice.
You can find this soup all over Mexico in restaurants or cantinas. It is pretty standard and easy to find. It is a simple soup with an intense flavor, plus the crunchiness of the tortillas makes it addictive.
Birria is a typical Mexican dish originally from the state of Jalisco. It is a dish made with goat meat or occasionally made with beef, lamb, mutton, or chicken. To cook this dish, you must marinate the meat in a sauce of chilies, garlic, herbs, bay leaf, thyme, and cumin. Then slow cook the meat with tomato sauce and onion until it is the meat is soft and juicy.
This dish is served in two forms as a soup, with the sauce it was cooked adding chickpeas, onions, and cilantro. Or using the meat for filling like tacos, quesadillas, tacos dorados, dipping the tortillas where the meat was cooked. It is so good.
Traditionally this dish is served on festive days, weddings, and baptisms. Several restaurants also specialize in this plate in Mexico City and Jalisco state.
Sopa de Lima (Lime Soup)
Sopa de Lima is a traditional dish of Yucatán. It is a light soup with chicken, onions, pepper bell, lime, and cilantro covered with crunchy tortillas. The broth is made with herbs like oregano, cumin, and clove.
Although there can be different variations of this dish, the base of the lime, chicken, and pepper bell have to be present. It is a fragrant and aromatic dish. It may sound weird, but it is delicious.
Caldo de Res
Caldo de Res is a hearty and satisfying Mexican Soup. It is made with pieces of beef, corn, chayote, and potatoes. In the end, it is served with lime wedges and corn tortillas on the side.
There are several variations of this soup depending on the region of Mexico. Each region uses its endemic vegetables.
Menudo or Pancita is a famous Mexican soup known to cure hangovers. So, great for backpackers and travelers in Mexico…
It is a slow-cooked soup. Made with a red chili-based broth, cow stomach (tripe), hominy, garlic, and onions and garnished with lime wedges and oregano.
You can find menudo all over Mexico, normally in restaurants or cantinas. But depending on the region of Mexico, you will find variations of the base dish.
Platos Fuertes / Main Dishes in Mexico
If there is a dish that personifies the Mexican spirit, it is Chilli in Nogada. It is such a beautiful, original, colorful, and delicious dish.
Originated in the city of Puebla in Mexico, it was created to celebrate Mexican Independence. The colors of the dish resemble the Mexican flag. It is considered Mexico’s National dish.
The dish consists of a poblano chile stuffed with shredded meat, tomato sauce, fruit (apple or pear), raisins, and almonds. It is topped with a walnut cream sauce called Nogada. In the end, it is garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley.
This is a seasonal dish. Served from August to October when pomegranates are in season, coinciding with Mexico’s independence day. You can find the dish all over Mexico, especially in Mexico City and Puebla.
Chile Relleno, which means stuffed chile in Spanish, is one of the most delicious Mexican Dishes. It is made with stuffed peppers, normally poblano pepper, covered with flour and egg, and fried. They are served with tomato sauce.
The fillings can be cheese, diced pork meat, or beans. As usual, there are different versions of the dish depending on where you are in Mexico. It is a memorable dish.
Barbacoa is slow-cooked meat in a pit with coal or in over fire. The meat is cooked until juicy, and it falls apart. It is delicious and melts in your mouth.
This dish is traditional all over Mexico, but depending on the region, the meat may vary. The most common meat used is goat, lamb, beef cheeks, or beef. In Yucatán, their traditional version is Cochinita Pibil, made with suckling pig.
This dish is also very famous in the USA. In Mexico, you eat barbacoa with Caldo or as a topping for tacos. It is exquisite.
Enchiladas are another popular Mexican dish. It consists of rolled stuffed tortillas covered with sauce. The filling varies; it may include meat, cheese, beans, and vegetables. And the sauce can be salsa roja, moles, cheese sauce, and salsa verde.
Some of the different enchiladas are enchiladas suizas, enchiladas con moles, enchiladas poblanas, entomatadas, enfrijoladas. You will find enchiladas all around Mexico in restaurants and cantinas.
There are so many types of enchiladas we could write a post only about them.
Mole isn’t a dish per se. Mole is a sauce! And they are an iconic and unique Mexican food. There are many different kinds of moles made with many different ingredients and different colors. The most renowned moles come from Oaxaca and Puebla, the two food capitals of Mexico.
Moles can be hot, sour, sweet, and thick. Usually, the base of every mole is a variety of chilis. The ingredients are roasted and ground into a paste. The past is mixed with water or broth and cooked until thick and dense. The Mole is served on top of meat and rice.
A mole can take hours to prepare, but in Mexico, you can buy the mole paste and cook the rest at home.
One of the most famous moles in Mexico is Guacamole, which everyone knows. The classic Mole poblano, made with chocolate, is less known globally, but it is adored in Mexico.
Other different kinds of moles include:
- Mole poblano – dark brown sauce made with 20 ingredients, including chocolate. It is classified as one of Mexico’s national dishes. It is a dense dark sauce, although the chocolate isn’t sweet. It is nothing like you have ever tasted.
- Mole Rojo – Mole made with tomatillos, it has an intense red color.
- Mole de Cacahuate – sauce made with peanuts
- Mole pipián – Typical Yucatán dish. It is made with pumpkin seeds and has an intense green color.
The most famous worldwide Mexican sauce. Guacamole doesn’t need many explanations – it is so popular and done everywhere that there are countless variations.
The traditional Guacamole is very simple. Made with mashed avocado and diced onion, seasoned with lime juice, salt, chili, and cilantro. Any other additions are non-traditional.
Guacamole can be eaten on its own with tortillas, but it is usually a side dish served with protein or as stuffing in tacos or quesadillas.
Pico de Galo
Pico de Galo (which translates to “rooster’s beak”) is also known as Salsa Mexicana due to its colors resembling Mexico’s flag.
This salsa is made of raw chopped tomatoes, onions, serrano peppers, and cilantro, seasoned with lime juice and salt. You can eat it with everything tacos, burritos, rice, and beans.
We really enjoyed this side dish due to its punchy, strong flavor, which tastes amazing, combined with its freshness. It is also popular in other Latin American countries like Costa Rica and Panama.
Although fajitas are a Tex-Mex dish, it is prevalent in Mexico. You will find it in any restaurant, cantina, or even as an antojito filling.
This dish consists of stripped grilled meat (usually chicken or other cuts of beef) with strapped bell peppers and onions. The meat is seasoned with chili-spiced with paprika. And you can eat fajitas with a tortilla or with refried beans and rice.
It is a must in Mexico if you haven’t tried Fajitas yet.
Nachos is a dish created in Pedras Negras in Coahuila near the border with the USA. It was invented by Ignacio Anaya Garcia, who joined fried tortillas with melted cheese and jalapenos when a customer asked for something different.
The dish has become very famous, especially in the USA, but you can find it all over Mexico too. The dish consists of fried tortilla chips or totopos covered with melted cheese and other toppings, such as ground beef or grilled chicken, guacamole, frijoles, salsa, sour cream, and jalapenos.
It can be served as a snack or a main course. And it is a delicious, fun dish.
Carnitas is one of Mexico’s most notable dishes. You will find carnitas everywhere and with everything. It is used for tacos, burritos, and other antojitos or simply served with rice or pico de galo.
Carnitas consists of slow-cooked pork, usually submerged in lard (confit method). It is cooked until tender, juicy, and pulled apart. It is then lightly fried, becoming crispy.
It is impossible going to Mexico and not eat carnitas.
Lechon or Cochinita
Lechon or Cochinita is a dish that consists of a roasted suckling pig. It is a dish influenced by Spain’s cuisine, but you find lechon all over the world, including Portugal, Spain, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and the Philippines.
In Mexico, lechon is wildly appreciated. They eat it in tacos, as a main dish, or sandwiches. In Yucatan, Cochinita is prepared in a specific way, called cochinita pibil. The meat is slowly roasted in the oven or a pit with a fire at the bottom. And it is delicious.
Camarones a la Diabla
Camarones a la Diabla is a spicy seafood dish typical on the west coast of Mexico. But you can easily find it in any beach town.
It is made with shrimp (Camarones) that are cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with 3 or 2 types of chiles. It is served with white rice, corn tortillas, avocados, and fresh cilantro.
Although spicy, it is a mouthwatering dish. You can find this dish in restaurants by the sea. We ate them in Mahahual in Yucatan and loved them.
Aguachile and Ceviche
Aguachile is a typical Mexican dish of the Northwest region of Mexico, originally of Sinaloa. This dish is made with fresh shrimp that, right before eating, is marinated in a sauce of lime, chile (usually serrano peppers), or tomatillos and salt. It is served with cucumbers and red onion.
This dish is only lightly cooked. It is a fresh and spicy dish, so appetizing. We ate aguachile on the beach in Playa De Los Muertos near Sayulita, and it was such a fun experience.
Aguachile is very similar to ceviche, but ceviche is done with other seafood, fish, and octopus and isn’t as spicy as aguachile. Ceviche is also originally in Peru. That said, in Mexico, you will find good ceviche in most beach towns. So it is also an ideal country to eat it.
Best Mexican Desserts
Cajeta de Celaya
Cajeta de Celaya is a famous typical sweet from Mexico, a specialty of the city of Celaya in the province of Guanajuato. It is a sweet made with goat milk, sugar, and vanilla essence cooked until brown and thick. It is used as a spread on bread, churros, and biscuits, as a filling, or even as an ingredient in puddings.
It is also known as dulce de leche in other Central American and South American countries, but in Mexico, it is called cajeta and is made with goat milk instead of cow milk.
However, some places in Mexico use half goat and half cow milk. There are also other versions of cajeta that with Cajeta envinada that adds alcohol.
Flan is a worldwide popular dessert, it exists in virtually every country, and Mexico is no exception. The Spanish brought this dessert, and the Mexicans made it theirs.
Flan is made with eggs, condensed milk, and caramel. It is a simple dessert. Soft and creamy. The are some variations of flan. There is Flan de Cajeta, which uses cajeta instead of caramel. And there is Flan Napolitano, which also uses cream cheese besides condensed milk, which makes it even creamier.
Concha is Mexico’s dominant sweet bread. Concha means shell in Spanish. This is due to the format of the sweet bread and its topping that resembles a seashell.
Concha is made with flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and milk. The topping is made with confectioner sugar, flour, and aromatizers. The pattern on top is made with a bread stamp. Typically the topping is white, but it can have different flavorings and colors, as you can see in the photo.
Pan de Muerto
Pan de Muerto is a pan dulce (sweet bread), traditionally made in the weeks previous to the Dia de los Muertos. The pan de Muerto is one of the “oferendas” people give to their deceased loved ones. They are displayed on the home altars and gravesites.
Pan de Muerto is made with flour, sugar, butter, orange zest, juice, and anis seeds. It is decorated with a bone-shaped phalanx and covered with sugar or sesame seeds. The decoration may vary, it can be skulls or crossbones.
In Oaxaca, pan de muerto is called pan de yema. It is also a sweet bread, but instead, it is decorated with little faces (“caritas”) made of wax. Note: it is really wax – the caritas aren’t edible.
Churros is a Mexican dessert made with fried dough. They are crunchy on the outside and light and soft on the inside. They are covered with sugar and cinnamon. And are addicting.
Churros originated in Spain, and they influenced Mexican cuisine. In Mexico, you will find several churrarias that serve freshly made churros with hot chocolate. The idea is to dip the churros in hot chocolate and eat them. In Spain, they eat them, especially as breakfast, but in Mexico, they are eaten as a snack during the day.
One of the best places to eat churros is in Mexico City in the Churreria “El Moro,” founded in 1935 by brothers Francisco y José Iriarte. They serve delectable churros with dense hot chocolate. Besides Mexico City, you will find good quality churros all over Mexico.
Chocoflan is a Mexican dessert that combines chocolate cake, flan, and a cajeta topping. It is a dense and creamy cake. With a mixture of tastes and textures.
It is sometimes nicknamed “the impossible cake,” but you will easily find it in restaurants and cantinas all over Mexico. And it is well worth trying.
Best Mexican Drinks
Agua del Dia / Agua fresca
Agua del dia or Aguas frescas is a non-alcoholic beverage that all restaurants in Mexico serve. The agua fresca can have different flavors—fruit, cereals, flowers, and seed or a mix.
The most common are made with fruit, agua da jamaica (made with hibiscus), or horchata (made with rice and milk). When going to a restaurant in Mexico, always ask what the Agua del Dia, the drink of the day, is. They will serve you a big cup of juice. It is delicious and cheap.
Note that there also exists licuados or preparados, which are also made with fruit but are smoothies. They are thicker, with a higher fruit percentage, and more expensive. But they are also good.
Horchata is a traditional beverage in Mexico made of rice, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. It is delicious and refreshing, and you will find it in most restaurants and cantinas in Mexico.
It may sound strange, but everyone that has been to Mexico can confirm that it is a tasty drink (well, nearly everybody). To prepare this drink, you must soak the rice and cinnamon in water. You will need to blend and strain it. Finally, add evaporated milk and sugar. The drink needs to be refrigerated and is best served cold. Although there exists hot horchata too.
Be aware that there are different kinds of horchata with different ingredients. In Spain, especially in Valencia, they drink Horchata de chufa, made from the nutsedge plant’s tubers called tiger nut or chufra. But in Mexico, the typical horchata is made with rice.
Atole is a hot beverage customarily drunk at breakfast. It is the ultimate comfort food of Mexico, dating back to the Mayans. It is traditional in the Yucatán province.
This drink contains corn flour, panela sugar (unrefined whole cane sugar), cinnamon, vanilla, and water. It is sweet, silky, and delicious. There are different modern versions of atole, with various flavors like chocolate, known as champurrado, biscuit atole, and vanilla atole.
Although traditional in Yucatán and other Mayan regions, this drink is all over Mexico. Typically, you drink atole when eating tamales.
Chocolate Quente (Hot Chocolate)
Chocolate has an important role in Mexico’s cuisine. Used and produced by the Mesoamericans since the 11th century BCE. Cacao was used as a trading currency, a symbol of wealth, and an ingredient in rituals and ceremonies.
Cacao is used in Mexico in several dishes like mole poblano e mole negro and desserts. But one of the best things about chocolate in Mexico is its hot chocolate. It is divine and alike any other.
In Mexico, hot chocolate is made with a blend of cacao and other spices like cinnamon, sometimes anis or chili powder.
The best hot chocolate we drank was in Oaxaca in Mayadormo. They serve a sweet hot chocolate with a touch of cinnamon. It is creamy and fluffy as they whisk it with a Mexican molinillo.
Typically you have to drink hot chocolate with sweet bread, like pan de yema or pan dos Muertos. You should dip the bread in the hot chocolate and then eat.
Tequila / Mezcal
Tequila is the most famous alcoholic beverage in Mexico. It is a distilled beverage with 35 to 55 % of alcohol content. Tequila is made with blue agave and can only be produced in Jalisco.
Due to its importance, Tequila’s agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities are a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mexico.
Besides Tequila, Mexico also produces Mezcal, another distilled beverage made with any type of agave. And is prepared differently from tequila. Mezcal can reach an alcohol content of 55%. And is produced in the region of Oaxaca.
Both Tequila and Mezcal are appreciated worldwide. Though Tequila is more famous internationally and Mezcal internally.
Margarita is one of the most popular cocktails in the world. It is made with tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. It is served in a specific glass with salt on the rim of the glass.
This cocktail is served in a margarita glass, which is a variant of the classic champagne coupe.