Best Mexican Dishes for Foodies
From Puerto Vallarta to Cancun, Mexico is a singular treat for the self-proclaimed foodie. While most travellers to this popular holiday destination wax poetic about the Mayan temples, turquoise waters and colorful traditions, foodies can list the best vendors for tacos al pastor, and where to experience world-class dining in Mexico City. Mexican fare is much more than burritos and guacamole; it’s a diverse tapestry of satisfying street food, fresh, seasonal dishes and haute cuisine prepared by talented up-and-coming chefs.
Each region boasts its own distinctive flavors, with the Oaxaca highlands renowned for rich, chocolatey moles and the Yucatan Peninsula for its vibrant salsas flavored with tamarind, bitter oranges and plums. From perfectly seasoned chalupas and local delicacies to gourmet eats, there are many opportunities to indulge in Mexico’s tastiest dishes. Tempt your palate with a shortlist of our favorites.
Elote smothered in lime juice, mayo, chili, sour cream and parmesan cheese (or any mix of the condiments) is just about the perfect snack food any time of the day. In Mexico, you can find this expertly grilled corn on the cob on virtually every street corner, sold for $1 apiece.
photo credit: l.a. foodie via flickr
Tacos de canasta
Literally translated as “basket tacos,” this popular street food sates even the heartiest of appetites. Each vendor has their own specialties, which may include beans, chicken or beef wrapped in soft tortillas and dowsed with a red or green salsa. If your itinerary takes you to Mexico City, pay a visit to La Abuela, where the veal and chicken tinga tacos de canasta are worth a try.
photo credit: quericavida.com
No bucket list of street foods is complete without mentioning Tlacoyos, a blue corn crispy cake said to have originated from the indigenous inhabitants of Toluca. For just 75 cents you can savor a hot pocket of blue corn masa cooked with your choice of filling: fava beans, braised pork belly, or a fresh Mexican cheese. The cakes are then topped with cooked spinach or grilled cactus slices and sprinkled with grated cheese and spicy or mild salsa.
photo credit: wikimedia.org
When you’ve got a carnivorous hankering, chicharrones smothered in hot sauce will do the trick every time. Another classic and ubiquitous street food that goes well with beer, chicharrones are crispy pieces of fried pork skin. You’ll find them sold at stalls across the country, as well as open markets and local cantinas.
photo credit: david bote estrada via flickr
A crisp corn tortilla is the base of this simple yet mouthwatering dish, which makes for an excellent lunch or snack on the go. Tostadas are usually topped with local ingredients that are favored in the region, whether chicken and refried beans with a dollop of sour cream, or fresh seafood. For the ultimate seafood tostada in Mexico City, visit K-Guamo near the Mercado San Juan. Their marinated octopus tostadas get rave reviews!
photo credit: josue goge via flickr
Fine dining in Mexico City
Forbes rated Mexico City as one of the world’s best destinations for amazing street food, but Distrito Federal also claims it share of fine-dining restaurants, trendy bistros and artisanal eateries where you can enjoy a five- course tasting menu with exceptional wine pairings. Food lovers have ample reason to cheer in this sprawling city, where chefs bring their innovation and talent to your table.
The following are a few of the hottest fine dining restaurants in Mexico City:
- Azul Condesa – Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita traveled across the entire country, mining ingredients and inspiration for his menu. Azul Condesa is a wonderful spot to sample regional, thoughtfully prepared Mexican cuisine such as a 3-day Oaxacan mole and seafood Veracruz-style with tomato sauce flavored with Spanish olives and capers. You can find out more information on their website at http://www.azul.rest/ or by calling at +52 55 5286 6380
- Pujol – modern, minimalist and award-winning, this restaurant serves the city’s most esteemed tasting menu under the watchful eye of Chef Enrique Olvera. Olvera is praised for blending tradition with innovative techniques with dishes like escarole with onion ashes and corn with grilled leaf cutter ants. You can find out more information in their website at http://www.pujol.com.mx/en/ or by calling at +52 55 5545 4111
- Maximo Bistrot Local – Loved for its exquisite dishes, ever-changing menu and cozy ambiance, Maximo Bistrot is run by Eduardo Garciá, whotrained under some of the world’s top chefs. From lobster tostadas and duck breast with creamy risotto to divine chocolate tortes, this chic bistro books up quickly for both lunch and dinner. You can find out more information on their website at http://maximobistrot.com.mx/ or by calling at +52 55 5264 4291