Indulging in the most scrumptious delicacies in all of North America doesn’t always require a trip to Mexico City. Even if you crave a proper Mexican fix, there’s no need to jet out to enjoy one when you can just rustle up any traditional dish. Or visit some five-star Mexican restaurants around and savor the delicious flavors of any traditional dish you crave. From spicy street tacos to heavenly tamales, hot chilaquiles, and slow-cooked broths rich in explosions of native Mexican flavors. Let’s eat our way through this list of 8 Mexican foods to try out.
Pozole is a delicious traditional Mexican broth made with hominy or corn and pork meat. The broth is seasoned with spices and ingredients like radishes, avocados, and lime juice. There are three types of pozole.; pozole rojo (which is the red pozole), pozole verde (the green pozole), and pozole blanco (the white pozole).
The difference between them is that pozole rojo’s recipe is with dried red chiles that give the broth that reddish color. Pozole verde on the other hand gets its greenish color from fresh green chiles such as jalapeños. While pozole blanco doesn’t have any chiles at all, hence the name—white pozole.
The story behind Pozole is indeed riveting and has been told in several watered-down versions over the years. Back in the early days, the Aztecs and other indigenous tribes in Mexico prepared pozole as part of their sacred rituals and only on special occasions.
Interestingly, some historical texts mention that the original pozole was made with human flesh (yikes!). But after the arrival of the Spanish people, that barbaric practice was banned (thankfully), and pork became the substitute protein.
As bizarre as it sounds, pozole (also known as posole or pozolé,) is still a beloved dish in Mexico, prepared on special occasions like weddings, birthdays, holidays, etc.
It’s untypical to try out Mexican dishes without sampling the famous Guacamole. This delicious food dates back to the 1500s when the Aztecs of Mexico concocted a now-famous green spread. They named it ahuaca-mulli (which means an avocado sauce or avocado mix).
Today, many people still prepare guacamoles with the same ingredients that we enjoy today; avocados, lime juice, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno pepper, and salt.
At first glance, chilaquiles may seem like a simple dish, but it is the combination of different spicy and colorful ingredients, carefully put together to make it the masterpiece it is. You can prepare this special traditional Mexican breakfast dish by lightly frying corn tortillas(cut into quarters) and lavishly topping them with light green or fiery red salsa or “sauce”. The red salsa has a slightly spicier flavor and is good for people who love spicy hot dishes.
The rest of the toppings for the corn tortillas include but are not limited to scrambled or fried eggs, tender pulled chicken, rich cream, and cheese. No chilaquiles dish is complete without the addition of a dollop of cream and cheese on top. To round out the dish, a generous heap of frijoles or beans is served alongside chilaquiles.
Proper Mexican families swear by an authentic Enchilada dish for breakfast. For generations, traditional enchiladas comprise baked or pre-heated corn tortilla wraps dipped in a special enchiladas sauce.
The tortillas are stuffed with veggies, cheese, meat, beans, seafood, or all the fillings combined. And then layered with more cheese and chicken or beef soaked in chili sauce. After which you can either bake in an oven or grill it. When you remove the enchiladas from the oven, cover them with extra sauce, cheese, and other choice toppings.
Chiles en nogada
Originally made by nuns in Puebla back in 1821, Chiles en nogada is a special Mexican food. Its preparation involves using poblano chiles stuffed with a delicious picadillo filling and topped with a creamy walnut sauce. Mexicans usually serve Chiles en nogada at room temperature. And is traditionally enjoyed throughout Mexico in September to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day. The colors of this dish symbolize the green, white, and red colors of the country’s flag.
The country of Mexico has loads of traditional delicacies steeped in history with deep cultural significance or meanings. Chiles en nogada are one of those Mexican foods. Anytime you enjoy this dish at some local or upscale restaurant, bear in mind that it represents an essential part of the country’s independence.
Tacos Al Pastor
Tacos are probably the most famous Mexican foods out there, with well over 20 different recipes in existence. They are usually underrated because they’re street foods, but the world’s most expensive meal is a taco served at a resort in Mexico.
However, there are three major taco varieties; carnitas, al pastor, and carne asada. Of all three, tacos al pastor is the most popular variety of tacos to try out.
The preparation method for this mouthwatering variety involves dipping pork in a mixture of dried chilies, spices, pineapple, and usually achiote paste. After seasoning the pork, Mexicans then cook it gradually over a fire on a vertical rotisserie known as a trompo. Or by using grills in the absence of a trompo. As the outer layer browns, the meat is delicately sliced off and placed into corn tortilla wraps to make delicious tacos.
Often confused with enchiladas because of the similarities in preparation, Flautas is a delightful Mexican dish that you can make using flour tortillas. You can roll and fill the tortillas with delicious meats like shredded chicken or beef. Then deep-fry these savory bundles to achieve a crispy texture. To complement the flautas, Mexicans normally serve them with different toppings like freshly cut lettuce, gooey cheese, hot guacamole, and sour cream.
Meanwhile, instead of frying the enchiladas like the flautas, you can bake them. Even though they’re both made with the same corn tortillas. Just like flautas, load the tortilla wraps for enchiladas with different kinds of fillings, including meats, cheese, and veggies. After which you proceed to wrap the tortillas in enchilada sauce and bake them in an oven.
Saved the best for the last. Tamales are among the distinctive Mexican foods that trace their origins to the Pre-Columbian era. Essentially a simple, on-the-go meal consisting of corn dough or masa and stuffing, enclosed in a corn husk or banana leaf, then steamed.
You can cook the masa by combining dried cornmeal with broth, lard, and seasonings, to form a soft dough that gives a unique flavor reminiscent of hominy(corn). Fillings for the tamales can range from basic to elaborate; slow-cooked seasoned meats, vegetables, cheeses, dried fruits, olives, etc.
Mexican Restaurants to Eat Mexican Foods
Not everyone can make the famous chunky hot, homemade Mexican foods. We took the liberty to compile some of the luxury restaurants that serve delicious, high-priced Mexican cuisine. Including quaint, family-owned Mexican restaurants with recipes passed down through generations.
- Aldama, Brooklyn
- Hoja Santa, Barcelona
- Kol, London
- Toloache 50, New York City
- Cosme, New York
- Cavita, London
- Oaxaca Cuina Mexicana, Barcelona
- Mestizo, London
- Ella Canta, London
- Salsa, Johannesburg