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Food in Mexico

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What is Mexican food, really?

Mexican cuisine is a vast topic that could amount to volumes of written words, so, for the purpose of this page, I am going to publish the traveler’s experience of food in Mexico. Keep in mind that I tend to eat what the common people eat in just about every country I go to, which often amounts to eggs, chicken, beans, and rice. I am not going to pay three times the amount of money to sit down in a fancy restaurant to eat “authentic” food that is way too expensive for the local people of a country. In point, the food that I will write about here is that which the traveler will easily come into contact with as they travel through Mexico — the street food, the essential meals, and the snacks.

Even for the vagabond, Mexico proved to be a culinary adventure, as each new region of the country presented their own  food options.

Tlayudas, Mexican food

Tlayudas, Mexican food cooking on a grill

Types of Mexican food

Tlayudas- These are basically huge tortillas that are stuffed with meat, cheese, and salad that are typically cooked in the streets on a grill. They are most popular in Oaxaca, and are a complete meal in and of themselves. Generally, they cost around $2.50 each. More about Tlayudas.

Tacos Arabes- These have to be one of my favorite meals in all of Mexico. Tacos Arabes are just that: tacos with Arab pita bread. The combination is amazing, as the fluffy pitas soak up the juices of beef, pork, or chicken as well as any typical Mexican sauce you pour on top of it. Excellent. For $1.25 each, you can’t beat them. More about Tacos Arabes.

Coconut Stuffed Limes- These are an excellent snack food that are sold throughout Mexico. Said to be a favorite treat of Frida Kahlo, these sweet lime peels stuffed with coconut have a taste all their own. More about Coconut Stuffed Limes.

Dobladas- “What is the difference between a doblada and a Tlayuda?” I asked a girl working at a doblada restaurant in Zipolite. “Dobladas are smaller and don’t have as much salad.” Fair enough. Dobladas also tend to be a little cheaper, and two of them can often be had for the price of a single tlayuda. Dobladas are essential a pressed tortilla grilled with vegetables, meat, or cactus and cheese. They are truly an excellent street or small restaurant food in Mexico.

Mole Sauce- This is a sauce that is typical of Oaxaca which uses chocolate, amongst other ingredients, to give it a very special taste. It is often put over chicken, various meats, and vegetables. Often, the dishes the use this sauce are called, “chicken with mole,” etc. . . or, in Spanish, “Mole con pollo.”

Chilaquiles- This breakfast food is pure awesomeness. Day old tortillas are tossed into a frying pan with spicy sauces, and then slapped down on a platter with beans, cheese, and eggs. This is seriously the perfect breakfast food, and the thought of it alone has gotten me up and out of bed on many days in Mexico. Chilaquiles are also though to curb hangovers, so try it out and let me know if this works! More on Chilaquiles.

Aztec Soup- This soup was a surprise to me the first time I had it in Chiapas. I dipped my spoon into the bowel to find it full of soggy day old tortillas. Apart from the tortillas, this soup also had cheese, spices, and a few other treats thrown in. More about Aztec Soup.

Tacos- Perhaps the most famous of all Mexican foods, tacos are sold around the country. Generally, the meat for tacos are cut from large spits containing huge chunks of meat that spin in slow rotations before an open flame. Once a customer has their tacos dished up onto their plate they are generally free to add tomatoes, onions, radishes, and sauces from a common stock. A truly excellent and cheap food, tacos can often be had in Mexico at a rate of four or five for a dollar.

Chapulines- Very popular in Oaxaca, chapulines, or grasshoppers, make a great snack. They may sound disgusting at first, but these grasshoppers fried with plenty of spices present a taste, once acquired, is difficult to resist. More on Chapulines.

Photos of Mexican food

Chilaquiles Mexican food

Chilaquiles, an excellent breakfast food in Mexico

Photo of Aztec soup

Aztec soup in Chiapas, Mexico

Photo of a coconut stuffed lime

Coconut stuffed limes are a Mexican delicacy

Photo of chapulines, grasshoppers

Chapulines, or grasshoppers, Mexican food

More on Mexico

More information about finding cheap food when traveling

Read more about Mexico on the travelogue

Travelogue entries about Mexico

Mexico Travel Guide

Mexico Travel Guide

More Vagabond Journey.com Travel Guides

Ask questions or add comments about Mexican food

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Filed under: Food, Mexico

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3134 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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