Foodies rejoice! Mexico City is a culinary paradise that's ready to delight you with rich flavors and fresh local ingredients. Mexican food is routinely ranked as one of the most delicious in the world, so what better place to sample it than the country's bustling capital?
From delectable tacos to succulent tamales, this article will introduce you to the most popular foods in Mexico City. Wondering where the best local eateries are hidden? Get in touch with our Mexico City private guides to find all the hidden culinary gems!
Tacos al pastor
Elton Rodriguez, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Barbacoa is a hearty filling that's used in many Mexican dishes. It is usually made using slow cooked lamb, goat, or beef. The meat is cooked with an assortment of spices until it is very tender. Depending on the amount and intensity of the chilies used, barbacoa can be quite spicy so proceed with caution! Barbacoa is thought to originate from the Caribbean and was traditionally cooked in a hole in the ground. The tender meat dish is usually accompanied by cilantro, lime, onions, and salsa. Stop by Barbacoa Renatos or México Lindo Barbacoa for some great examples of this dish, or ask your Mexico Tour Guide for more options.
CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
If you're looking for a dish that has its roots deep in local traditions, we recommend trying tlacoyos. This much beloved Mexican dish is thought to date back to the pre-Hispanic era, with links to the Mayan and Aztec kingdoms. Sampling this yummy dish is the most delicious way to feel history come alive! So what are tlacoyos exactly? Essentially, this is an oval-shaped cake that's made out of maize dough (also known as masa) and stuffed with cheese, beans, and/or your choice of meat. The combination is truly to die for, and Tlacoyos are a popular snack that are sold by street vendors throughout Mexico City.
Chiles en nogada
CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Torta de Tamal is the perfect treat when you find yourself craving some carbohydrates. Also known as guajolota, torta de tamal is another popular street food that's unique to Mexico City. It is commonly eaten as a breakfast food, and brings together two staples of Mexican cuisine. Here, a torta sandwich is stuffed with a tamal - a masa-based roll stuffed with a mix of meat, vegetables, spices, and herbs. It is a hearty dish to enjoy first thing in the morning… a true breakfast of champions!
Mole is a rich sauce that's prevalent throughout Mexico - so much so that several different regions claim to be the original birthplace of the delicacy. There are many different varieties of mole which vary in their texture and specific flavor profile. Most mole recipes have a few things in common. Typically, they all feature a very long list of ingredients (usually around 20 or so) and require a long cooking time. This means that preparing mole is quite the endeavor so it really pays off to order it in a restaurant rather than cooking it at home. The most well-known variety is arguably mole poblano which originates from the city of Puebla. This rich sauce is a combination of several spices, chilies, and chocolate!
This hearty snack is perfect for fueling up while out and about in Mexico City. Tlayudas are a staple of Oaxacan cuisine which is one of Mexico's most important culinary traditions. Tlayudas consist of a thin, toasted tortilla that's topped with a delicious mix of refried beans, shredded meat, avocado, salsa, and Oaxaca cheese. Also known as quesillo, Oaxaca cheese is a local cheese with a texture that's similar to mozzarella. Though tlayudas originates from Oaxaca, they are widely available in Mexico City as well. You will find vendors selling them on street corners throughout the metropolis. Venues such as Tlayudas el Tasajo and Comida Oaxaqueña are well known for their Tlayudas offerings.
Besides offering iconic landmarks and hidden gems, Mexico's capital city is also bursting with delicious flavors and unique dishes that are just waiting to be explored. We hope this guide has given you some inspiration. If you'd like more help planning your culinary tour of Mexico City, get in touch with one of our Mexico City private tour guides. You can also take a look at our selection of Mexico City tours, and remember to keep in mind that all our tours are fully customizable, meaning you'll be able to curate an experience that ticks all your boxes.