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Top 8 Most Popular Foods In Mexico City

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by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Pia V.

Last updated : May 16, 20248 min read

Food & Drink

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!

1. Tacos al pastor

 

You can't visit Mexico without sampling some tacos! In Mexico City, the most popular version of this beloved dish is called tacos al pastor. This type of taco is filled with slow roasted pork and pineapple. While it might sound like a quirky combination, it's actually a match made in culinary heaven! The cooking method of the pork is inspired by the conelike shawarma, which was introduced to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. Besides pork and pineapple, you can top off your taco with salsa, cilantro (a staple in the local cuisine), and many other condiments. Tacos al pastor are sold in restaurants and street carts throughout the city. We suggest checking out Tacos El Huequito or San Taco, or asking your Mexico City tour guide for their personal recommendation!

 

2. Barbacoa

 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.

 

3. Tlacoyos

ProtoplasmaKid, 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.

 

4. Chiles en nogada

 

Without a doubt, Chiles en nogada is one of the most unique looking Mexican dishes out there! The dish is instantly recognizable by the white walnut sauce that's dotted with bright red pomegranate seeds. Beneath this extravagant façade is a poblano pepper that's stuffed with a flavorful mix of meat and spices. It is not a coincidence that the dish prominently features the colors of the Mexican flag with green pepper, white sauce, and red pomegranate seeds. For the same reason, chiles en nogada is a popular dish to be served during the Mexican day of independence, which takes place on September 16th.

 

5. Pambazo

 

Pambazo is one of the most delicious street foods available in Mexico City. This is the city’s own unique take on a traditional torta, which is basically a Mexican sandwich. Pambazo is essentially bread that's stuffed with a yummy mix of potato and chorizo sausage, though the exact content might vary from vendor to vendor. The bread is then dipped in a special chili sauce and fried to perfection. The guajillo sauce gives pambazo a spicy twist that might come as a shock at first - but will also leave you craving seconds! Check out El pambazo loco for some great examples of this dish.

 

6. Torta de Tamal

 Ukaizen, 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!

 

7. Mole

 

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!

 

8. Tlayudas

 

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.

Conclusion

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.

Mexico City Tour Guide - Oskar enrique M.

Oskar enrique M.

5.00 / 5
(22 reviews)
Mexico

I have been a volunteer local guide since 2018, during that time I have met people from all around the world which taught me a lot to interact with all kinds of people as well as to show my city in an authentic and interesting way. I like taking people to places that show the other Mexico city's face, a closer perspective to how its inhabitants live it day by day. History and photography are my other two great passions                                                                                                                                 

Mexico City Tour Guide - Jazmín C.

Jazmín C.

5.00 / 5
(4 reviews)
Mexico

Born and raised in the vibrant heart of Mexico City, I've always been captivated by the ancient wonders and rich cultural tapestry that our country has to offer. My journey led me to study archaeology and become a certified tourist guide, driven by a passion for uncovering the hidden stories of pre-Colonial art and worldviews. In 2018, I proudly earned my Master's Degree in Mesoamerican Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). It was during this time that my love and passion for Mexico and its ancient cultures inspired me to create unforgettable archaeological and adventure tours in the Riviera Maya and Mexico City. My mission is clear - I aim to ignite interest and awareness about Mexico's rich historical, cultural, and natural heritage. That's why, with a commitment to preserving our heritage, my friends and I started our own project. In our project, we're on a mission to share the magic of Mexico with travelers who crave more than just a typical tourist experience. Our tours, led by passionate experts, promise to immerse you in the captivating history, art, and natural beauty of Mexico. Whether you're a history buff, art enthusiast, or nature lover, we have a unique adventure waiting for you. Join me for an unforgettable journey that transcends traditional tourism. Let's explore ancient wonders, create lasting memories, and support sustainable tourism. Book your adventure today and be a part of preserving Mexico's roots for generations to come. Come, let's make history together with us: Where the tourist becomes a traveler"!                                                                                                                                 

Mexico City Tour Guide - Hilary D.

Hilary D.

5.00 / 5
(3 reviews)
Mexico

Hello! My name is Hilary I have a degree in Tourism and I am certified as a tour guide by the Ministry of Tourism in Mexico, I have done this for 4 years. To make friends and show my country's best places is what I love. Support and help and be there for my tourists, that is my passion! I propose the most visited places in the city, those are wonderful places but I'd enjoy if you take off the beaten path, let me know your preferences, We could create together the perfect tour for you. I understand you are in Mexico probably just for once in your life so let's do together a truly unforgettable experience. Welcome to Mexico.                                                                                                                                 

Mexico City Tour Guide - Alex V.

Alex V.

Mexico

Hi guys, it's Alex here! ✌️ For over 5 years, I and my colleagues have been organizing tours to some of the most incredible places in and around Mexico City. As a team of local guides, we aim to help travelers discover our beautiful city and its surroundings in the most interactive, authentic, and fun way. In our tours, we strive to do things differently: avoid tourist traps, go off-the-beaten paths, interact with locals, learn about their traditions, and connect with their core values. So, if you want wanna discover Mexico from a local perspective, and get to know its history, culture, gastronomy, and nature, consider hiring us as your guides. Be sure, we will make your experience in Mexico City unforgettable!                                                                                                                                  

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