A top contender for the world’s most delicious destination and home to some of Latin America’s most sought after foods everMexico is a great place to eat!

But what’s on offer in this diverse country versus what you might have grown accustomed to chowing down on at your local Tex Mex burrito bar are probably very different dishes indeed. From region to region, what’s cooking in the pot and served on the plate varies greatly depending on regional crops, climate, and culture. In fact, like the great culinary traditions of France, Mexico’s distinctive cuisine has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Making a move to Mexico City? Expect super cheap street eats and exquisite upscale fine dining (still at relatively affordable prices) to compete for your mealtime attention – with both wowing your taste buds to the max. Craving something crazy good during your Cancun beach break? Go for the seafood – and expect a top quality variety of restaurants serving authentic dishes from throughout Mexico. Exploring Jalisco? Be sure to know what bites are best to take with your shots of locally distilled tequila.

To help you make the most of every meal in magnificent Mexico, have a look at this list of top Mexican dishes.

1.) Mole Poblano

JuanSalvador / Shutterstock

JuanSalvador / Shutterstock

Mole poblano is Mexico’s national dish. With 20 or so ingredients, including chili peppers and cocoa, this deeply flavorful sauce often is served at celebrations such as weddings and Christmas throughout Mexico. Predating the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, different regions cook it different ways – or have their own other styles of mole, such as mole negro in Oaxaca. It’s generally accepted that the original mole poblano was made in the state of Puebla, where it is still prepared for pride and widely considered to be the best place to enjoy it in the country.

2.) Chiles en Nogada

Chiles en nogada is another fabulously tasty dish with its origins in the state of Puebla. Shredded meat and green chilies cooked with herbs, fruits and spices topped with a walnut cream sauce and pomegranate seeds – yum! Look to have it during Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

3.) Tacos

Timolina / Shutterstock

Timolina / Shutterstock

This is the king of street food, comprised of a tortilla (usually corn) folded or rolled with all sorts of good stuff inside. You’ll find them across Mexico, varying in style and ingredients, but they’re all delicious! Fish tacos are what you sink your teeth into when you’re in Baja California. In Centra Mexico, go for the tacos al pastor, pork tacos with slow cooked meat from a spit (like a shawarma) seasoned with dried chilies, various spices, and pineapple.

4.) Birria

This super spicy stew from the state of Jalisco (home of tequila) is made with goat meat or mutton, and is fabled to be the perfect cure for a hangover.

5.) Huachinango a la Veracruzana

A classic fish dish from the Gulf Coast region of Veracruz, key ingredients include red snapper served whole and gutted over roasted potatoes and/or white rice with a sauce of olives, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and jalapenos – and often capers and raisins too.

6.) Barbacoa

Barbacoa (from which America style BBQ derives) is meat cooked slow and at low temperature over a wood fired pit. It could be any range of meat, but is usually mutton, goat, or beef.

7.) Pozole

Mauricio Avramow / Shutterstock

Mauricio Avramow / Shutterstock

Many Americans will recognize this traditional soup for its main ingredient: hominy. The soup is made with hominy and usually chicken in a light broth with chilies, onion, garlic, limes, and potentially a range of other seasonings.

Vamos!

There’s so much more to Mexican cuisine than these seven dishes – and we didn’t talk at all about all the amazing beverages to enjoy! But we hope we’ve whet your appetite with this teaser menu of buenas comidas. What’s the first thing you want to eat once you embark upon your own Mexican foodie adventure? Let us know in the comments!

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About The Author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.