Food is one of the first things we try and discover when traveling to new places. After all, food is part of one’s culture, and every trip will only be complete when we try the local food a place has to offer. As such, if you’re traveling to Mexico City, you may wonder about the best foods to try in the area.
With this in mind, we compiled the best authentic and original foods in Mexico City. This way, you can taste the city’s best dishes and learn more about the culture by tasting these delicacies.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
What Food Is Mexico City Famous For?
The thing about Mexico City is that it offers the best of Mexican Cuisine, boasting several dishes with various versions for each household.
Nonetheless, the city is famous for its street foods from authentic Mexican recipes. Among these are tortas, tlacoyos, tacos, and pambazo. It also boasts sweet delicacies such as churros, hot chocolate, and pan dulce.
Within Mexico City, you can find these foods in abundance. Many establishments have made Mexican cuisine items like these for over a century.
Of course, if you want the best versions of these dishes, you’ll have to get them at the best places. For this reason, you can read our list of the Top Restaurants in Mexico City.
17 Best Mexico City Food & Dishes to Try
Tacos Al Pastor
Tacos al pastor are famous tacos made with pork roasted on a spit in a similar style to shawarma. Most tourists would recognize this meal, which is so well-known that excluding it can be a gastronomic crime. Tacos al pastor are made with pork roasted slowly and prepared using Lebanese cooking techniques. Its rich, meaty composition makes it synonymous with street food in the city.
Barbacoa is a highly seasoned beef, goat, and lamb filler. Whenever you’re in the city, grab a few of these dishes. It is made with slow-cooked beef, goat, or lamb marinated in spices and chilis. While you can undoubtedly find barbacoa in the United States, Mexico City is where the authentic version is found.
Street vendors sell barbacoa, which can be used in various dishes, including tacos, tostadas, and salads. It is one of the most famous street foods in Mexico City.
Chicharrónes are crispy treats based on fried hog bellies or skin. In the city, it is among the best and universal Mexican treats. In the Roma district and the Centro Historico, it’s a favorite of both locals and visitors.
Street food stalls sell pork belly or skin as a quick snack with chili sauce, but it can also be used as a stuffing for gorditas and tacos. It is a tasty and functional ingredient.
Tlacoyos are fried, thick masa tortillas filled with cheese, beans, or meat. An excellent way to describe this dish is that it has an oval shape and a masa base, like huaraches. Furthermore, steak, cheese, and beans are included in them. Despite being made with unique blue corn masa, a huarache is much larger than a tlacoyo.
A street vendor often sells tlacoyos for lunchtime as another delicious treat. So if you’re not hungry but want to try huaraches, tlacoyos are a great alternative.
Chiles En Nogada
In Pueblan cuisine, Chiles En Nogada is chilis filled with poblano peppers and served with walnut sauce. The dish is stuffed with poblano peppers and Nogada sauce derived from walnuts. Chiles En Nogada is usually garnished with pomegranate seeds, so you’ll recognize them. Thanks to the red dots and white sauce on Top, it looks particularly appealing in photos.
The recipe originated in Puebla, about one hour west of the city proper, combining some incredibly distinct flavors. If you’re looking for some Instagram-worthy local food, order Chiles En Nogada. Chiles En Nogada is unique among all types of stuffed pepper meal dishes.
Esquites are a corn salad served with a cup and a corn-based street snack popular in Mexico. Cotija cheese and mayonnaise are commonly added to them, along with cilantro, spice powder, lime juice, and chili powder. With garnishes such as crushed jalapenos, Takis, and Cheetos, esquites can be taken to the next level. You can find delicious esquites at many locations in Roma Norte, including Esquite Dorado.
Among Mexicans, esquites are popular forms of street food. People usually think of tacos when discussing street food, but the locals enjoy esquites when hungry. For tourists just getting used to the city’s street food, esquites are a great starting point.
Tortas are traditional Mexican sandwiches with a variety of variations. Tortas are a trendy lunchtime street food in Mexico City. Sandwiches called tortas, famous in Mexico, are enjoyed in various flavors. They are usually served on fluffy buns with cheese, vegetables, and meat. Tortas, however, is nothing more than the fundamentals. Add hot peppers, salsas, bean spread, sour cream, and other ingredients to boost their flavor. In the city, a torta is the perfect quick lunch option.
A pambazo is a torta-like snack made with chorizo-stuffed potatoes and toast dipped in sauce. This torta is covered with spicy guajillo spicy sauce, which makes it a unique variety. Lastly, the sauce-filled bread contains a mixture of chorizo and potatoes. The sauce-covered carbs in this dish are lovely.
You can try this dish in the city in restaurants, but it’s often eaten on the streets. It is possible to find great pambazos in bustling districts such as the Centro Historico and more tranquil neighborhoods such as Escandon. Most people think pambazo is one of Mexico City’s most delicious street foods.
Atole is a warm, toasty traditional corn beverage with tacos. It consists of corn-based hot breakfast drinks. It may seem strange, but it is tasty, creamy, and warms you from the inside out.
Many street foods stand selling tamales offer a variety of roles. The perfect way to start the day in Mexico City is with a hot tamale and a cup of atole.
A gordita is a pocket dough filled with cheese, meat, vegetables, and other ingredients. Although the dish’s name may be familiar to US tourists who frequent a particular fast-food restaurant, the dish is vastly different from its counterpart in Mexico.
A gordita is a small tortilla pocket with ingredients like pulled pork and soft cheese. In some ways, it resembles a tortilla from Venezuela or Colombia. While touring the city, a gordita makes a great hand-held snack.
The tamale is a regional specialty prepared by steaming some cornmeal and frying it in a corn husk or a banana leaf. Mexico City has some superb examples and has become a global favorite. Traditionally, tamales are wrapped in cornmeal pastry and filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. You can choose between sweet or savory ones.
Corn husks or banana leaves are used to wrap the dish depending on the season. Moreover, the husks or banana leaves shield the snack from open flames, keeping all the liquids in the center.
Tamales are among the foods you can try from a restaurant or a street vendor. In the city, you’ll always find tamales made from scratch.
Traditionally, Chilaquiles are corn tortillas soaked in a sauce for breakfast. It consists of corn tortillas that have been cut into chips and tossed in either a green or red sauce. Garnishes can include sour cream, avocado, cheese, or anything. Although it’s a simple dish, it’s filled with flavor.
You can go right with a hot plate of chilaquiles, whether you’re looking for a deliciously indulgent dish or you’ve had too much fun in Mexico City’s nightlife.
Elote is a tasty corn-on-the-cob recipe with mayo, cotija cheese, chili powder, and other flavorful ingredients. Corn still on the cob is used rather than served in a cup in this dish, which is Esquites’ cousin. Despite its simplicity, corn in Mexico City is elevated by lime, mayonnaise, cotija cheese, and chili powder. However, that’s only the beginning. Elote can be eaten traditionally or customized by adding additional garnishes.
You can try a decent version of this dish in Roma Norte in a few distinct spots. As a street food in Mexico City, Elote will not disappoint anyone who tries a taste.
The Elote snack is an excellent option for a limited budget when touring the city. If you want to know if a trip to this city is affordable, read our article about Mexico City Vacations.
Pulque is a Mexican alcoholic drink created by fermenting a maguey sap. If you’re looking for a tasty local beverage, try pulque. In central Mexico, pulque is a liquor enjoyed since the first century CE. The drink tastes like kombucha; its color is milky, while its flavor is fermented and sour.
Even though several cups of pulque or more is supposed to make you dizzy, it won’t cause you to get drunk. It is therefore recommended that you limit yourself to three drinks per day.
Enchiladas Suizas are enchiladas made from chicken with rich salsa from tomatillos. It is translated as Swiss Enchiladas. A meal was created because Swiss immigrants brought some recipes to Mexico.
Suizas enchiladas are made with rolled-up corn tortillas and the same filling as classic enchiladas. Often, the center contains shredded chicken. It makes a difference what sauce is used. This dish is famous for its creamy tomatillo sauce served with enchiladas.
This rich and satisfying meal makes it perfect after an entire day filled with activities.
Pozole is a Mexican stew with pork, hominy, and red chilis. Finding a nation with its fabled soup is almost only possible. The Pozole stew is one of Mexico’s must-try dishes.
The main ingredients in pozole are red chilis, juicy meat, usually hominy, and pork. Corn kernels that have been dried out are the basis of hominy. In addition to the cabbage, avocado, radishes, and salsa, the soup is garnished with ingredients before consumption.
Cooked this way, you’ll get a rich, warming stew perfect for getting through a cold. Also, numerous food carts sell pozole along the streets beside restaurants.
Chapulines are smoky, crispy delicacies with an unexpected component. Eating Chapulines may be unsettling for many Americans, but the risk is worth it. Chapulines are toasted grasshoppers spiced with spices. In Oaxaca, farmers catch grasshoppers during summer and fall to meet Mexico City’s demand.
This insect tastes and feels just like a freshly baked potato chip. Furthermore, they contain a high amount of protein.
Often served with guacamole and corn tortillas, Chapulines make a delicious and unique pairing. In Mexico City, Chapulines are the perfect snack if you can look past the idea of eating an exoskeleton.
Mexico City boasts many authentic dishes from its culture. As such, you must try and discover it whenever you set foot in the city. With this list, you’ll have the best options and starting points.
Food is one of the best aspects of learning about a culture of a particular place. As such, you’ll surely enjoy any of these dishes no matter where you’re from. To know more about the city, check out the best Things to See and Do in Mexico City.