Mexico City is a food lover’s paradise. With Mexican cuisine recognized by UNESCO as an internationally-significant part of human culture, there’s an unsurprisingly wide variety of traditional Mexican dishes that are sure to delight even the most discerning palate.
No matter how much of a foodie and connoisseur you are, your first visit to Mexico will surely be an unforgettable experience. From the iconic tacos al pastor to rich and flavorful mole sauces, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant and culturally rich city.
Here is a list of 16 iconic foods to try in Mexico City, each with a short description of what to expect.
And if you’ll be in town and fancy exploring the city’s gastronomy in the company of passionate, expert local guides, consider joining Sabores for one of our Mexico City Food Tours.
1. Tacos al pastor
Thinly sliced pork marinated in a blend of spices and cooked on a vertical spit. The tacos are then topped with pineapple and served on a small corn tortilla.
Tacos al pastor is one of the most popular street foods in Mexico City, and for good reason. The tender pork combination, the pineapple’s sweetness, and the tortilla’s warmth make for an unbeatable flavor experience. If tacos are among your favorite dishes, consider joining us on our popular Taco Tour of Mexico City.
A traditional soup or stew made with hominy (dried corn kernels that have been treated with an alkali), meat (usually pork), and various seasonings and garnishes.
Pozole is a comforting and satisfying dish perfect for a cold day or when you’re under the weather. The combination of the tender meat, the chewy hominy, and the rich broth make for a filling and delicious meal.
A traditional Mexican dish made of masa (corn dough) filled with meat, cheese, or sweet fillings and steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf.
Tamales are a staple of Mexican cuisine and are often served as a breakfast or lunch dish. The steaming process gives the masa a slightly sweet and savory flavor, while the fillings add a depth of flavor and texture.
Esquites are a delicious street food that consists of cooked corn kernels mixed with various ingredients such as lime juice, chili powder, mayonnaise, and cotija cheese. The combination of flavors and textures in this dish is simply divine – the sweetness of the corn is balanced by the tangy lime juice and creamy mayonnaise, while the chili powder adds a spicy kick. The cotija cheese adds a salty, slightly tangy flavor that ties everything together perfectly. Esquites are typically served in small cups, making them a perfect snack to enjoy while exploring the vibrant streets of Mexico City. We sample delectable esquites on our Coyoacan Food Tour.
Grilled corn on the cob, often served with mayonnaise, chili powder, and cotija cheese. Elote is a popular street food in Mexico City and is a great way to enjoy the flavor of fresh corn.
The mayonnaise, chili powder, and cotija cheese add a creamy and spicy twist, making this dish one of the most popular in the city.
A deep-fried dough pastry is often served with a chocolate dipping sauce. Churros are a popular sweet treat in Mexico City, perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth.
The dough is deep-fried to a golden brown and then drizzled with a chocolate sauce for a decadent finish. If you always gravitate toward sweet dishes, our Friends & Chocolate Tour is for you – uncover the fascinating story of Mexican chocolate.
A fried or toasted tortilla topped with beans, cheese, meat, and various salsa. Tostadas are a popular and versatile dish in Mexico City and can be found at street vendors and restaurants alike. They can be filled with a variety of ingredients, making them perfect for a quick and satisfying meal. Tostadas are enjoyed on our popular Coyoacan Food Tour.
A rich, flavorful sauce made from a blend of spices, chili peppers, and chocolate, typically served over chicken or pork. Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce that is often served over chicken or pork.
The sauce is made by blending various spices, chili peppers, and chocolate and is known for its depth of flavor and complexity.
A Mexican dish made of a tortilla filled with cheese, and sometimes meat and vegetables, then folded in half and cooked on a griddle or comal.
Quesadillas are a simple but delicious dish found at street vendors and restaurants throughout Mexico City.
The cheese filling adds a creamy and rich flavor to the dish, while the crispy tortilla provides a satisfying crunch.
A Mexican sandwich made with a telera roll filled with meat, cheese, avocado, beans, and other toppings. Tortas are a popular and satisfying sandwich option in Mexico City, often served as a hearty lunch or dinner option.
The telera roll is soft and fluffy, while the fillings add a variety of flavors and textures to the sandwich.
You must try conchas if you have a sweet tooth and are in Mexico City. Conchas are a popular Mexican sweet bread shaped like a seashell with a crunchy, sweet topping that resembles a shell. The bread is soft, fluffy, and slightly sweet, with a hint of vanilla.
The topping is made from a mixture of sugar, butter, and flour, giving the bread a delightful crunch and caramelized flavor. Conchas are often enjoyed as a breakfast pastry, paired with hot coffee or hot chocolate. They can also be found in various flavors like chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.
Corn tortillas are topped with meat or cheese with chili sauce and then baked. Enchiladas are a popular Mexican dish often served as a main course.
The combination of the tender filling, the spicy sauce, and the melted cheese make for a satisfying and flavorful meal.
A type of sandwich made with a roll dipped in a chili sauce and filled with potatoes, chorizo, and cheese. Pambazo is a popular street food in Mexico City and is known for its bold and spicy flavor.
The roll is dipped in a chili sauce and then filled with a combination of potatoes, chorizo, and cheese, making for a hearty and satisfying sandwich.
14. Huevos Rancheros
A traditional Mexican dish of fried eggs served on a corn tortilla and topped with a tomato-chili sauce and cheese. Huevos Rancheros is a popular breakfast dish in Mexico City, often served as a hearty and satisfying option.
The eggs are cooked to perfection, and the sauce and cheese add a flavorful and spicy kick to the dish.
Carnitas is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of slow-cooked pork that is shredded and served as a filling for tacos.
The slow-cooked pork is tender and flavorful, and is a popular option for a satisfying and hearty meal.
A dish typically made of raw fish marinated in lime juice and mixed with diced tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers.
Ceviche is a popular dish in Mexico City, often served as a light and refreshing option. The raw fish is marinated in lime juice, giving it a tangy and flavorful taste, while the diced tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers add a touch of freshness and heat to the dish.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about some of the iconic foods to eat in Mexico City. Whatever your taste, you’ll find rewarding dining experiences when traveling in Mexico! And remember, many of the above dishes can be tried on our Mexico City Food Tours.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.