Mexico’s food history stretches back into the distant past, to Mesoamerican roots. Over the centuries regional cuisines have flourished, each one entirely unique but drawing on a delicious mix of different cultural flavours and cooking traditions. This fusion of styles has led to the exciting, vibrant food culture that is found in Mexico today. Across the entire country, food lovers will delight in discovering world-class. Best City in Mexico for Foodies | Sabores México Food Tours ingredients, cooking techniques that stretch back generations, and plenty of innovation from young chefs continually pushing the boundaries. With a foodie culture as bold and original as Mexico’s, it is unsurprising that UNESCO decided to add Mexico’s food culture to their list of intangible cultural treasures (the first time a country’s cuisine made it onto the list). But with so much choice, where should foodies seek the best food in Mexico? Today we list our top picks for the best cities in Mexico for foodies. And while you’re here, why not browse our range of Mexico City Tours for Foodies, expertly curated food tours around Mexico’s capital city.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that our first pick is the nation’s capital. This buzzing city of 21 million people offers culinary experiences unlike anywhere else in the world. Mexico City is colorful, multicultural, confident, and soulful — and it’s all reflected in its food culture. Be sure to sample street foods (a central part of Mexican food culture), browse the city’s bustling food markets, and enjoy an evening meal in one of the city’s world-renowned restaurants. For a tasty breakfast on the go, try tamales, a corn husk wrap that can be stuffed with just about any filling that your heart desires. Similar dishes that can be picked up at food stalls across the city are tortas, tacos, and quesadillas. While these may be dishes you’re familiar with at home, you’ll experience them on another level in Mexico City!
Don’t miss pambazos, a to-die-for regional sandwich served on chilli-soaked bread. Then wash it all down with an agua fresca; these freshly made fruit-based drinks will delight the taste buds and give you enough energy to browse the city’s historic and famously lively markets. For evening dining, try a blend of Italian and Mexican styles at restaurants like Garum, or Rosetta. For unforgettable seafood, you can visit Contramar, a staple of the city’s restaurant scene. Or, if you want to experience exciting, contemporary Mexican cuisine inspired by traditional flavours, go to Pujol — currently ranked as the 12th best restaurant in the world! And for those who may want to delve deep into how Mexican food came to look the way it does today, why not take a look at our expertly curated Mexico City Food Tour in the Historic City Centre.
Second on our list is the beautiful city of Puebla. Just a couple of hours from Mexico City, Puebla is especially famous for mole poblano, one of Mexico’s national dishes. Mole is a sauce of ancient, pre-colonial origins and is prepared using chilli peppers, cocoa, and other ingredients. This dark, sticky sauce is nutty and earthy, yet sweet. You’ll find mole of the highest quality in Puebla and you’ll get to enjoy it in marvellous surroundings — the city has UNESCO World Heritage Status for its historic Spanish colonial architecture. Another famous dish from the area that you won’t want to miss is chiles en nogada, poblano chilis stuffed with picadillo and served under a walnut-based sauce; this dish is seasonal, typically served between mid-July and September.
Pronounced wah-HAH-kah, Oaxaca takes its name from the Nahuatl language. The area is famous for indigenous culture, with the Zapotecs, Mixtecs, and other native peoples have long inhabited the region. Like Puebla, Oaxaca has UNESCO World Heritage Status. But don’t let its historic buildings mislead you, Oaxaca is a vibrant city with excellent cafe culture. This color-drenched city hums with creativity and it’s no surprise that many rank Oaxaca as their favorite foodie spot in all of Mexico. You can find reasonably priced local dishes served from comedors (small dining rooms) dotted around the centre — establishments that offer authentic flavors and ever-changing menus that celebrate local ingredients currently in season. In Oaxaca, you will also want to ensure that you don’t miss the markets, where a rainbow of fresh produce and tantalizing aromas provide a feast for all the senses. Finally, the number one food you have to try in Oaxaca is tlayudas, often referred to as Mexican pizza. This delicious regional dish is a crisp tortilla topped with meat, cheese, salad, and the ubiquitous mole sauce.
As Mexico’s second-largest city and the capital of the Jalisco region, Guadalajara has a lot to offer visitors. The city’s recent rise has seen it branded ‘Mexico’s silicon valley’, but Guadalajara is still very much true to its roots — here is a city that blends the classic and the new. And this heady brew of tradition and innovation is certainly present in the city’s cuisine. Dive into the local flavours with a bowl of birria, a delicious goat stew (beef or mutton are also used) served with corn tortillas, minced onions, lime and cilantro. Another famous Guadalajara speciality is pozole, a soup or stew with origins stretching back to pre-Columbian times. This comforting dish is founded on a pork or chicken broth and cooked dried corn, to which a rojo, blanco, or verde salsa is then added — a Mexican classic. For those who enjoy a tipple, the Jalisco region is the home of tequila. Across Guadaljara you will find a mix of traditional cantinas and hip, youthful bars serving the drink straight or in colorful cocktails. And if you’re really passionate about the spirit, you can take a day trip out of Guadalajara for a tequila tour, visiting the lands of the blue agave fields.
Our final choice of top foodie city is Mérida. Having been named as the American Capital of Culture twice, Mérida tends to cast a spell over all who visit. Located on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mérida is situated within an area world-famous for its archaeological sites and Mayan history that stretches back nearly 5,000 years. But here you find a harmonious blend of the youthful and the ancient, the traditional and the cosmopolitan.
Food-lovers should add Mercado 60 to their to-do list. This trendy food hall is home to around 20 restaurants and makes for an excellent spot to try a variety of dishes. During the day, visit the famous Mercado Lucas De Galvéz and Mercado Santiago markets to sample seasonal exotic fruits and vegetables. Mérida specialities to seek out include cochinita pibil, papadzules, and marquesitas mayas. The most famous dish, though, is panuchos, a type of mouth-watering tostadas typically topped with shredded pork.
This brings to a close our list of best foodie cities in Mexico, and we haven’t even mentioned other stellar destinations like Tulum, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and San Cristobal. But we hope we’ve given you an appetite and inspired you to start planning your next trip! If you have any questions about this blog or our tours, please do not hesitate to contact us.