Since 2010, Mexican gastronomy has been on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Heritage of Humanity. According to this institution, Mexico’s culinary heritage represents a complete cultural model, thanks to its ancestral culinary techniques, agricultural practices and community customs. These cultural practices of traditional cuisine, passed down from generation to generation, are now unavoidable throughout the world. Every year, the influence of Mexican cuisine on the international culinary scene becomes more and more apparent. By winning the hearts and stomachs of many countries, Mexican cuisine is growing in popularity.

1. Los Tacos

How could I start this article without mentioning the famous tacos? When you think of Mexico, tacos are one of the first things that come to mind. You can find them everywhere, in puestos (small street stands) or in restaurants in every city. Tacos consist of a tortilla with the meat of your choice (the most famous being tacos al pastor, made from pork), marinated with chilli pepper of course, vinegar, garlic, cumin and a courou paste (achiote), which gives the meat an orange-red color. The meat is then cut into small pieces and mixed with pineapple, onion and coriander, or you can add hot sauce (salsa verde or salsa roja).

2. Los tamales

Since Mayan times, tamal has been considered the ultimate street food dish. It is prepared by rolling out a dough made from corn flour and fat (traditionally lard in Mexico) on a corn husk, then stuffing it with stewed meat and steaming it. You can find tamales with cheese, spinach, fish, sweet corn, and on the Caribbean coast, they’re wrapped in banana leaves.

It’s clear that tamales are the staple of Mexican street food, and it’s impossible to miss these little treats, which are available everywhere from a small cart in the city to the depths of the jungle.

3. El ceviche

Ceviche is the signature recipe along the Caribbean coast, from the Gulf of Mexico to neighboring Belize. Originating in Peru, ceviche is mainly prepared with white fish, but there are also variations with shrimp or octopus. The recipe is quite simple: pieces of fish are “cooked” in a lime marinade.

They are then served cold with red onion, coriander, small pieces of tomato and avocado, all bathed in lemon. The ingredients can be varied, with the addition of mango, cucumber or chilli pepper for added variety!

4. Los esquites o elotes

Los Esquites, a food eaten as a starter, appetizer or snack, vary in preparation from region to region. Although the tradition of roasting or grilling corn kernels persists (hence the name “esquites”), the most common method today is to boil corn kernels in water with salt, epazote and other herbs, sometimes accompanied by pieces of chicken.

5. Las gorditas

There’s one dish that’s a must-try for visitors and locals alike: gorditas Savoring a Mexican culinary delight is truly a unique culinary experience. Gorditas, literally translated as “little plump ones”, are generous corn cakes stuffed with meat and cheese, topped with cilantro, chopped onions and salsa. A treat for the taste buds.

6. Las tortas y las quesadillas

Popular dishes include tortas, large sandwiches usually filled with beef or pork. Another popular dish is quesadillas, corn tortillas filled with melted cheese and served with either meat or vegetables (although it is possible to order without cheese).

7. Las enchiladas

Also widespread in Mexico, enchilada is a crêpe filled with beef, chicken or cheese simmered in a chile sauce with tomatoes and onions. It is sometimes served topped with sour cream.

8. Los tlacoyos

Tlacoyos are corn cakes stuffed with goat cheese, pinto beans or bean paste, and shaped like small boats. They are garnished with nopal (a local cactus), a vegetable of your choice, coriander, onions, cotija cheese and salsa. As for tlayudas, these are thin, crispy, grilled corn crackers topped with a thin layer of refried beans, shredded pork, chicken or steak, lettuce, onions, cilantro, cream and cotija cheese.

9. El pulque

In Mexico, there’s a local drink called pulque, made from maguey, a native cactus. This drink is fermented and has a viscous texture, which clearly makes it a distinctive taste that may require some getting used to. However, pulque is reputed to be consumed without harmful side effects. It can be enjoyed plain or dried, with different varieties of fruit adding a slight sweetness. Throughout Mexico City, you’ll find bars specializing in pulque, called “pulquerias”.

10. El mole

Chicken mole is a traditional Mexican dish distinguished by the addition of bitter cocoa to its sauce. This delicate, fragrant and original preparation is a real delight when combined with chicken.

The sauce is prepared by mixing spices, onion, peanuts, bitter cocoa, almonds, raisins and chicken stock. Once blended, it is filtered to obtain a smooth, homogenous texture.