One of Mexico's biggest drawcards is its food and drink. From Oaxaca's indigenous staples to the sizzling street food of Mexico City, there's almost too much choice for the hungry traveller. By the end of your Mexico tour you'll know your tacos from your tamales, your enchiladas from your elote and your tequila from your mezcal.
A fun name for a fun food, chilaquiles are pieces of tortilla that have been fried up and cooked in salsa to soften them up. They’re usually served us a side with refried beans or eggs, for example, and are also known as a bit of a hangover cure.
Translating as ‘toasted’, tostada refers to various Mexican dishes that make use of a toasted tortilla. They can be used as an accompaniment or as the main event, topped with beans, meat, salsa, cheese and sour cream.
Tacos al pastor
These mouth-watering tacos translate as tacos ‘in the style of the shepherd’, a nod to the Mexicans adapting the lamb shawarma from Lebanese immigrants. Think thin strips of pork marinated in chilli and spices, sometimes with a pineapple on top. Add salsa and – perhaps controversially – some coriander and you’ve got a global favourite.
You’ll like elote a lot, hey. This Mexican street corn is grilled and coated with spices, lime and plenty of cheesy goodness, culminating in an unforgettable street snack that almost qualifies as a serve of vegetables.
What can’t the humble corn tortilla achieve? An enchilada is a tortilla wrapped around your filling of choice then smothered in cheese and sauce and baked in the oven.
Mole – pronounced mol-ay – is a traditional Mexican sauce that actually refers to a number of sauces. It’s thick, it’s tasty and you’ll find it lathered on plates from Tijuana to Tapachula.
The origins of the tamale date back centuries to the Mesoamerican period. This simple dish of corn dough wrapped in a plantain leaf and steamed or boiled is often dressed up with the addition of meat and mole (sauce). Don’t forget to remove the leaf before eating.