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A Guide to the Food of Mexico

If you are an adventurous eater who can handle a bit of spice, there is plenty to reward your palette in Mexico. Otherwise there are a few regular dishes that are always of a high standard, tasty and not too spicy.  Most menus usually specify if meals are spicy but if not the best thing to do is ask if a dish is spicy – “es picante?” Beware of small bottles or jars looking suspiciously like ketchup which more often than not contain very hot salsa such as “Salsa Habanera”, always try a small bit on the side before covering your whole meal!

It is always sensible on a Mayan Route Tour to be careful when trying food you are not accustomed to, especially for the first few days as your stomach will not be used to the new flavours and hot spices. Sometimes people get excited and rush straight in wishing to try the hottest thing on the menu! It’s true though, that most stomach trouble experienced by travellers on a Mexico self drive tour is Mexico is due to un-purified ice or from salad washed in un-purified water.  A good idea is to see where there are lots of locals eating as they are bound to know the tastiest place to eat!!  Make sure that food is piping hot and fresh if buying from street stalls and remember if it’s crowded it’s likely to be good!

Take it easy at first on your Mexico, Guatemala and Belize itinerary so you can then try some unique regional specialities which you wouldn’t find on a Mexican menu anywhere outside of Mexico.



General rule is the bigger the chili, the milder the flavour. Take care!

Habañero is small and ferociously hot.

Large Poblano chillies which are mild like peppers/capsicums are stuffed and served as a main course.


Avocado mashed with finely chopped onions, chillies, tomato and coriander.

Served as a dip with nachos or a side dish.


 Delicious pies, usually filled with meat.

Similar to our pasties but smaller.

Frijoles  (beans)

Mexican staple.

Can either be main ingredient in a meal or served as a side dish.

Different varieties of beans are most commonly boiled then refried.

Most people get put off by the appearance of refried beans but they are delicious!


Tostadas served loaded with salsa or sour cream as a snack or appetiser.

Served with refried beans, cheese, chillies, shredded chicken etc as a main meal.

Queso Fundido

Literally melted cheese, simple and tasty.

Served like a cheese fondue with mushrooms or peppers.

Pico de Gallo

Abasic salsa that is used as an all-purpose condiment on every table in Mexico.

Chopped Tomatoes, Jalapeno chilies, onion, garlic, coriander, lime juice.

Salsa Verde or Salsa Roja

Green or red sauce mixed with tomatoes, onions, red or green chilli and coriander.

Served as a dip or relish.

In Belize look out for Marie Sharp’s hot sauce, available in HotFind Article, Very Hot and Beware!!


Staple diet of all Mexicans.

Can be made from maize/corn which is common in the south or flour which is more common in the north.

Usually served with a meal like we have bread but also form part of many typical dishes.

Can be rolled and baked for enchiladas.

Can be fried for tacos.

Can be grilled for quesadillas.


A Mexican style sandwich.


Thin and crisp fried tortillas.

Served with nachos or dips as an appetiser.