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Mexico has long been among the world’s most popular holiday destinations, attracting sun seekers and food lovers alike. If you’re lucky enough to be planning a trip, make sure you sample the best tastes and flavours the country has to offer with our roundup of the top 10 dishes to try while you’re there.
Don’t leave Mexico without trying…
Try making your own… chilaquiles
According to anthropologists, this pre-Hispanic soup was once used as part of ritual sacrifices. These days chicken, pork and vegetarian pozole versions are readily available in more everyday surroundings. Made from hominy corn with plenty of herbs and spices, the dish is traditionally stewed for hours, often overnight. Once it’s ready to serve, lettuce, radish, onion, lime and chilli are sprinkled on top.
3. Tacos al pastor
This historic dish is one of the most popular varieties of tacos, with origins dating back to the 1920s and 30s and the arrival of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants to Mexico. To create tacos al pastor (meaning ‘in the style of the shepherd’), thin strips of pork are sliced off a spit, placed on a corn tortilla and served with onions, coriander leaves and pineapple.
Try making your own… tostadas
5. Chiles en nogada
Boasting the three colours of the Mexican flag, chiles en nogada is one of Mexico’s most patriotic dishes. Poblano chillies filled with picadillo (a mixture of chopped meat, fruits and spices) represent the green on the flag, the walnut-based cream sauce is the white and pomegranate seeds are the red. Originating from Puebla, history relates that the dish was first served to Don Agustin de Iturbide, liberator and subsequent Emperor of Mexico.
Try making your own… elote
Try making your own… enchiladas
Try making your own… mole
Try making your own… guacamole
Watch our video guide on how to make the perfect guacamole:
Tamales were first developed for the Aztec, Mayan and Inca tribes who needed nourishing food on the go to take into battle. Pockets of corn dough are stuffed with either a sweet or savoury filling, wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks, then steamed. Fillings vary from meats and cheeses to fruits, vegetables, chillies and mole. Remember to discard the wrapping before eating!
Try making your own… tamales
Katja Gaskell is a freelance travel writer living in Mexico City. She has co-authored numerous travel guidebooks for Lonely Planet, scoured boutique hotels for Mr & Mrs Smith and is the co-founder of globetotting.com, a family travel website.
Are you a fan of Mexican cuisine? Do you agree with our selection or have we missed your favourite? Share your must-try dishes below…