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10 Delicious Foods to Eat While You’re in Mexico

Mexico isn’t all sandy beaches and ancient ruins— it’s also a hotspot for some of the best cuisine you’ll ever taste! And trust us when we say that authentic Mexican food is so much more than just tacos and burritos (which are already delicious enough). You’ll soon find that good food is serious business in Mexico. Your cruise to this foodie paradise will be a great chance to try some of their best flavors for yourself! From tasty street food made with fresh ingredients to delectable renditions of classic comfort dishes, you won’t want to miss out on these 10 popular Mexican foods during your travels.

carnival dream docked in cozumel, mexico

Mexican Birria
Though birria has always been a staple of authentic Mexican food, it’s seen a recent rise in popularity that has introduced countless new foodies to its delicious taste. Birria is a Mexican stew made from meat (usually either goat or lamb) that has been seasoned and braised to perfection. The stew can also include dried chilis, lime, and Mexican oregano and cinnamon.

Fun Fact:
Birria comes from the northern Mexican region of Jalisco.

Birria Stew
This tasty dish is made of two thick corn tortillas, stuffed with delicious Mexican fillings like meat, cheese, beans and anything else you could think of! Gorditas are a popular Mexican street food for both their simplicity and taste.

Fun Fact:
“Gordita” translates to “little fatty” in Spanish, referring to the round, thick shape of the tortillas.

You didn’t think we’d leave out sweets, did you? Though originally hailing from Spain, churros have become a cornerstone of Mexican dessert. There’s a good chance you’ve tried them at home, but savoring a fresh, hot churro with a side of chocolate just feels different when you’re in Mexico!

Fun Fact:
Though their origins are slightly contested, churros were introduced to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th century.


Tacos al pastor

This popular taco dish is a far cry from the tacos you might have tried anywhere else. The recipe is rooted in history and features thinly sliced pork, slow-roasted over a spit along with pineapple, coriander leaves, and onions, all served on a corn tortilla.

Fun Fact:
“Tacos al pastor” means “in the style of the shepherd.” This is thought to stem from the way the marinated pork is traditionally cooked on a vertical spit, which resembles the method shepherds in Mexico used to roast meat over an open flame.

authentic mexican al pastor tacos


Stale tortillas never go to waste as they can be used to make tostadas, which are essentially fried tortillas. These are typically served with cheese, meats, vegetables, and a number of garnishes. A plate of tostadas can often be quite filling, so you may want to share!

Fun Fact:
Tostadas are thought to have originated from Mesoamerican civilizations thousands of years ago.


Breakfast in Mexico is a big deal, and usually the largest meal of the day. Chilaquiles, one of the most popular breakfast dishes, feature lightly-fried tortillas cut into smaller pieces. They are then topped with salsa and a bevy of breakfast foods such as eggs, cheeses, cream, or chicken and served with a generous side of refried beans, also called frijoles.

Fun Fact:
“Chilaquiles” is derived from the ancient Aztec Nahuatl word for “chilis and greens.”

chilaquiles dish

Chiles en nogada

This dish is as patriotic as it is tasty. The ingredients come together to represent the colors of the Mexican flag and include a mouthwatering mixture of fruits, spices, and chopped meat. The mixture is stuffed into Poblano chiles (the green in the flag), which is then drizzled with a walnut-based cream sauce (the white), and pomegranate seeds sprinkled atop the dish represent the red color in the Mexican flag.

Fun Fact:
Chiles en nogada were first made by Augustinian nuns who were asked to create a patriotic dish to celebrate Mexican independence and the arrival of Mexican Emperor Agustín de Iturbide.

chiles en noagada dish


This is a rich, spicy, and extremely popular soup made from hominy corn. It is most often stewed overnight with a wide variety of herbs and spices, together with chicken, pork or vegetables. When ready to be served, it is accompanied by onions, radishes, limes, lettuce and chilies.

Fun Fact:
“Pozole” also comes from the ancient Aztec Nahuatl language, meaning “hominy” or “foamy.” Hominy is a key ingredient of traditional Pozole preparation, and is made from the shelled, dried kernels of field corn that have been soaked in a mineral-lime mixture.


A wide variety of enchiladas can be found in Mexico. They’re made with either a corn or flour tortilla and then stuffed with various ingredients, such as meat, seafood or vegetables. A chili sauce is often drizzled over the enchiladas and then topped with garnishes. Enchiladas are often consumed for breakfast in Mexico, though they’re delicious at any time of day!

Fun Fact:
Enchiladas were featured in the very first Mexican cookbook published in 1831.

enchiladas in a cast iron pan


Tamales are a great example of Mexican street food, though you will find them in many restaurants as well. Consisting of steamed pockets of dough made from corn and stuffed with a variety of fillings, they are usually wrapped in cornhusks or banana leaves when steamed. The fillings can include chilies, vegetables, meats, fruits and cheeses.

Fun Fact:
Tamales were originally eaten during religious and cultural celebrations by ancient civilizations like Aztecs, Maya and Olmecs.

authentic mexican tamales


At first glance, you may think corn on the cob or corn kernels served in a cup is nothing special. If it’s being served in Mexico, you’d be wrong! Elote translates to corn on the cob, but in Mexico, it is often served with an abundance of spices and garnishes. These can include lime, sour cream, salt, chili powder, cheese and other tasty ingredients.

Fun Fact:
Elote is one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

elote being prepared

Even though they don’t necessarily comprise a whole meal, you don’t want to miss out on some of the other tasty traditional Mexican food that can take your meal to the next level! Mole is a very rich sauce often used in Mexican cuisine made with different types of chili peppers and chocolate, often served over a variety of meats. As you may already know, guacamole is also a great accompaniment to many Mexican dishes! A good Mexican guacamole will contain mashed avocados (of course), along with onions, chili peppers, lemon juice, and tomatoes. Delish!

Whether you’re exploring authentic Mexican food at a cruise port or enjoying a bite at Carnival’s onboard BlueIguana Cantina, you won’t want to miss these 10 tasty dishes during your vacation! Click here to explore sailings to Mexico, and get ready to meet your new favorite flavors.