If you don’t know your tacos from your tamales, you may understandably be a little nervous about dining out in Mexico from your Riviera Maya villa or luxury rental in Puerto Vallarta.

This quick guide to the most common Mexican dishes will help you order from the menu with confidence. Remember to order how hot you would like your dish to be: mild (suave), medium (medio picante) or spicy (picante).

Although there are some regional dishes, a lot of Mexican cuisine is standard, from Cabo San Lucas on Baja California Sur to the popular Yucatan Peninsula and Punta Mita.

Here are some common Mexican foods you should definitely try during your vacation in Mexico.

What Are Chilaquiles?

Traditional Mexican breakfast is a little different from cornflakes and waffles! If you want to eat cheap near your Puerta Vallarta villa rental, order this tasty breakfast dish. Corn tortillas (like Doritos) are topped with red or green salsa (mild-to-spicy sauce) topped with scrambled eggs, pulled chicken, grated cheese, and cream. If you order a side of frijoles (refried beans) you will be full for the day!

What Is A Pozole?

Pozole is an ancient meat soup/stew. Pork, chicken or vegetables are cooked slowly with hominy corn, herbs, and spices. It is garnished on top with a sprinkling of lime, chili, onion, radishes, and shredded lettuce. Hearty and very filling!

What Are Tacos?

Tacos are simply edible outers made of corn or wheat flour and then cupped, folded or rolled to hold the filling. Soft tacos (tortillas) are like pancakes, while hard tacos (tostadas) are fried hard into a bowl-shaped shell or U-shape to make easy finger food.

Taco fillings include minced beef, chicken or pork, seafood, vegetables, and cheese. They are garnished as usual with avocado/guacamole, salsa, chili peppers, cilantro (coriander), tomatoes, onion, and lettuce. 

One of Mexico’s most traditional dishes is Tacos al Pastor. Soft corn tortillas are covered with sliced pork cooked donor-kebab-style on a vertical rotisserie. Onions, coriander leaves, and pineapple are added and then the taco is rolled for eating.

What Are Burritos?

Burritos are very similar to soft tacos. However, the soft corn taco or tortilla is wrapped around the filling to completely enclose the contents, making it a popular dish for workers to eat while still working. 

What Is Elote?

Sold on street stalls around Puerta Vallarta and other Mexican cities, elote is sweet corn. It is broiled or grilled and served on a wooden skewer for easy eating. The corn is seasoned with salt, chili powder, lime juice and butter and served with sour cream or cheesy mayo for dipping. It’s a great snack.
Mexican enchiladas are corn tortillas rolled around a choice of meat, fish, cheese, beans, and vegetables and then covered with a chili pepper salsa. You may find them topped with frijolas (refried beans) in Mexican restaurants on the Riviera Maya, where they are often served for breakfast.

What Is Mole?

Mole is a rich sauce made by simmering peppers over a low heat for a long time. Mole poblano is a typical example, served over chicken or turkey to add flavor and bite. Guacamole is a sauce made from mashed avocados, often served with tortilla chips or as a bland side dish to complement spicy dishes.  

What Is Chiles en Nogada?

Chiles en Nogada is a very patriotic Mexican dish as it includes the three colors of the Mexican flag. Green comes from the poblano peppers which are very mild. These are filled with shredded spicy meat and fruits including chopped apples, pears, and peaches. The whole dish is topped with a white cream walnut sauce and sprinkled with tangy pomegranate seeds to complete the trio of red, green and white colors. It is most popular in pomegranate season from September through January.
¡Buen provecho!