Colombian Street Food: 25 Delicious Dishes and Drinks to Look For

I’m not going to lie, I’m a street food guy through and through. It’s what excites me most about any trip.

We spent over a month eating our way through Colombia, and while I did enjoy fine dining restaurants like Leo in Bogota, nothing revved me up more than the prospect of eating good Colombian street food.

From arepas de huevo in Cartagena to perros calientes in Medellin, if you’re visiting Colombia and have a passion for street food like I do, then this list of the best Colombian street foods will be very useful to you.


If you’re visiting Colombia and want to really learn about Colombian food, then we highly recommend joining a food tour or taking a cooking class.


  • Food Tours: Food and Drinking Tours in Colombia
  • Cooking Classes: Cooking Classes in Colombia

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this guide on popular Colombian street foods? Click on the save button and pin it for later!


1. Arepas

The arepa is perhaps the most important staple food in Colombian cuisine. Made with corn dough, it refers to a type of Colombian corn cake that’s eaten at practically every meal in Colombia. Order any traditional Colombian dish and chances are, it’ll be served with a side of arepas (among many other things).

Arepas are commonly eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but they’re also one of the most popular Colombian street foods. Here are two of my favorite versions:

Arepas de Huevo

When a Colombian college friend of mine saw that we were in Cartagena, the first thing she told me was: “You need to try arepa de huevo”. A quintessential street food in Cartagena, it’s a type of stuffed arepa that’s popular along the Caribbean coast of Colombia.

An arepa de huevo consists of a corn cake that’s been filled with ground meat and a raw egg and then deep-fried. It’s typically filled with both ground meat and egg, but you can get it with just egg as well. Just ask for an “arepa solo huevo” (pictured below).

Here’s what it looks like when filled with both ground meat and a fried egg. Commonly sold at street stalls throughout Cartagena, this tasty parcel of meat and egg turned out to be one of my favorite Colombian street foods. Don’t miss it!

Arepas de Queso

Just as popular as arepas de huevo are arepas de queso, or arepas filled with cheese. They’re a popular street food or breakfast treat consisting of arepas filled with butter and queso costeño, a salty and soft Colombian white cheese. You can think of it as the Colombian version of a grilled cheese sandwich.

I didn’t try it but I’ve seen arepas de queso topped with sweetened condensed milk as well. I believe that version is more commonly eaten for breakfast.

2. Empanadas

If you’ve been to any Spanish-speaking country, then chances are, you’ve had your fair share of empanadas.

Originally from Spain, this street food staple is commonly sold by street vendors in many countries throughout South America and Latin America like Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, and Chile. Thanks to the Spanish influence, it’s become a popular snack in the Philippines as well.

Empanadas come in many forms but in Colombia, they’re typically made with corn flour and almost always deep-fried. They can be filled with a variety of different ingredients like ground meat, shredded chicken, potatoes, cheese, and vegetables.

A hugely popular snack, it doesn’t matter where you are in Colombia – just walk around any busy area and it won’t be long before you find a street vendor selling delicious, golden brown empanadas.

3. Carimañolas

Popular in Colombia and Panama, the carimañola is another delicious street food snack that you need to try in Colombia. It’s similar to an empanada except it’s torpedo-shaped and made with mashed yuca (cassava) instead of corn flour, giving it a softer texture.

Like empanadas, carimañolas can be filled with a variety of different ingredients, most commonly ground meat, shredded chicken, and cheese.

4. Papas con huevo y carne

If arepas de huevo were my favorite afternoon snack in Cartagena, then papas con huevo y carne may have been a close second. Many street vendors sell both so my tasty arepa de huevo was frequently followed by one of these chunky hot fried papas.

As you can probably guess from its name, papas con huevo y carne refer to deep-fried balls of mashed potatoes filled with eggs and spiced ground meat. (Are you starting to notice a pattern here?)

5. Tamales Tolimenses

Tamales are a staple dish in many countries throughout South America, Latin America, and the Philippines. In Colombia, one particularly delicious version hails from the Tolima Department in the Andean region of the country, hence the name tamal tolimense.

Tamales tolimenses are loaded with ingredients like chicken, pork ribs, potatoes, peas, carrots, boiled eggs, and rice. They’re commonly eaten for breakfast in Bogota, often with a cup of chocolate santafreño (hot chocolate with queso campesino).

6. Bollo de Mazorca con Queso

If you like tamales, then you definitely need to try bollos de mazorca. They’re sweet corn rolls made with mashed or pureed corn that’s been wrapped in corn husks and then steamed. Unlike tamales which are made with nixtamalized corn, bollos de mazorca are made with fresh corn.

The version pictured below was served with cubes of white Colombian cheese, hence the name bollos de mazorca con queso.

7. Colombian Cheese Bread

In Cartagena, I often started my day with cheese bread and a cup of Colombian coffee. Visit a traditional bakery in any Colombian city and you’ll find different types of cheese bread. These are three of the most common.


The almojábana is perhaps the most well-known type of Colombian cheese bread. It’s made with cornmeal and cuajada cheese, a type of fresh cheese made with non-pasteurized milk.


Pandebono is similar to almojábana except it’s made with yuca flour, corn flour, and costeño cheese. Between the two, I actually prefer pandebono thanks to its springier texture from the yuca flour.


Ignoring the irregular shape, pandebono and pandeyuca are actually quite similar except the latter is made purely with yuca flour. This small difference yields a bread roll that’s much airier and drier than pandebono.

Of the three, I find pandeyuca to be the most interesting. You can’t tell from this picture but it’s almost completely hollow inside.

8. Buñuelos

The buñuelo is another Spanish street food snack that can be found in different forms throughout Latin America. Depending on where they’re from, they can be flat, round, ring-like, or even rosette-shaped.

In Colombia, buñuelos usually take the shape of a small ball or oval made with corn starch and yuca flour. They’re typically made with curd white cheese and deep-fried, though they can be filled with other ingredients as well like guava jam, arequipe (dulce de leche), and chocolate.

9. Dedo de Queso

Dedos de queso are among the most common Colombian street foods. It’s basically a Colombian cheese stick made with local white cheese. Dedo in Spanish means “finger”.

Dedos de queso are a common sight at street food stalls throughout Colombia. They can be made in different sizes. The one pictured below is fairly large but much smaller versions called deditos de queso (little fingers) are common as well.

10. Pinchos / Chuzos

Meat on a stick? Yes, please!

Pinchos or chuzos refer to Colombian meat skewers. Grilled over hot charcoal, they’re a popular street food and can be made with different types of meat like chicken, beef, pork, or sausages.

Behold this big pincho from a street vendor in Cartagena! He poured two sauces over the meats and stuck a hot potato at the end before serving.

11. Salchipapas

Salchipapa is a portmanteau word for salchicha (sausage) and papa (potato) – the two main ingredients in this popular street food dish. It’s originally from the streets of Lima, Peru, though it’s become popular in other parts of South America as well like Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, and Ecuador.

As its name suggests, salchipapa is made with sausages and french fries but it can contain many other ingredients as well. This overflowing bowl from a food hall in Medellin was topped with bacon, quail eggs, shredded cheese, cheese sauce, and barbecue sauce. Satisfying and seriously yummy.

12. Lechona Tolimense

If you’ve enjoyed roast pig in Spain, Latin America, or the Philippines, then the word lechon will already be familiar to you. It refers to a popular festival dish consumed in Spain and many of its former colonies.

In Colombia, it’s referred to as lechona tolimense. Largely associated with Tolima Department, it consists of a slab of pork fatback that’s been stuffed with chunks of pork, rice, peas, and spices. The stuffed pork is then baked in an oven for up to twelve hours until the skin becomes crackingly crisp.

We went on a food tour in Bogota and one of the stops was a hole-in-the-wall that served nothing but lechona. Being from the Philippines, I know lechon well and I can say that this Colombian version is delicious, especially when paired with some vinegar.

13. Cocteles

This Colombian street food dish called cocteles really surprised me. It surprised me because I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. It’s frikking delicious.

Cocteles are made with different types of seafood dressed in a cocktail sauce consisting of ketchup, hot sauce, mayonnaise, lime juice, onions, and cilantro. Coctel de camarones (shrimp) is the most common but it’s often made with crab, octopus, squid, clams, and sea snails as well.

A popular street food in Cartagena, cocteles are served in styrofoam cups with saltine crackers. They’re surprisingly tasty and easily one of my favorite Colombian street foods.

14. Patacones

Like arepas, patacones are among the most common side dishes in Colombian cuisine. They’re flattened discs of double-fried unripe plantains that are often served alongside larger Colombian meals. And like arepas, it’s also common to see them sold as street food.

Pictured below is a patacon topped with chicharron (fried pork belly) and a block of white cheese. This was filling enough, but if you’re really hungry, then you can order a patacon con todo. As its name suggests, it’s topped with a whole mess of ingredients like shoestring potatoes, sausages, chicharron, shredded chicken, cheese, and a fried egg.

15. Hormigas Culonas

This next Colombian street food is reserved for the more daring. Hormigas culonas literally means “big-assed ants”. It’s the perfect way of describing this species of large leaf-cutter ant (Atta laevigata) that’s been consumed by the Guane indigenous people of Santander Department for hundreds of years.

Hormigas culonas are harvested for about nine weeks during the rainy season. Based on what I’ve read, only the queens are harvested, presumably because only they have the large abdomens which make them suitable for consumption.

Not surprisingly, these large-bottomed ants are viewed as aphrodisiacs and have been traditionally given as wedding gifts.

These ants are huge! At first glance, they look too big to be ants.

Hormigas culonas can either be toasted or fried. I don’t remember which one we got but one was more expensive than the other. I think we may have gotten the toasted version.

Like cocteles, I was surprised by how good these ants were. I was expecting them to be tasteless but they were anything but. Hormigas culonas are shockingly tasty. They’re crunchy, nutty, almost chocolatey. They’re said to be highly nutritious too and make for a great snack with cold beer. Very addictive!

If you aren’t squeamish with your food choices, then I highly recommend picking up a pack of hormigas culonas. It’s definitely one of the more unique street foods you’ll find in Colombia.

16. Perros Calientes

There are hot dogs, and then there are Colombian hot dogs. Called perros calientes (literally, “hot dogs”), these local versions are among the most beloved Colombian street foods in Medellin, and probably unlike any hot dog you’ve ever seen.

What makes perros calientes different from their American counterparts are the toppings. Instead of the standard ketchup, mustard, and pickle relish, perros calientes are topped with a boatload of less conventional ingredients like ceviche, crab, shrimp in coconut sauce, refried beans, arugula, crushed potato chips, and shoestring potatoes.

After a night of partying in Medellin, nothing can satisfy your drunken cravings more than a perro caliente.

17. Mango Biche

There’s no shortage of tropical fruits in Colombia. Walk around the streets of Cartagena or Medellin and you’ll find lots of vendors selling fresh fruits like passion fruit, lulo, guava, and soursop. On our Bogota food tour, we even got to try some really exotic fruits that I unfortunately don’t remember the names of!

Some street vendors can turn them into fresh fruit juice but I prefer eating them sliced into chunks. My favorite is definitely mango biche. A popular street food in Cartagena, it refers to slivers of fresh green mango dressed with lime juice and salt.

If you like all things sweet and sour, then you’ll surely enjoy mango biche.

18. Cocada

This traditional candy made with shredded coconut and sugar was one of my favorite street foods in Colombia. It exists in many variations and flavors not just in Colombia, but throughout Central and South America. We even have something very similar in our native Philippines called bukayo.

Of all the cities we visited in Colombia, cocada was most popular in Cartagena. You’ll find a row of street vendors at Plaza de los Coches selling different types of dulces tipicos (typical sweets), one of the most popular being cocada.

I bought one at least once a day everyday while we were there and it brought me back to my childhood every time.

19. Bocadillo

If cocada were my favorite Colombian candy, then bocadillo would be a close second. Consumed in many Latin American countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Panama, it’s made with guava pulp and panela (unrefined cane sugar) that’s been condensed into a bite-sized snack.

In Colombia, bocadillo is often paired with salty white cheese. The version pictured below has been combined with arequipe to make a delicious and highly addictive Colombian treat.

20. Brevas con Arequipe

Interesting dishes like brevas con arequipe are precisely why we enjoy going on food tours – you learn about obscure local dishes and drinks that you wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

Brevas con arequipe is a traditional Colombian snack consisting of cooked figs stuffed with dulce de leche. It’s an interesting combination of sweet, creamy, fruity, and (slightly) bitter that we couldn’t get enough of.

Brevas con arequipe was just one of the many delicious street food snacks that we learned about on our Bogota food tour.

21. Cremas

When I visited Comuna 13 in Medellin, I overheard a guide tell a group of tourists that eating cremas was a tradition when visiting the neighborhood. I’m not one to argue with tradition so I made sure to try this refreshing Colombian dessert before leaving.

Cremas refers to a fruity ice cream popsicle in Colombia. They make them with different types of fruit but I recommend trying the mango biche. It’s drizzled with lime juice and contains chunks of frozen green mango.

22. Guarapo

Whenever we visit Vietnam, my favorite drink to cool ourselves with is nuoc mia, otherwise known as sugarcane juice.

Freshly pressed sugarcane juice is consumed in many countries around the world like Brazil, Indonesia, Egypt, India, and Pakistan. It goes by many names but in Colombia, it’s known as guarapo.

This incredibly refreshing drink will be a godsend on a hot day in Colombia. Some street stalls will mix in a spritz of lime with the sugarcane juice but in my opinion, it’s best without it.

23. Chicha

Like lechona tolimense and brevas con arequipe, we enjoyed this refreshing glass of chicha on our Bogota food tour.

A traditional Andean and Amazonian drink, chicha is commonly consumed in many countries throughout Central and South America. Fermented or non-fermented, it’s traditionally made with corn but it can be produced from other ingredients as well.

In Colombia, chicha is traditionally made with cooked corn and sugar that’s left to ferment for six to eight days. Though it’s made from different ingredients, it reminded me a bit of Mexican pulque.

24. Canelazo

This interesting drink warmed us on the cold streets of Bogota. Canelazo is a traditional hot Colombian drink made with agua de panela (panela water), cinnamon, and aguardiente. Aguardiente is an anise-flavored liqueur that’s extremely popular in Colombia.

I looked up recipes online and traditional Colombian canelazo appears to be made with just cinnamon, agua de panela, and aguardiente. However, this vendor’s brew contained many different types of fruit and spices as well. She also had different bottles of liquor on hand, so I guess you could choose what type you wanted?

In any case, canelazo is a tasty beverage that’s great to warm yourself up with on a wintry day in Bogota.

25. Colombian Coffee

Last but certainly not least is this hot beverage that needs little introduction – Colombian coffee. Like you, we’ve heard many stories about the coffee in Colombia and we were pleased to learn that they’re all true.

I’ve been drinking four to five cups a day of strong black coffee for several years now but going to Colombia made me feel like I was discovering it for the very first time. Balanced, caramel-y, and with the right amount of fruitiness and acidity, the coffee is delicious everywhere in Colombia.

From street baristas in Cartagena to artisanal coffee shops in Bogota, I never had a cup of coffee that I didn’t enjoy immensely in Colombia.


In my opinion, there’s no better way to get to know the local cuisine than by going on a food tour. Not only will a knowledgeable local take you to the city’s best restaurants, markets, and street food stalls, but they’ll be able to explain all the dishes to you in more detail as well.

As advised, we went on an excellent street food tour in Bogota. It’s led by Andres, a certified food historian who knows everything there is to know about Colombian food. I highly recommend booking that tour if you’re going to Bogota.

For more food tours in Bogota and in other parts of Colombia, I suggest checking out Get Your Guide.


From the mountainous Andean region in central Colombia to the seafood-rich shores of the Colombian coast, you’ll find a wealth of tasty street food dishes in a country that’s long been recognized as one of the world’s most biodiverse. After over a month in Colombia, it was nice to see that diversity carry over to its street food as well.

There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll love traditional Colombian dishes like bandeja paisa, ajiaco, and cazuela de mariscos. But you’ll enjoy street food dishes like cocteles, arepas de huevo, and bocadillo just as much.

So, are you excited to eat your way through Colombia yet?


Some of the links in this Colombian street food guide are affiliate links. What that means is that we’ll earn a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. ¡Muchas gracias!

Swiss Food: 15 Traditional Dishes to Look for in Switzerland

EDITOR’S NOTE: Traveleater and Swiss food expert Ana Raicic shares with us 15 traditional dishes you need to try on your next trip to Switzerland.

Switzerland is a country that’s tucked away in the Alps. It’s surrounded by France, Germany, Italy, and Austria, all of which have had a profound influence on its food. Historically, it was primarily an agricultural country, with the most important produce being potatoes, mushrooms, and milk products.

Switzerland and Swiss food are incredibly regional, so much so that most dishes can be traditionally assigned to different cantons.


If you’re visiting Switzerland and want to learn more about Swiss food, then you may want to go on a food tour.


  • Swiss Food/Drinking Tours: Food and Drinking Tours in Switzerland

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this article on traditional Swiss foods? Click on the save button and pin it for later!

Photo by Fedor Selivanov


Swiss cuisine differs by region and neighboring countries of influence, but it nevertheless has some common points.

The most basic agricultural product is the potato, which used to be a breakfast staple in the form of rösti. Potatoes are also used in numerous other dishes, for lunch and dinner.

Because Switzerland is an Alpine country with a high number of high-altitude pastures, dairy products are also a staple of the Swiss diet. Milk, cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt all play a prominent role in Swiss cuisine.

Today, cheese is the dairy product that’s most often associated with Switzerland. Cheese is eaten in various forms. It can be melted in a fondue or raclette, prepared in cheesy dishes, or eaten as a snack with cured meats, especially in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

Lunch is traditionally the largest meal of the day and the only one that needs to be cooked. For breakfast and dinner, the Swiss will happily enjoy a variety of bread rolls with butter and jam, or cheese. Another breakfast staple is the Swiss version of overnight oats called birchermüesli.

Dessert staples include nuts and dried fruits like raisins, which are used in many different applications. They’re often used for fillings and bases for various cakes and pastries. Other commonly used ingredients in Swiss desserts is chocolate – which is itself a dessert – and honey, which is often used as a sweetener.

If you’re visiting the Ticino area, do not miss out on a type of restaurant called the grotto. It’s a rustic type of eatery that offers traditional Swiss food. The name comes from the Italian word for “cave”, because grottos are set in old wine caves that were repurposed as restaurants.


1. Bircher Müesli

Invented in the early 1900s by Swiss doctor Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Brenner, bircher müesli refers to a beloved Swiss breakfast of oat flakes soaked in a combination of milk and yogurt and then served with honey, hazelnuts, and apples.

The key to this popular Swiss dish is the long resting time for the oats. You need to give the oats at least two hours to properly rest, though overnight is best for the creamiest result. Soaking the oats overnight is also standard in Switzerland, to give the raw oats time to break down and release their starches. For the most traditional version of bircher müesli, you should also add grated apples before soaking.

Traditional toppings include a variety of nuts (most commonly hazelnuts), raisins, and honey. If you’d like your morning oats creamier, then the Swiss suggest soaking the oats in cream. That will make them extremely rich – but they won’t have the signature tang from the yogurt – so you’ll have to add that after soaking.

This wonderful Swiss breakfast dish is served all over Switzerland and can often be found at hotel breakfast bars, cafes, and Swiss homes.

Photo by Claudine Silaho Weber

2. Rösti

Rösti is a Swiss potato pancake that is traditionally part of a big Swiss breakfast that used to be eaten by farmers. The dish originates from the canton of Bern, but has spread throughout the entire country.

Swiss rösti is made by frying coarsely grated potatoes. Sometimes, the potatoes are precooked and fried the day after, but most often, they’re prepared raw. The traditional Berner style of preparation entails making one large rösti in a pan, rather than smaller individual potato pancakes like American hash browns.

The best rösti is made by first frying the seasoned potatoes on one side in a covered pan. The pan is then uncovered when it’s time to flip the pancake. This is done to achieve the perfect crunchy exterior and ensure that the potatoes are cooked through.

Photo by Sergii Koval

3. Marroni

If you’re visiting Switzerland in the fall or winter, then you’ll smell the unmistakable aroma of chestnuts roasting over a fire in front of colorful street stalls commonly found in squares and street corners. These are what the Swiss call marroni. Along with raclette and fondue, they’re among the most popular winter food traditions in Switzerland.

Chestnuts are a common ingredient in dishes originating from Ticino. The Ticino area is home to expansive chestnut forests where you can forage for your own chestnuts. These can be roasted, cooked, or ground in flour and then used to make both desserts and savory dishes.

Roasted chestnuts are a traditional street snack served in paper cones that you carry in your hand. Winters in Switzerland are cold so they double as a hand warmer. The roasted chestnuts you buy on the street are usually entirely blackened from the fire, but it’s really easy to roast them at home as well.

To roast chestnuts at home, you make a cut on the rounded side of the chestnuts and then put them in a thin-bottomed pan (that you don’t mind ruining). Often, you’d first roast them while covered to “sweat the chestnuts out” and cook them through before uncovering the pan to crisp up the skin for easier peeling.

After they’re done, it’s key to wrap your still-hot chestnuts tightly in newspaper for a couple of minutes to sweat them out so they peel easily. After cooling down a bit, you can enjoy them warm with a mug of mulled wine or some other hot winter drink.

Photo by Iryna Mylinska

4. Landjäger

Landjäger refers to a type of Swiss smoked sausage made from beef. The sausage is around 17 cm (6.7 in) long and square-ish in shape. It’s a product of commercial butchers and is typically sold in pairs. Landjäger sausages are produced and consumed all over Switzerland, but they’re especially widespread in the German-speaking parts of the country.

Traditionally, landjäger sausages are made from 80% beef and 20% back fat. They’re seasoned with nitrite curing salt, red wine, cumin, pepper, coriander, and garlic. Historically, they could also be made with horse meat.

To make landjäger, the butcher presses the meat mixture into casings and then stacks the sausages side by side in a square sausage press to achieve the traditional square shape. The nitrite salt initiates the curing process and gives them their characteristic red color. The pressing process lasts up to five days, after which the sausages are cold-smoked between 20-25°C (68-77°F) for another five days.

There aren’t any special recipes connected to landjäger sausages. They can be consumed at any time – as a picnic sausage, a hiking snack, or as a midday snack with a thick piece of bread.

Photo by TunedIn by Westend61

5. Malakoff

Malakoff refers to fried cheese balls commonly found in villages on the shore of Lake Geneva, in the canton of Vaud. The dish is named after the battle for Fort Malakoff, with the dish allegedly being invented by Swiss soldiers during the siege of Sevastopol.

Traditionally, the cheese is coated in pastry and then fried and served either as a main dish or as an hors d’oeuvre. The modern malakoff recipe comes from the late 19th century and was invented by Jules and Ida Larpin. Today, you can find two types of malakoff – a cylindrical version made with sticks of gruyere cheese and a spherical variation made with grated cheese.

Malakoffs are traditionally eaten hot with a side of pickled onions, cornichons, and mustard.

Photo by kwango

6. Swiss Cheese Fondue

Switzerland is known for its hard-to-resist cheese dishes, one of the most irresistible being cheese fondue. The classic Swiss fondue is a pot of melted and spiced Swiss cheese (commonly emmental or gruyere cheese) that you dip bread into. It’s a warm hug in a bowl, perfect for sharing with friends on a cold Swiss winter evening!

The simplest fondue is made by mixing white wine, lemon juice, and garlic in a pot over medium heat. When warm, you lower the heat and add the cheese piece by piece while mixing thoroughly so the cheese melts evenly.

When the cheese is melted, the pot is placed on the table over a warmer or candle while friends and family dip in pieces of bread using long forks. It’s a wonderful communal meal that brings people together.

Photo by stockcreations

7. Raclette Cheese

Raclette is another cheese delicacy from Switzerland. It’s originally from the canton of Valais but today, it’s a traditional food of choice for anyone visiting Geneva.

Raclette is a semi-hard mountain cheese. The traditional way of eating raclette is by propping up a whole cheese wheel, melting the cheese in front of a fire, and then scraping the melted cheese on a plate for eating. The word raclette comes from the French word racler which means “to scrape”.

Today, raclette is a staple of many Swiss food markets. It can also be found at many markets in neighboring countries, especially in Germany and northern Italy. It’s served on boiled potatoes with cornichons, pickled onions, and vegetables.

The cheese itself is deliciously melty and is the main feature of the dish, which makes for a great snack at any time of the year.

Photo by PhaiApirom

8. Älplermagronen

Älplermagronen or Alpine macaroni is a traditional dish from the Swiss Alps made from macaroni pasta, potatoes, cream, cheese, and onions. The name of the dish consists of two words – Älpler, which are dairy farmers from the Alps – and magronen, which is derived from the Italian word maccheroni, meaning “pasta”.

The dish is made from short, tubular shapes of macaroni-like pasta like hörnli, magronen, or even penne. The pasta is cooked together with diced potatoes in just enough liquid for thr pasta to soak up. You then add the cream and coarsely grated cheese to melt. Finally, just before serving, you sprinkle it with roasted onions. The traditional side dish is apple sauce.

Älplermagronen can often be found on the menus of mountain huts and restaurants, as well as at home. It’s similar to American macaroni and cheese, but made out of traditional Swiss ingredients.

Photo by Luca Muench

9. Saffron Risotto

Saffron risotto is a traditional Swiss dish made with saffron grown in the canton of Valais. Swiss saffron is known to be one of the best in the world and is often referred to as red gold. This dish originates from the cantons of Valais and Ticino.

Apart from the saffron, the dish is made using traditional risotto ingredients like butter, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and stock. It’s seasoned with thyme and also includes meat, most commonly veal and bacon. The dish is made with risotto rice that’s cooked slowly with onions and garlic browned in olive oil.

To prepare, broth is slowly added to cook the rice. When the rice is just about cooked, you add the saffron. When using meat, you fry it off separately. When the rice is cooked, you fold in the butter, cheese, and bacon to finish the risotto off. The result is a deliciously creamy risotto that’s worthy of the best Swiss restaurants.

Photo by denio109

10. Zurcher Geschnetzeltes

Zurcher geschnetzeltes refers to a delicious Swiss dish originally from Zurich. It consists of pan-fried veal served with a creamy white wine sauce.

To prepare, veal is thinly sliced and then fried in a pan with butter and chopped onions. The veal and onions are set aside and kept warm while the pan is deglazed with white wine, cream, and veal stock. The veal slices are then placed back in the cream sauce, sometimes with steamed mushrooms.

Typically, zurcher geschnetzeltes is served with a side of rosti, but serving with pasta, rice, and mashed potatoes is also fairly common.

Photo by hlphoto

11. Riz Casimir

Riz casimir is the name of a Swiss curry that’s served with rice and fruits like pineapple, bananas, or apples. The traditional recipe includes veal but today, it’s also commonly prepared with chicken.

Riz casimir was an attempt by the Swiss to introduce exotic flavors and ingredients to the local palate. It was invented in 1952 by the founder of the Mövenpick restaurants – Ueli Prager. The dish was well-received and has become a beloved part of many Swiss childhoods.

Photo by Endiglo Ed G. Diaz

12. Swiss Chocolate

Swiss chocolate is one of the most well-known Swiss exports. Some of the most famous brands of chocolate have origins or headquarters in Switzerland, including Lindt and Nestlé.

The Swiss are also in large part responsible for the existence of chocolate as we know it today. It was a Swiss man – Daniel Peter – who developed the first solid milk chocolate in 1875. He made it with condensed milk, which was invented by his neighbor in Vevey – Henri Nestlé.

Another important figure in the history of chocolate was Rodolphe Lindt, who invented conching. Conching is a process of distributing cocoa butter in chocolate to even out the texture and improve flavor. This process contributes to the silky smooth chocolate mouthfeel and taste that we all know and love today.

Swiss chocolate is a national symbol and a tourist attraction in its own right. Numerous chocolate factories have become tourist magnets, like the Lindt factory and Maison Cailler. They offer tours and have chocolate museums, not to mention factory shops where you can get your chocolate fix and stock up for the winter.

Photo by Fedor Selivanov

13. Zuger Kirschtorte

Zuger kirschtorte is a layered cherry cake from the canton of Zug. It consists of layers of nut meringue (commonly almond or hazelnut), sponge cake, buttercream, and cherry liquor, which is known as kirschwasser. It was invented in 1921 by pastry chef Heinrich Hohn.

To make the cake, you first bake the two layers of nut meringue by whipping egg whites and mixing them with ground nuts. You then bake the meringue so it dries out evenly and slightly caramelizes on the outside, until it’s a light brown color. Next, you prepare the sponge cake for the middle layer and flavor the buttercream with cherry liquor. Sometimes, the buttercream is tinted with pink coloring or beet juice.

To assemble, you first spread a layer of buttercream on the bottom layer of meringue, then cover it with the sponge cake. You then soak the sponge cake with a mix of cherry liquor and simple syrup before spreading the buttercream on top for the second layer. You top the cake with the second meringue layer before covering the whole cake in buttercream and decorating it with sliced almonds and a dusting of icing sugar.

The original name of the cake isn’t patented, so there are many varieties, but the core ingredients mainly stay the same. The cake can be found in many pastry shops, especially in its native canton of Zug.

Photo by tonphotos

14. Bündner Nusstorte

Bündner nusstorte is a shortcrust pastry cake filled with a caramelized nut filling. Traditionally, the pastry filling is made out of walnuts. Bündner nusstorte was invented in the 1920s but it didn’t become widely available until the 1960s.

This shortcrust pastry cake is the pride and joy of independent bakeries around Graubünden and is one of their largest exports. Because of this, there isn’t one true recipe, but more a collection of common traits among various recipes.

The shortcrust pastry is made by combining flour, sugar, butter, egg, and salt. The filling is made from caramelized sugar, heavy cream or milk, and coarsely chopped nuts – most often walnuts – though it can be made with any type of nut. Some recipes also include honey for additional flavor and sweetness.

Bündner nusstorte is popular year-round and makes an excellent companion to coffee or tea. It’s quite rich, so it’s usually sliced in pieces and eaten for dessert. Today, you’ll find it in bakeries around Graubünden and even in some supermarket chains.

Photo by Elly Mens

15. Meitschibei

Meitschibei is a yeast pastry log made with a nut filling and shaped like a horseshoe. It originated in German-speaking parts of Switzerland. Meitschibei is a German word from Bern that means “girl’s legs”. The name was supposedly given to the pastry because it resembles legs.

To make the pastry, you first rub the flour and butter together, like for shortcrust pastry, and then knead the dough. For the filling, you mix raisins, ground hazelnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and water. Sometimes, lemon and orange peel is added to the mixture, which is then processed into a spreadable paste.

You then roll out the dough very thinly, to a thickness of about 2 mm (0.08 in). You cut the dough into long rectangles, spread the filling on the dough, roll it up, and then fold it in the middle to create the traditional shape. The pastry is then glazed with egg and baked.

Maitschibei is primarily a spring and autumn pastry, when nuts are in season. But today, it’s made and enjoyed throughout the year, especially as a tea biscuit because of its convenient shape.

PHOTO: No machine-readable author provided. Baikonur assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom


Swiss food is characterized by local humble ingredients. It’s a hearty cuisine consisting of dishes that are designed to warm and fill you up. While Swiss cuisine is quite varied, the basic savory ingredients of pasta, potatoes, meat, cheese, and butter largely stay the same, though the preparations may differ.

If you’re visiting Switzerland, then you’ll have many traditional restaurants to choose from, so do not hesitate to try as many of these delicious Swiss dishes as you can!


Some of the links in this article on traditional Swiss foods are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no added cost to you. We really appreciate your support as it helps us write more of these free travel and food guides. Thank you!

Cover photo by PhaiApirom. Stock images via Shutterstock.

Czech Food: 20 Traditional Dishes to Look For in the Czech Republic

To be honest, before visiting Prague for the first time, the one thing I was most excited to try in Czech cuisine wasn’t a dish at all, but beer. Specifically pilsner.

A Russian drinker I knew told me that the Czech Republic was home to the world’s best pilsner. Czechia has the highest per capita consumption of beer in the world, with the average Czech downing an average of 140 liters of beer per year. That’s over 30 liters more than the next country, Austria!

After getting a taste of their pilsner and the local cuisine, it isn’t hard to understand why beer is so popular in the Czech Republic. The simplest Czech lagers best the fanciest microbrews and go so well with Czech food, which is heavy on hearty soups, meat dishes, and rich gravies.

Unapologetic carnivores will have traditional Czech dishes like uzené (smoked meat), roast pork, and guláš (goulash) to look forward to in the Czech Republic. All washed down of course, with the finest Czech beer.

If you’re visiting Prague for the first time, then here are twenty traditional dishes to look for in the Czech Republic.


If you’re visiting the Czech Republic and want to dive into Czech cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a Czech food tour.


  • Czech Food/Drinking Tours: Food and Drinking Tours in Czechia

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this article on traditional Czech food? Click on the save button and pin it for later!

Photo by rsedlacek


Like many countries that share borders with other nations, Czech cuisine shares a number of similarities with the cuisines of its neighbors. Germanic staples like sauerkraut and dumplings are prominent, as are Austrian and Hungarian imports like schnitzel and goulash.

Conversely, many pastries and cakes that have become widespread throughout Central Europe are said to originate from the Czech lands.

Like many of its neighbors, typical Czech meals are comprised of multiple courses. This is said to be an influence of French cuisine, a trait that’s common throughout the former Habsburg Empire.

The first course in a Czech meal is usually a soup dish, followed by the main course and then dessert. Meats, bread dumplings, and starchy root vegetables typically comprise the main course. Meats are often roasted (or baked) and then poured over with creamy sauces or heavy gravies.

As you’d expect, many Czech meals are accompanied by beer, usually pilsner.


This Czech food guide has been organized by category to make it easier to go through. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Sandwiches / Soups / Sides
  2. Meat Dishes
  3. Sweet Dishes


1. Obložené Chlebíčky

Czech cuisine isn’t the prettiest but this first dish is a head-turner. Known as obložené chlebíčky (or simply chlebíčky), it’s a type of open-faced sandwich that’s popular in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Chlebíčky are made with slices of soft veka bread topped with a variety of ingredients like cured meats, cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, fresh vegetables, herbs, and different spreads. The toppings are often artfully arranged on top of the bread so they look like edible works of art, similar to sushi.

Chlebíčky are so pretty that eating them feels almost criminal. Equally as eye-catching as Danish smørrebrød, I like to think of them as the prettier cousins of Spanish pintxos.

Bistro Sisters in Stare Mesto (Old Town) is one of the most popular restaurants in Prague to try chlebíčky. Unfortunately, they were closed for renovations on our last visit so we went to Lahudky Zlaty Kriz instead. Their chlebíčky were excellent as well.

Regardless of where you have them, one thing is for sure, trying chlebíčky is something you need to add to your Prague itinerary.

2. Fazolova Polevka

Bílá fazolová polévka refers to a type of white bean soup that’s popular in Czech cuisine.

It was interesting to learn that farmable meat in the Czech Republic didn’t become abundant until recent generations. Before then, meat was typically reserved for the weekend so it’s no surprise that hearty and filling soups like bílá fazolová polévka formed a large part of the Czech diet.

Like many dishes that are passed down from generation to generation, there isn’t a set recipe for bílá fazolová polévka. The one constant is that it’s made with white beans that are soaked overnight and partially cooked before being mixed with other ingredients like vegetables, herbs, seasonings, and sour cream.

Photo by fanfon

3. Zelňačka

Zelňačka is a thick Czech soup made with sauerkraut (kysane zeli) and sausage (klobasa) as its main ingredients.

To prepare, onions are sautéed in lard before being seasoned with crushed caraway seeds and sweet paprika. Stock is added to the pot, followed by sauerkraut, potatoes, and seasonings. Sliced sausages are then pan-fried in lard before being thrown into the soup.

Like many traditional Czech soups, zelňačka is a hearty and filling soup that’s sure to warm you up on cold winter days.

Photo by jan_mach

4. Kulajda

If you like mushroom soup, then you need to try kulajda. It’s another type of hearty Czech soup made with mushrooms and other ingredients like hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, fresh dill, heavy cream, and vinegar.

Also known as jihočeská kulajda, this popular Czech dish is originally from the Jižní Čechy region in southern Bohemia. It’s a forested region that’s home to an abundance of wild mushrooms.

Photo by lenyvavsha

5. Česnečka

If you plan on drinking a lot of pilsner in the Czech Republic, then you may want to familiarize yourself with česnečka. Also known as česneková polévka, it’s a type of Czech garlic soup that’s often prepared as a hangover cure.

Česnečka is a type of clear Czech soup that’s made with potatoes and tons of fresh garlic. Dried marjoram and bay leaves are the herbs of choice in this fortifying soup that’s finished with toasted croutons and sometimes a raw egg.

Photo by lenyvavsha

6. Guláš

Guláš (or goulash) is a Czech dish of Hungarian origin that’s become popular throughout Central Europe. It refers to a meat and vegetable soup or stew that’s been seasoned with paprika and other spices.

Guláš can be made with different types of meat but in the Czech Republic, it’s most often made with beef (hovězí guláš). Popular at Czech pubs, it’s usually garnished with slices of fresh onions and served with a side of boiled or steamed bread dumplings (knedlíky).

Photo by stockfotocz2

7. Knedliky (Bread Dumplings / Potato Dumplings)

These soft dumplings are a common side dish across many Central and Eastern European cuisines. They’re known by a variety of different names like knödel or knedle, but in the Czech Republic, they’re referred to as knedlíky.

Knedlíky can be made in different ways. Two of the most well-known versions are houskové knedlíky (bread dumplings) and bramborové knedlíky (potato dumplings). The former is made with yeasted dough while the latter contains mashed potatoes. Both are shaped into cylindrical rolls before being boiled or steamed.

Order typical Czech dishes like roast pork or svíčková at traditional Czech restaurants in Prague and you’re sure to find them served with slices of bread or potato dumplings.

Photo by ajafoto

8. Bramboráky

Fried potato pancakes are a common sight in many countries and the Czech Republic is no exception. Known locally as bramboráky, these traditional Czech potato pancakes are made from raw shredded potatoes mixed with loads of garlic and marjoram. Depending on the cook, they can be made with additional ingredients as well like sauerkraut, milk, or smoked meat.

Served hot and crispy, these traditional Czech pancakes are often enjoyed for dinner or as a snack. They can be eaten on their own but they’re best when paired with condiments and toppings like sour cream, apple sauce, cottage cheese, or grated cheese.

Photo by Peteer

9. Smažený Sýr

Who doesn’t like fried cheese? Also known as smažák, smažený sýr is one of the most popular traditional Czech dishes. It’s a simple but delicious fried cheese dish that’s commonly served at many traditional Czech restaurants.

Smažený sýr is made with a thick slice of semi-hard cheese that’s been coated in flour, breadcrumbs, and beaten eggs before being pan-fried in oil. It’s typically eaten as a main dish with a side of tatarská omáčka (Czech tartar sauce) and fried or boiled potatoes.

Photo by Jim_Filim


10. Uzené Maso

Uzené maso refers to any type of smoked meat in Czech cuisine. As previously described, meat was generally served only on weekends in the Czech Republic so people needed a way to preserve meat.

Some of the most popular types of uzené maso include uzené koleno (smoked pork joints), uzená žebírka (smoked pork ribs), and slanina (bacon).

Photo by Anaisia29

11. Tatarák

Steak tartare is common to many cuisines in Europe and the Czech Republic is no exception.

Known as tatarák, the Czech version is typically made with finely minced beef tenderloin that’s shaped into a burger patty and topped with raw egg yolk and other ingredients like chopped onions, cheese, herbs, and spices. It’s often enjoyed with fried wheat rye bread and raw garlic cloves that are meant to be rubbed on the bread.

At Czech restaurants, tatarák can be seasoned beforehand but it’s more commonly served with the spices and condiments on the side so customers can season the meat themselves.

Photo by Peteer

12. Řízek

Řízek refers to the Czech version of pork schnitzel. Common in many cuisines, it consists of a thin slice of pork that’s beaten till tender with a mallet and then coated with flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs before being pan-fried to a golden brown.

In the Czech Republic, řízky are commonly served with boiled potatoes or potato salad and a wedge of lemon.

Photo by AndreySt

13. Svíčková na smetaně

No list of Czech food can ever be complete without svíčková na smetaně, a traditional Czech dish that consists of braised beef served with houskové knedlíky and a thick creamy sauce.

Svíčková is made with a cut of beef (typically top blade) that’s braised with root vegetables and seasoned with bay leaves, allspice, black peppercorn, and other spices. The seasoned vegetable stock is then thickened with roux and heavy cream before being poured over a slice of beef and bread dumplings.

One of the most popular meals in Czech cuisine, svíčková is widely considered to be the national dish of the Czech Republic. It’s typically garnished with a slice of lemon, cranberry sauce, and whipped cream.

Photo by

14. Vepřo Knedlo Zelo

Vepřo knedlo zelo was the very first meal I had in Prague. It refers to a typical Czech dish of roast pork served with houskové knedlíky, sauerkraut, and gravy.

Sometimes referred to as knedlo vepřo zelo, this simple but satisfying Czech meat dish is a must when visiting Prague. It’s typically made with a cut of slowly roasted pork shoulder that’s been generously seasoned with crushed garlic and caraway seeds.

Like svíčková na smetaně, vepřo knedlo zelo is considered by many to be a national dish of the Czech Republic.

Photo by jan_mach

15. Pečená Kachna se Zelím

If you’re visiting Prague during a festive celebration, like St. Vaclav’s Day or Christmas, then you may get to try pečená kachna se zelím. It’s a festive Czech dish consisting of slowly roasted duck served with braised cabbage and potato dumplings.

Pečená kachna se zelím is made with whole roasted duck that’s been generously seasoned with caraway seeds. Roasted slowly until its skin is nice and crispy, the duck is served with a side of bramborové knedlíky and braised cabbage, often red cabbage.

Photo by ajafoto

16. Rajská Omáčka

Like svíčková sauce, rajská omáčka refers to a hugely popular Czech sauce, this time made from beef stock, root vegetables, and tomato paste. This creamy sweet and sour tomato sauce is usually served with a slice of beef (or meatballs) and houskové knedlíky.

Photo by stockfotocz2


17. Palačinky

Palačinka refers to a type of rolled crepe that’s popular in many European countries like Czechia, Albania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Poland, and the Balkans. It’s similar to the French crêpe, except the batter for palačinky can be used immediately unlike crêpe batter that’s typically left to rest for several hours.

To make palačinky, a thin layer of smooth batter is spread on a round pan and fried on both sides until golden brown. It’s then topped with various fillings before being rolled up and served.

Traditionally, Czech palačinky are filled with fruit jams and dusted with icing sugar but they can be filled with a wide variety of ingredients, both sweet and savory.

Photo by belchonock

18. Koláče

The koláč is a type of Czech pastry made with yeasted dough and a variety of fillings like fruit jams, cream cheese, curd cheese, and poppy seeds. They’re traditionally round in shape – around 3-4″ (8-10 cm) in diameter – and sprinkled with a streusel topping before serving.

Koláče are originally from the Czech lands and Slovakia but thanks to the Czech diaspora, they’ve become popular in many states across the US as well, most notably Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota.

Photo by Peteer

19. Ovocné Knedlíky

You’re already familiar with savory Czech dumplings like houskové knedlíky and bramborové knedlíky. But did you know that knedlíky can also be sweet?

Meaning “fruit dumplings” in Czech, ovocné knedlíky are boiled yeasted dough balls stuffed with a variety of fruit fillings. They’re usually doused in melted butter and served with a variety of toppings like icing sugar, cinnamon sugar, crumbled farmer’s cheese, or sour cream.

You’ll notice I labeled this section “Sweet Dishes” instead of “Desserts”. As odd as this may sound, it’s because Czech people often eat ovocné knedlíky as a main dish instead of dessert.

Photo by grafvision

20. Žemlovka

Rounding out this list of must-try Czech dishes is žemlovka, a type of sweet bread pudding made from apples, raisins, cinnamon, and milk-soaked veka or rohlíks pastry bread.

Also known as zemlbába, žemlovka is made by placing wet pastry bread and fruit in alternating layers in a pan, with the top layer always consisting of milk-soaked bread. The dish is then baked to a golden brown and sprinkled with powdered sugar before serving.

Like ovocné knedlíky, žemlovka is more often eaten as a main dish instead of dessert in the Czech Republic. Strange but true!

Photo by JanMac


Czechia may be famous for its pilsner but as this list shows, there’s no shortage of delicious Czech food to be discovered in Prague. From dainty chlebíčky to man-sized slabs of roasted pork, there’s something for everyone in the Czech Republic.

Whatever you fancy, make sure to wash it down with a pint of pilsner. That Russian drinker was right. Prague really is home to the best beer in the world.


Some of the links in this article on traditional Czech food are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission if you make a booking at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Thank you!

Cover photo by Peteer. Stock images via Depositphotos.

Weird Filipino Food: 15 Exotic Foods That Adventurous Eaters Need to Try in the Philippines

Are you an adventurous eater? We are.

Trying new and exotic foods is one of the things we look forward to most on trips. As long as it isn’t endangered or unethical, then chances are, it’ll wind up on our plate.

Our curiosity and willingness to try unfamiliar and bizarre food stems from our upbringing in the Philippines. We grew up around exotic dishes like balut, dinuguan, and chicharon bulaklak. Not every Filipino child likes those dishes, but even if you didn’t eat it, you grew up around people that did.

To us, dishes like that weren’t weird at all. Because we were so used to seeing and eating it, “weird” food like duck egg embryos and fried chicken intestines were about as normal to us as a PB&J sandwich to an American middle-schooler.

We’ve eaten a lot of exotic food on our travels. Off the top of my head, I can think of sannakji in South Korea, escamoles in Mexico, chicken and horse sashimi in Japan, and percebes in Portugal and Spain.

Oddly enough, I’ve written many articles about weird foods from around the world but not nearly as much about exotic food in the Philippines.

If you’re an adventurous eater like we are, then here are 15 weird Filipino foods that you need to try on your next trip to the Philippines.

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this article on weird Filipino food? Click on the save button and pin it for later!


There’s no shortage of exotic food in the Philippines but these fifteen are some of the most (in)famous or common. Aside from a few regional specialties like tamilok and etag, most can be found pretty much anywhere in the Philippines.

1. Balut

There’s no better way to start a list of exotic Filipino dishes than with balut, arguably the most famous and notorious exotic dish from the Philippines. If you’ve never heard of it, it refers to a fertilized duck egg embryo that’s eaten directly from its shell.

Commonly sold as street food in the Philippines and in other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, balut consists of a developing duck embryo that’s been fertilized for 14-21 days. The duck eggs are boiled and then eaten from their shells with salt and/or a dipping sauce made with vinegar, bird’s eye chili, and garlic.

What makes balut so off-putting for a lot of people, including many Filipinos, is the physical appearance of the embryo. It really does look like a fully formed duckling, complete with eyes, a beak, and sometimes feathers. You eat the duckling whole and spit out the beak because it’s often formed and too hard to eat.

I used to watch Fear Factor regularly and the only time I’ve ever seen Joe Rogan retch on the show was when the contestants were made to eat balut. So notorious is this dish that it’s often used as a rite of passage for foreigners visiting the Philippines for the first time. Try it if you dare!

2. Dinuguan

Dinuguan is one of my favorite dishes on this list. I didn’t used to eat it as a kid but now, it’s one of my favorite Filipino foods. When done right, it’s absolutely delicious.

Dinuguan refers to a Filipino stew of diced pork meat cooked in a rich, dark stew made with pork blood, garlic, chili peppers, and vinegar. It’s a flavorful dish that’s always eaten with small steamed Filipino rice cakes called puto. The name dinuguan stems from dugo, which is the Filipino word for “blood”.

Dinuguan is typically made with diced pork but if you can find it, then you have to try versions made with organ meats like intestines, lungs, heart, ears, and snout. The textures are out of this world. It may sound weird now, but you and your taste buds will thank me for it later.

3. Chicharon Bulaklak

Balut may be the most popular exotic food in the Philippines, but chicharon bulaklak is easily my favorite. It refers to a type of chicharon made with pork mesentery.

In Spanish-speaking countries, the term chicharon refers to deep-fried pork rinds. But in the Philippines, it can also refer to deep-fried pig intestines, chicken intestines, and chicken skin.

Chicharon bulaklak is made with pork mesentery, the thin membrane-like tissue that supports the small intestine. When deep-fried, it assumes a frilly, flower-like appearance, hence the name chicharon bulaklak. Bulaklak is the Filipino word for “flower”.

Crunchy and sinfully delicious, chicharon bulaklak – like any other type of Filipino chicharon – is usually eaten with spiced vinegar and a spritz of calamansi juice. It’s amazing when paired with ice-cold beer.

4. Adobong Kamaru

People who’ve been to Oaxaca and Mexico may be familiar with chapulines, the Mexican delicacy of toasted grasshoppers seasoned with lime juice, chili, and salt.

If you like chapulines, then you’ll be pleased to learn that we have a similar version in the Philippines called adobong kamaru. A specialty of Pampanga, adobong kamaru refers to a Filipino dish made with mole crickets cooked adobo-style.

Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines. It’s typically made with pork and/or chicken, but in this case, it’s made with mole crickets cooked in vinegar, garlic, onions, chili peppers, and tomatoes. Like chicharon bulaklak, it goes very well with cold beer.

Yvette Tan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

5. Soup No. 5

Soup Number Five is one of the most bizarre Filipino foods on this list. It refers to a type of Filipino soup made with a bull’s penis and testes.

This oddly named dish is prepared by thoroughly cleaning the organs and then boiling them in water for several hours until tender. The meat is then sliced into smaller pieces before being cooked in a broth with garlic, onion, ginger, bird’s eye chili, fish sauce, and other spices. Pictured below is a version of Soup Number Five made with the addition of chicken feet.

This dish may be odd, but I was more intrigued by its name so I googled it. According to the Ang Sarap website, it was listed as “Soup Number Five” on a restaurant’s menu to hide its main ingredient from potentially queasy customers. Smart.

Soup Number Five isn’t as common in Manila but I do know of one restaurant that serves it – Balaw-Balaw. Located in Angono, it’s a long-standing restaurant that’s known for serving exotic Filipino food like adobong kamaru, uok (beetle larvae), tapang usa (cured venison), and tapang baboy damo (cured wild boar).

Photo by Ocel Jardin

6. Tamilok

For some Filipinos, tamilok could be the most bizarre dish on this exotic Filipino food list. I say that because it isn’t a dish that many Filipinos encounter often.

Found only in coastal areas with mangrove ecosystems like Palawan, tamilok feed on decaying wood and are commonly known as “ship worms” or “wood worms”. Though they resemble foot-long worms, they’re actually a species of saltwater clam.

In spite of their grotesque appearance and weird diet, tamilok are surprisingly delicious. Eaten raw with spicy vinegar, onion, chili, and calamansi juice, they have the same texture as oysters except they taste sweeter and milkier. I enjoyed them, as did Andrew Zimmern who featured them on an episode of Bizarre Foods.

Like Soup Number Five, there’s an interesting story behind this exotic dish’s name, which is also referred to as “the world’s longest oyster”. According to legend, the name tamilok is short for “Tommy, look!” You can read the rest in my article about tamilok.

Photo by Nora Yusuf

7. Etag

Etag refers to a type of cured pork that’s common in the Cordillera region of the Philippines. You can find it in places like Sagada or Banaue.

Etag is prepared by curing big slabs of pork in salt for about a week, and then air-drying or smoking them (or both) under the sun for several more weeks.

That in itself doesn’t sound all that weird, but what makes etag challenging for some people is that the slabs of pork often get covered with maggots during the air-drying process, likely because of exposure to flies.

Rest assured that all the maggots and mold are brushed off so there’s nothing weird about the etag when it’s served to you. Like any other type of cured meat, it can be prepared in a number of ways – in omelettes, as sausages, or sauteed and served as a viand with rice.

8. Ant Eggs

This next dish may have different names in other parts of the Philippines, but in the Ilocos region where we had it, it’s called abuos. Abuos is the local term for mountain ant larvae.

Abuos is a seasonal dish that’s typically available only from around March till June when the ant larvae are harvested from the tropical rain forests of Abra. We had it cooked adobo-style (adobo nga abuos) but the ant eggs can also be sauteed in garlic or eaten raw.

Ant eggs are consumed in other cultures as well, including Thailand and Mexico. I had it most recently in Puebla in central Mexico where it’s known as escamoles.

Ant egg dishes taste pretty much the same no matter where you have them. They’re buttery and nutty in flavor and have a soft texture that’s reminiscent of cottage cheese.

Photo by Kriang kan

9. Maskara

Maskara is the Filipino word for “mask”, which is a funny but appropriate way of describing this next dish. Maskara refers to a whole pig head that’s been boiled and then deep-fried. It’s a novelty bar chow dish that’s typically enjoyed with beer.

Pro tip, go for the gums. The entire head is crispy and delicious but my favorite part is the pig’s gums.

Photo by Rostovdriver via Depositphotos

10. Tuslob Buwa

Tuslob buwa is the only dish on this list that we haven’t tried. We’ve been dying to try it but unfortunately, this popular street food from Cebu City isn’t as common in Manila.

Meaning “to dip in bubbles”, tuslob buwa refers to an interesting dish made with a mixture of pork brain, soy sauce, oil, shrimp paste, and seasonings. The ingredients are cooked together in a pan and reduced until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly. To eat, clumps of puso or hanging rice (Filipino sticky rice balls) are dipped into the mixture, hence the name.

If a bubbly mixture of pig’s brain sounds appealing to you, then you definitely need to try this exotic street food when you visit Cebu City. It was one of the dishes featured in the Cebu episode of Street Food on Netflix.

Photo by ArleneSolisChua

11. Isaw

Isaw is one of the most popular street food dishes in the Philippines. It refers to barbecued chicken or pork intestines skewered on sticks.

Common at roadside eateries, isaw is made by thoroughly cleaning the intestines before boiling them. They’re then skewered on barbecue sticks before being grilled and served with a spiced vinegar and/or soy sauce dip.

Filipinos love giving funny colloquial names to food and isaw is one of the best examples. Because of their shape, chicken intestines are also known as “IUD” (intrauterine device) while pork intestines are referred to as “mag wheels”.

12. Betamax (Congealed Chicken or Pork Blood)

Betamax refers to cubes of congealed chicken or pork blood skewered on sticks. A common sight at markets and roadside stalls, these grilled blood cubes get their name from their dark, block-like shapes that resemble Betamax cassette tapes.

Photo by MDV Edwards

13. Walkman (Pork Ears)

Walkman refers to grilled pieces of pork ears skewered on sticks. They initially became popular around the late 80s and early 90s when Sony Walkmans were all the rage, hence the name.

14. Helmet (Chicken Heads)

Helmet is the funny colloquial name Filipinos give to skewered chicken heads. Not to waste any part of the animal, chicken heads are typically grilled but they can also be battered and deep-fried.

Photo by MDV Edwards

15. Adidas (Chicken Feet)

People familiar with Asian food are no strangers to chicken feet. In the Philippines, they’re a common sight at Chinese dim sum restaurants and roadside stalls where they’re skewered and grilled and humorously referred to as “Adidas”.

Photo by Helen Phung


I felt this list of exotic foods in the Philippines had to be capped at fifteen so I left out odd but delicious dishes like betute (stuffed deep-fried frog), uok (beetle larvae), bakasi (reef eels), and ginataang kuhol (snails cooked in coconut milk).

These fifteen are among the most well-known and interesting but there’s certainly a lot more exotic food to be found in the Philippines! If you have the stomach for it, then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed going through this list of exotic Filipino food. We have articles on Filipino snacks, Filipino desserts, and Filipino fruits as well so be sure to check those out if you’d like to learn more about Filipino cuisine.

Thanks for reading and have an amazing time eating all the weird but delicious food in the Philippines!

Unless otherwise noted, stock photos via Shutterstock

Belgian Food: 20 Traditional Dishes to Look For in Brussels

What’s the first dish that comes to mind when you think of Belgian food?

For many people, it’s Belgian waffles. For seafood lovers, it’ll probably be moules frites. If your favorite hour is happy hour, then the first thing that comes to your mind may not be a dish at all, but Belgian beer.

These are all perfectly acceptable answers, but there’s so much more to Belgian cuisine than the dishes and drinks that have become popular in the global mainstream.

If you have a curiosity for local food, then be sure to try these twenty traditional Belgian dishes on your next trip to Brussels and Belgium.


If you’re planning a trip to Belgium and want to really learn about Belgian cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a Belgian food or drinking tour.


  • Belgian Food Tours: Food and Drinking Tours in Belgium
  • Belgian Cooking Classes: Cooking Classes in Belgium

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this article on traditional Belgian foods? Click on the save button and pin it for later!

Photo by klenova


There’s a saying that “Belgian food is served in the quantity of German cuisine but with the quality of French food“. Belgian cuisine varies widely from region to region and draws influences from the cuisines of neighboring France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The foreign influences and regional differences that characterize Belgian cuisine are consistent with the fact that Belgium is divided into three main regions – Flanders (bordering the Netherlands), Brussels (capital), and Wallonia (bordering France). Flemish food is heavily influenced by Dutch cuisine while the Walloon region boasts a regional cuisine that’s more in line with the French style of cooking.

Regional and seasonal ingredients like potatoes, Belgian endives, Brussels sprouts, and grey shrimp are prized in traditional Belgian cooking. Pork is the most widely consumed meat followed by poultry and beef. Mussels, the main component in moules frites, are the most popular choice of seafood.

If mussels and fries sound appealing to you, then you’re going to love Belgium. Like waffles and frites, it’s the country’s national dish.

Aside from being served as a side dish with mussels or steak, frites (Belgian fries) are the most popular snack food in Belgium and something you can enjoy pretty much anywhere in the country.


This Belgian food guide has been organized by category to make it easier to go through. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Starters / Snacks / Sides
  2. Seafood
  3. Meat / Poultry
  4. Desserts
  5. Drinks


1. Waffles

As described, the Belgian waffle is arguably the most recognizable Belgian dish outside of the country. It refers to cakes made from leavened batter or dough cooked between two specially designed plates called a waffle iron. The waffle iron gives the cake its characteristic shape, size, and surface texture – commonly a checkered pattern on the top and bottom of the waffle.

While waffles are regarded mainly as breakfast food in other parts of the world, in Belgium, they’re commonly eaten as street food, either plain or topped with different ingredients like whipped cream, chocolate, powdered sugar, and fruits.

There are dozens of regional waffle variations in Belgium but the two most common are Liège waffles and Brussels waffles.

Liège Waffles

Liège waffles are the most common type of waffle in Belgium. It’s a denser, richer type of waffle made with a thick brioche-like dough and chunks of pearl sugar that caramelize on the waffle’s surface when cooked. Originally from the greater Wallonia region of Eastern Belgium, they’re typically made in plain, cinnamon, or vanilla versions.

Photo by DeborahKolb

Brussels Waffles

The Brussels waffle is the Belgian waffle that most North Americans are familiar with. It’s a lighter, crispier type of waffle made with a thinner and runnier egg-white- or yeast-leavened batter. They’re made in a characteristic rectangular shape with bigger and deeper pockets.

Brussels waffles were popularized in the US in the 1960s. After realizing that many Americans couldn’t identify Brussels as the capital of Belgium, they eventually became known as “Belgian waffles”.

In Belgium, Brussels waffles are commonly dusted with confectioner’s sugar but they can be topped with whipped cream, fruit, and chocolate spread as well.

Photo by Rawlik

2. Frites (Belgian Fries, NOT French Fries!)

Fries are a globally adored snack or side dish and we have France to thank for that. Or should we be thanking Belgium? Although they’re known as French fries in most parts of the world, there’s an ongoing debate between France and Belgium as to the true origin of these delicious deep-fried potatoes.

Fries were first mentioned in a Parisian book in 1775. However, Belgians claim that the dish was invented in Belgium almost a century earlier in the fish-loving city of Namur. The Meuse River froze over in the winter of 1680, forcing the locals to cook potatoes instead of the small fish they were accustomed to.

But if frites really are of Belgian origin, then why is the word “French” in front of “fries”? One theory suggests that the term “French” may describe the dish’s method of preparation, not its origin. “Frenching” refers to a julienne-like method of cutting ingredients to expose all sides for even cooking.

Regardless of where they’re originally from, we can all agree that crispy Belgian fries (frites in French, frieten in Flemish) are delicious and something you’ll probably snack on often in Belgium. Cut no more than 1 cm (0.4 in) thick, they’re double-fried in a mixture of horse and cow fat and always served with some type of sauce or dip like mayonnaise, curry ketchup, andalouse sauce, or samurai sauce.

Photo by oleksandrberezko

3. Stoemp (Belgian Mashed Potatoes)

Stoemp refers to the Belgian version of mashed potatoes. They’re made with pureed or mashed potatoes mixed with other ingredients like bacon, cream, onions, leeks, cabbage, herbs, and spices.

Often served as a side dish, stoemp is typically made with potatoes though it can be made with other types of root vegetables as well.

Photo by fanfon

4. Frikandel

Frikandel is a type of deep-fried skinless sausage. Popular as a snack in Belgium and the Netherlands, it can be enjoyed on its own, in a bun, or sliced through the middle and filled with different sauces and ingredients like chopped onions, mayonnaise, chili sauce, and curry ketchup.

Photo by [email protected]

5. Boudin

Boudin refers to another type of Belgian sausage that’s also popular in France. It’s typically made from pork though it can also be made with chicken or veal.

Boudin in Belgium is made in two main varieties – boudin noir (black) and boudin blanc (white). The former (pictured below) gets its deep red to almost black color from the addition of blood.

In comparison, boudin blanc is much lighter and paler in color. It contains no blood and is often made with milk and fresh herbs.

Photo by aija444

6. Filet Americain

If you have a taste for raw meat, then you’re going to enjoy filet americain. It refers to the Belgian version of steak tartare made with premium cuts of lean raw beef minced in a meat grinder.

Like steak tartare, filet americain needs to be made with the freshest meat to make it safe for consumption. After grinding, the meat is seasoned with salt and pepper and flavored with different ingredients like raw eggs, onions, capers, mayonnaise, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.

Filet americain is typically enjoyed as a spread on crackers, as a sandwich filling, or as an entree with a side of Belgian fries and salad. Its name literally translates to “American fillet”. How it got that name no one seems to know, other than perhaps its inventor, Joseph Niels.

Photo by fanfon


7. Moules Frites

Moules frites (or moules et frites) is a traditional Belgian dish made with mussels and fries. Like waffles and Belgian frites, it’s one of the most popular dishes in Belgium and widely considered to be a national dish.

The mussels in moules frites can be cooked in different ways, but the most common preparation is moules marinière, where the mussels are cooked in white wine, butter, shallots, and parsley. Other common preparations include moules à la bière (beer instead of white wine) and moules parquées (raw mussels served with a sauce made from lemon juice and mustard).

Regardless of how the mussels are cooked, the fries are usually served separately to keep them from getting soggy. This dish is so popular in Belgium that an estimated 25-30 tons of mussels are used each year to prepare moules et frites.

Photo by bhofack2

8. Paling in ‘t Groen

Palin in ‘t groen refers to a Flemish stew of freshwater eel cooked in a green sauce made from white wine and a variety of fresh herbs like parsley, mint, tarragon, sage, and dill. Also known as anguilles au vert in French, its name literally means “eel in the green”.

Palin in ‘t groen is typically eaten with Belgian fries or bread, often with a spritz of lemon juice over the eel.

Photo by bhofack2

9. Waterzooi

Like paling in ‘t groen, waterzooi is a type of Belgian stew that originated in Flanders, specifically in the city of Ghent. It’s made with chunks of fish or chicken served in a vegetable broth thickened with egg yolk and cream.

Originally, waterzooi was made with fish, but due to the pollution in the rivers around Ghent, it’s now more commonly made with chicken. Depending on the cook, it can be enriched with a variety of different vegetables and herbs like onions, carrots, potatoes, parsley, and thyme.

Photo by fanfon


10. Steak Frites

If mussels with fries don’t do it for you, then perhaps steak frites is more up your alley.

Steak frites refers to a simple pairing of beef steak, usually entrecôte, and Belgian fries. It’s equally popular in Belgium and France where it’s typically made with prime cuts of beef like rib eye and porterhouse served with a gravy or sauce.

Photo by svariophoto

11. Boulet a la Liegeois

If you like meatballs, then you’re going to enjoy boulet a la liegeois. Originally from Liège, it refers to a dish made with meatballs drenched in a rich, sweet and sour sauce.

Belgian meatballs are typically made with pork and beef (or pork and veal) mixed with breadcrumbs, onions, and parsley. They’re cooked in a pan till golden brown and then coated in a sour-sweet sauce made from vinegar, onions, brown sugar, and sirop de Liège. Sirop de Liège refers to a type of Belgian jam or spread made from apples and pears.

Depending on where you are in Belgium, meatballs may be served with a different type of sauce. Boulet a la liegeois is popular in French-speaking regions but in Flanders, meatballs are usually smothered in tomato sauce or fried in butter with Belgian cherry sauce.

Photo by lenyvavsha

12. Carbonnade a la Flamande

As its name suggests, carbonnade a la flamande refers to a type of Flemish stew made with beef, lots of onions, and Belgian beer. It’s typically made with beef though it can also be made with pork. Other ingredients include mustard (or vinegar), thyme, bay leaves, juniper berries, brown sugar, and butter.

Like many Belgian dishes, carbonnade a la flamande is commonly served with Belgian fries. It can also be paired with stoemp or boiled potatoes.

Photo by fanfon

13. Chicons au Gratin

Chicons au gratin refers to a classic and comforting dish made with Belgian endives wrapped in slices of ham. The ham-wrapped Belgian endive is covered in a rich mornay sauce and grated cheese before being baked to a golden brown.

Photo by frederiquewacquier


14. Belgian Chocolate

Like Belgian beer, Belgium is famous for its chocolates. Chocolate production has been a major industry in Belgium since the 19th century and forms a big part of its culture and identity, not to mention its economy.

Like Switzerland, Belgium is one of the biggest and most important producers of chocolate in Europe. They import cocoa from Africa, Central America, and South America to produce an estimated 172,000 tons of chocolate each year.

There are over 2,000 chocolatiers in Belgium producing a wide variety of Belgian chocolates, two of the most recognizable being pralines and truffles. Pralines (pictured below) refer to any type of filled Belgian chocolate.

Photo by beats1

Pralines may be prettier but in my opinion, Belgian truffles are the best. Truffles are lumps or balls of ganache-filled chocolates often coated in a high-quality cocoa powder. They get their name from their resemblance to the highly-prized truffle fungus.

No matter what your preference, if you have a taste for chocolate, then you’re going to love Belgium.

Photo by Anaisia29

15. Speculoos

Speculoos refers to a type of Belgian cookie or biscuit. They’re very similar to Dutch speculaas, except they’re made with fewer spices which were considerably more expensive to import into Belgium compared to the Netherlands. Speculoos biscuits were created as a cheaper alternative to speculaas.

Unlike speculaas which is made with a variety of spices like cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger, speculoos is made with wheat flour, fat, candy syrup, and sometimes cinnamon. In the US and the UK, they’re sold as Biscoff.

Photo by saphira

16. Cuberdon

If Belgian chocolates aren’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, then perhaps you’d like to try cuberdons as well. Originally from Ghent, it’s a cone-shaped Belgian candy made with a gum arabic candy crust stuffed with a soft, raspberry-flavored filling. They’re traditionally colored purple but they’re now commonly made into other colors as well.

In Flemish, cuberdon is also referred to as neus (“nose”) because of its resemblance to a human nose. In French, they’re also called chapeau-de-curé, meaning “priest’s hat”.

Photo by Milva_El

17. Rijstevlaai

Rijstevlaai is a type of single crust Belgian pie made with a rice pudding filling. It’s native to the city of Verviers in Liège and is especially popular in eastern Belgium, southeastern Netherlands, and the German region around Aachen.

Photo by myviewpoint

18. Oliebollen

If you like donuts, then you need to try oliebollen. It refers to a type of beignet that’s popular in Dutch and Belgian cuisine.

The oliebol is essentially a type of drop donut made with yeasted dough, currants, raisins, and other dried fruits. They’re drizzled with a generous amount of powdered sugar and are traditionally prepared to welcome the new year.

In Flanders, oliebollen are also referred to as smoutebollen while in Wallonia, they’re known as croustillons.

Photo by mythja


19. Belgian Beers

According to the Brewers of Europe website, Belgians drink an average of about 68 liters of beer per year. Assuming that the average bottle contains about 330 ml, that translates to about four bottles of beer per Belgian per week.

An impressive number, until you learn that Belgians consumed an average of 200 liters of beer per year in 1900. That translates to almost twelve bottles of beer a week for every Belgian! To say that beer has long been an important part of Belgian cuisine and culture would be an understatement.

You could devote an entire website to Belgian beer so I won’t get into it in too much detail here. Just know that there are roughly 1,500 brands of beer in Belgium with over 700 different flavor profiles. From Trappist beers to pils to Lambic beers and Flemish red ales, there really is a beer for everyone in Belgium.

Photo by

20. Jenever

Belgian beers will keep you plenty busy but if you’re fond of spirits, then you should try jenever as well, especially if you like gin.

Also known as genièvre, jenever refers to a type of juniper-flavored liquor popular in Belgium, the Netherlands, and parts of Germany and France. It enjoys Protected Designation of Origin status and is said to be the spirit from which gin evolved.

Ranging in flavor from neutral, like vodka, to aromatic and malty like whisky, jenever has long been considered the national spirit of Belgium.

Photo by bhofack2


Belgian waffles and fries may be hard to resist but as you can see in this Belgian food guide, they’re hardly the only dishes worth pining for in Belgium. Belgian meatballs and beef stew are universally appealing while filet americain and paling in ‘t groen will excite more adventurous eaters.

Whatever you decide to eat in Belgium, just be sure to wash it down with a few pints of Belgian beer. Nowhere in the world will you find beer as good as this so enjoy as much of it as you can, while you can.

Proost op onze lever!


Some of the links in this article on traditional Belgian foods are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission if you make a booking at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Thank you!

Cover photo by klenova. Stock images via Depositphotos.

Mexican Food: 25 Traditional Dishes to Look for in Mexico

Like Italian, Chinese, and Japanese food, Mexican cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. Visit any major city and you’re sure to find at least one Mexican restaurant. In my opinion, it’s one of the best cuisines in the world. UNESCO seems to agree.

In 2010, traditional Mexican cuisine was one of the first two cuisines given Intangible Cultural Heritage status by UNESCO. The other is French gastronomy. What that means is that traditional Mexican food is a cultural treasure that’s worth protecting and preserving.

We travel for food and Mexican cuisine is one of the biggest reasons why we chose to make Mexico our second home. After months of exploring the food in Mexico, this list could easily be much longer than it is now, but I wanted to keep it concise so I’ve pegged it to what we believe to be Mexico’s must-try dishes.

If you’re visiting Mexico and wondering what to eat in this vast (and vastly delicious) country, then these are 25 Mexican dishes that you shouldn’t miss.


If you’re planning a trip to Mexico and want to dive headfirst into the local cuisine, then you may be interested in joining a food tour or taking a cooking class.


  • Food Tours: Food Tours in Mexico
  • Cooking Classes: Cooking Classes in Mexico

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this article on Mexican cuisine? Click on the save button and pin it for later!


Mexican cuisine is an ancient cuisine that dates back thousands of years. Its earliest roots are in Mesoamerican cooking traditions that can be traced back to the time of the Aztecs and Mayans.

Corn (maize) and chili peppers are cornerstones in Mexican cooking. They’re used in a vast majority of Mexican food recipes along with other key ingredients like beans, avocados, cacao, tomatoes, tomatillos, agave, and cactus. Maize was domesticated by the Mayans who devised the process of nixtamalization, a method of preparing corn that remains a vital component in Mexican cooking.

After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire, new ingredients were introduced and incorporated into the cuisine like meat from domesticated animals (beef, pork, lamb, etc), dairy products, rice, sugar, and olive oil.

Waves of immigration would later follow which would bring in ingredients and cooking methods from other parts of the world like Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

This mix of influences is what I love most about traditional Mexican food. It’s a cuisine with strong indigenous roots made more colorful by the infusion of foreign influences.


This article on authentic Mexican food has been organized by category to make it easier to digest. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Breakfast Dishes
  2. Antojitos / Street Food
  3. Platos Fuertes
  4. Desserts


1. Chilaquiles

If you’re an early riser and enjoy trying different breakfast dishes from around the world, then you need to try chilaquiles. It’s one of the most popular Mexican dishes you’ll find on any breakfast menu in Mexico.

Depending on the region and cook, chilaquiles can be prepared in different ways but it typically consists of lightly fried corn tortillas served with salsa verde (green) or salsa rojo (red). It’s often garnished with onions, avocados, cilantro, crema, and queso fresco (fresh cheese).

No matter the city or state, chilaquiles is something you’re sure to find on any Mexican restaurant’s breakfast menu. Pictured below is a traditional version of chilaquiles verde from a restaurant in San Miguel de Allende. I’ve also had fancier versions made with sauces like mole almendrado (almond mole).

2. Huevos Motuleños

Huevos motuleños is another popular breakfast dish served at many Mexican restaurants. It’s a Yucatecan dish originally from the town of Motul in Yucatan state, but it’s something we often found on breakfast menus throughout Mexico.

Huevos motuleños consists of corn tortillas topped with black beans, cheese, fried eggs, and tomato sauce. Like chilaquiles, it can be made in a variety of ways depending on the cook.

This particular version from a restaurant in Valladolid was topped with peas, ham, and fried plantains. Delicious and filling, it’s one of the tastiest dishes you can have for breakfast in Mexico.

3. Enchiladas

Like tacos and burritos, enchiladas are among the most popular Mexican foods outside of Mexico. They consist of rolled corn tortillas stuffed with a variety of fillings like meat, beans, cheese, potatoes, and vegetables before being drenched in a sauce.

The version below called enchiladas suizas from a restaurant in Playa del Carmen is made with shredded chicken, manchego cheese, and green enchilada sauce. Many Mexican restaurants offer enchiladas topped with a variety of sauces made from beans, chili peppers, mole, and cheese.


Enfrijoladas are among the most common variety of enchilada you’ll find on restaurant menus in Mexico. Enfrijolada stems from the word frijol – meaning “bean” – and refers to a type of enchilada topped with refried beans.

Enfrijoladas by goblinbox, used under CC BY 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom


Can you guess what type of sauce enmoladas are made with? The term enmolada stems from the word mole and refers to any enchilada drenched in mole sauce. This version from a restaurant in Oaxaca was made with rich mole negro sauce and topped with a pair of sunny-side up eggs and queso fresco.

Enchiladas Mineras

These enchiladas mineras from a restaurant in Guanajuato are among the most delicious enchiladas we’ve had anywhere in Mexico.

Enchiladas mineras are a specialty of Guanajuato City, a former mining town in central Mexico. As you can probably guess from its name, it’s named after the people who used to work in those mines. Meaning “miner’s enchiladas”, the miners’ wives would make them this dish after a long day of working in the mines.

An enchilada minera consists of a rolled corn tortilla filled with cheese, onions, and a stew-like mix of potatoes and carrots. The enchiladas are baked and then served with grilled chicken, jalapeño peppers, cheese, lettuce, and salsa.

Guanajuato City isn’t known for having as many regional specialties but this is one dish that you absolutely cannot miss. It’s delicious.


Antojitos literally means “little cravings” and refers to a family of Mexican dishes typically enjoyed as street food or snacks. Traditionally sold by roadside vendors and at market stalls, typical antojitos include tacos, tortas, quesadillas, gorditas, chalupas, and memelas.

4. Tacos

No list of the most popular Mexican foods can ever be complete without mentioning the humble taco. It’s the most iconic and internationally recognizable Mexican dish.

When people in the US hear the word “taco”, they probably think of those crunchy deep-fried tortilla shells filled with ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and hot sauce. I have yet to see that type of taco in Mexico.

In Mexico, authentic tacos are made with soft palm-sized corn tortillas topped with a variety of fillings like roasted meat, seafood, and Mexican stews. Unless you want them plain, they’re usually garnished with chopped onions, cilantro, lime juice, and chili sauce (red or green).

Tacos in Mexico are traditionally made with corn tortillas but some taquerias, perhaps to cater to American tourists, offer them with wheat (flour) tortillas as well. Tacos made with wheat tortillas are always more expensive.

You’ll find dozens of taco varieties in Mexico but listed below are some of the most common.

Tacos al Pastor

Tacos al pastor are perhaps the most famous of all Mexican tacos. It consists of a freshly made corn tortilla topped with thin slices of heavily-marinated spit-roasted pork, onions, cilantro, and grilled pineapple. It can be found throughout Mexico but its’ especially popular in Mexico City where it’s originally from.

If you’re familiar with Lebanese food, then you may be pleased to learn that tacos al pastor are descendants of the Lebanese shawarma. More on that in the tacos arabes section of this Mexican food guide.

Tacos de Cabeza

Tacos de cabeza may not be for everyone but it’s personally my favorite type of taco in Mexico. Cabeza means “head” so tacos de cabeza refer to tacos filled with meat from the animal’s head like cachete (cheeks), lengua (tongue), ojo (eyes), seso (brain), and labio (lips).

The texture of head meat is quite different from regular cuts of beef or pork so I strongly advise anyone to try them at least once in Mexico. Tacos de cabeza, I labio. Sorry.

Tacos de Pescado / Camaron

If you’re from California, then tacos de pescado or camaron are no strangers to you. They’re tacos made with battered and fried fish or shrimp served with lettuce, pico de gallo, and a citrus/mayonnaise sour cream sauce.

If you aren’t an adventurous eater, then these will probably be your favorite tacos in Mexico. They’re especially popular in coastal cities like Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Cancun.

Tacos de Guisado

Like tacos al pastor, tacos de guisado are especially popular in Mexico City. Meaning “stew” in Spanish, a taco de guisado consists of a soft corn tortilla topped with a variety of stewed meats and vegetables.

The tasty pair of tacos de guisado below are topped with shrimp cake and stuffed chili pepper. They’re garnished with rice, black beans, and queso fresco.

Tacos de Canasta

These are some of the most interesting tacos in Mexico. Tacos de canasta literally means “basket tacos” and refers to tacos that are filled with various stews and then bathed in melted butter or oil. They’re kept in baskets to keep them warm, hence the name tacos de canasta.

Tacos de canasta are among the cheapest if not the cheapest type of taco you can find in Mexico. I’ve enjoyed them for as low as MXN 4 apiece (about USD 0.20).

Tacos Arabes

Tacos arabes is the bridge between Lebanese shawarma and tacos al pastor. A specialty of Puebla, tacos arabes became a part of Mexican cuisine thanks to Lebanese and Syrian immigrants who migrated to Mexico sometime after the First World War.

Compared to tacos al pastor, the meat in tacos arabes is seasoned more simply. Instead of corn tortillas, it’s traditionally rolled in pita bread (pan arabe) and served without any garnishes. To eat, just give it a spritz of lime juice and sauce, usually green or red salsa.

Pictured below are two tacos arabes and one taco oriental from a restaurant in Puebla. Tacos orientales are basically the same thing as tacos arabes except the meat is wrapped in corn tortillas so they’re much smaller.

5. Quesadilla

Quesadillas are among the most popular Mexican foods outside of Mexico. It’s basically the same thing as a taco except it’s bigger and filled with a soft melty cheese. Like tacos, quesadillas are traditionally made with corn tortillas but they can be made with flour tortillas as well.

If you look at a taqueria’s menu, it’ll usually list the types of meat they have like al pastor, chorizo, chuleta (pork chop), or arrachera (beef steak). Many taquerias can serve these meats in tacos, quesadillas, or tortas (sandwiches).

6. Salbutes / Panuchos

The Yucatan is home to some of the most interesting food in Mexico. It’s a combination of traditional Mayan food infused with foreign influences. Cochinita pibil, lechon al horno, and relleno negro are some of its most popular dishes and one of the best ways to have them is on salbutes and panuchos.

Salbutes and panuchos are puffy, fried corn tortillas that can be topped with any number of ingredients. It’s basically a Yucatecan variation of the taco. The only difference between salbutes and panuchos is that the latter is stuffed with refried beans and tends to be a little crunchier in texture.

Pictured below is a trio of salbutes and panuchos from a restaurant in Merida. They’re topped with cochinita pibil, lechon al horno, and lomitos de Valladolid.

7. Tlacoyo

When people think of pre-Hispanic food, the first dish that usually comes to mind is tamales. Tamales are tasty but you should also look for tlacoyo, a traditional Mexican dish that’s existed for thousands of years.

A popular street snack in Mexico City, tlacoyos are oval-shaped corn masa snacks stuffed with a variety of ingredients like beans, cheese, chicharron, and vegetables. It’s an interesting Mexican dish that’s probably not as easy to come by outside of Mexico.

8. Tamales

As described, the tamal is perhaps the most well-known pre-Hispanic dish not just in Mexico, but in all of Latin America. It consists of masa corn dough steamed in corn husk or banana leaves. It exists in many varieties throughout Mexico and can be enjoyed plain or stuffed with a variety of ingredients like meat, cheese, mole, herbs, and vegetables.

In Oaxaca, we had a terrific version enriched with mole negro, but the tastiest tamal I’ve had so far in Mexico is this incredibly delicious tamal colado from Merida. It’s a Yucatecan version of tamales made with strained corn dough. Straining the masa results in a softer, much more delicate type of tamal.

Personally, I’m not that fond of tamales but this one made me a fan. You seriously need to try it if you visit the Yucatan Peninsula.


If you like tamales and are spending time in the Mexican capital, then guajolota is another dish you should look for. A popular street food dish in CDMX, it’s basically a tamal sandwich that’s commonly eaten for breakfast with atole.

Atole is a hot corn and masa beverage sweetened with piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar), vanilla, and cinnamon.

9. Torta

Torta refers to any type of sandwich in Mexico. The guajolota above is one type of torta. Depending on where you go in Mexico, you can find tortas that are specific to that city or region. Listed below are some of the best Mexican tortas we’ve tried so far.

Tortas Ahogadas

If you visit Guadalajara, there are two local dishes that you absolutely must try – birria and tortas ahogadas. Meaning “drowned sandwich”, tortas ahogadas are meat-filled submarine sandwiches drenched – and I mean DRENCHED – in a spicy tomato- or chili-based sauce.

Tortas ahogadas are so soppingly wet that you basically need to eat them with a spoon. They’re messy but delicious and oh so worth it.


I absolutely love sandwiches and Pueblan cemitas are among my favorite sandwiches in the world. If tacos are king in the Mexican capital, in Puebla, it’s cemitas. The term cemita can refer to both the sandwich and the sesame-covered bread roll it’s made with.

Cemitas in Puebla can be made with different fillings but traditionally, a classic cemita poblana is made with chicken or pork milanesa, quesillo (Oaxacan cheese), avocado, pápalo, onions, and chili peppers – either chipotle adobado or rajas (roasted poblano peppers).

Let me just say that there are no superfluous ingredients in this sandwich. Every component does its part in the construction of what could very well be the perfect Mexican sandwich. It’s so damn good and something I ate almost everyday in Puebla.


Pelonas are another sandwich that you need to try in Puebla. Unlike cemitas which can be made with different fillings, pelonas are made with a specific set of ingredients – shredded beef, refried beans, lettuce, and salsa.

What makes this Pueblan sandwich truly special is that it’s served on a crunchy fried bread roll.


If you ever visit León or Guanajuato City, then you need to try this beast of a sandwich called the guacamaya. Originally from León, it’s basically an open-faced sandwich made with a bolillo bread roll stuffed with roast pork, shards of chicharron, avocado, lime juice, and salsa.

This picture doesn’t even do the guacamaya justice. You need to see it to appreciate just how big and loaded this beautiful Mexican sandwich really is.

10. Elotes / Esquites

Corn is the most important ingredient in many Mexican recipes so it’s no surprise that elotes and esquites are among the most popular street foods in Mexico. They’re very similar dishes prepared in slightly different ways.

Pictured below is an elote. It’s basically boiled corn on the cob slathered with butter, mayonnaise, garlic, chili powder, Cotija cheese, and lime juice. It’s simple and very messy to eat but oh so delicious.

Esquites are very similar to elotes except the corn kernels are shaved off the cob and served in a cup. Check out this gorgeous spoonful of corn, Cotija cheese, chili powder, and lemon juice.

Personally, I enjoy elotes more but if you don’t like messy food, then it’s probably best to go with esquites. Pretty much every roadside vendor I’ve seen that sells elotes will also have esquites.

11. Tlayuda

Oaxaca is known for having some of the best food in Mexico and tlayudas are among the tastiest dishes you can try there. It refers to a large, partially fried or toasted tortilla topped with refried beans, asiento (unrefined pork lard), quesillo, and other ingredients like shredded lettuce, avocado slices, and roasted meats.

Tlayuda is a popular street food in Oaxaca and sometimes described as a form of Mexican pizza. It can be served open-faced, like a regular pizza, or folded in half like below. Some stalls or restaurants will serve it with pipicha, a cilantro-like herb often used in Mexican cuisine.

12. Memela

Memelas are another popular street snack that you need to try in Oaxaca. It refers to round or oval-shaped discs of toasted masa topped with refried beans and a variety of other ingredients like tinga (shredded chicken stew), chicharron, fried eggs, queso fresco, and guacamole. It can be eaten for breakfast, as an appetizer, or as a midday snack.

13. Chalupa

If Oaxaca has memelas, then Puebla has chalupas. Chalupas are about the same size as memelas but instead of being toasted on a comal (flat Mexican griddle), the corn tortillas are fried in oil.

Chalupas are usually topped with red or green salsa but you can find versions made with mole poblano as well. They’re almost always topped with shredded chicken or pork and chopped onions.

14. Empanada

The empanada is a hugely popular snack that’s consumed in many former Spanish colonies like Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, and the Philippines. Originally from Spain, its name stems from the word empanar which means “to bread” or “to wrap something in bread”.

Empanadas are half-moon-shaped turnover pastries that can vary greatly in size. They can be fried or baked and filled with a multitude of different ingredients like meat, peas, mashed potato, tomato, hard-boiled egg, raisins, and cheese.

This large baked empanada from Guanajuato was filled with mole rojo and pollo deshebrado (shredded chicken). Delicious!

Empanada de Amarillo

Empanada de amarillo is another specialty dish from Oaxaca. Unlike most empanadas which are typically pinched shut, this version looks more like a quesadilla.

Empanadas de amarillo are made with a large corn tortilla toasted on a comal. It’s then filled with a specific set of ingredients – mole amarillo (yellow mole) and shredded chicken – before being folded in half and served.


The molote is another large Mexican empanada, this time from Puebla. What makes it unique is that it’s made with a mixture of corn masa mixed with all-purpose flour, resulting in a pastry shell that’s much crunchier in texture than typical empanadas.

Molotes are deep-fried and can be filled with a variety of different ingredients like shredded chicken, huitlacoche (corn smut), quesillo, mushroom, and potato. They’re usually topped with crema (Mexican sour cream) and either green or red salsa.

Molotes topped with all three sauces are called “bandera”, because the green, white, and red sauces resemble the colors of the Mexican flag.

15. Insects

Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, may be strange to some people but in Mexico, edible insects have been an important source of protein for thousands of years. Insects continue to form an important part of the local cuisine, especially in central and southern Mexican states like Oaxaca, Puebla, Guerrero, Chiapas, and Campeche.

If you’re spending time in CDMX, then a great place to try edible insects is Mercado de San Juan. Aside from carrying some of the best produce in the city, you’ll find a few stalls at the market selling insects like chapulines (grasshoppers), scorpions, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, maguey worms, and hormigas chicatanas (leaf-cutter ants).

I had a chocolate- and sesame-covered scorpion on a stick. It was good! Like a crunchy, chocolatey, sesame-covered potato chip.


Chapulines or grasshoppers are among the most common edible insects you’ll find in Mexico. They’re especially popular in Oaxaca where you’ll find them sold at markets as a ready-to-eat snack, or served as an ingredient in tlayudas, tostadas, and omelettes.

Chapulines are well-seasoned with lime juice, garlic, chili, and salt so they make for tasty bar snacks. We once bought a small bag of chapulines from a market and took it to a mezcaleria in Oaxaca to enjoy with our mezcal tasting. Trust me, they go very well together.

By far the strangest dish we’ve had made with grasshoppers was nieves con chapulines. Nieves refer to water-based Mexican ice creams. They’re typically made with fruit but this one was flavored with chapulines. You couldn’t see the grasshoppers but you could definitely taste them!


Hormiga chicatana or simply “chicatana” refers to a species of leaf-cutter ant (Atta mexicana). As you can see in the picture below, they’re a fairly large species of ant that’s typically harvested in central and southern Mexico during the rainy season, from around late May to early July.

Depending on the region, they can be prepared in different ways. They can be toasted on a comal and eaten as snacks, fried and eaten in tacos, made into sauces, or mixed into stews. According to a chef we met in San Miguel de Allende, they’re quite laborious to prepare because each ant has to be cleaned by hand.

Chicatanas may be difficult to prepare but one taste of delicious dishes like this mole de hormiga chicatana makes all the effort worthwhile.

Isn’t this gorgeous? You eat the mole as a dip using the vegetables as scoops. We enjoyed this beautiful and very interesting dish at a restaurant in San Miguel de Allende.


If you want the Rolls Royce of insect dishes in Mexico, then you need to look for escamoles. Known as “Mexican caviar”, it refers to a pre-Hispanic dish made with edible ant larvae and pupae.

We’ve been trying to find escamoles since February with no luck. It’s a highly seasonal dish that’s usually available in central Mexico around April and May. Apparently, it takes some skill to prepare them correctly so they’re typically served only at fancier restaurants. They’re quite expensive too, hence the nickname “Mexican caviar”.

Escamole – ant eggs by Kent Wang, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom


Platos fuertes means “main dishes” and refers to Mexican dishes that are typically served as entrees. Not all of the dishes in this section are classic platos fuertes (like pozole or ceviche), but they’re typically more common at restaurants than at roadside stalls so I decided to include them here.

16. Pozole

Pozole refers to a pre-Hispanic Mexican soup or stew that’s enjoyed throughout the country. Its key ingredient is hominy corn mixed with meat (usually pork or chicken) and other ingredients like shredded lettuce or cabbage, chili peppers, radishes, onions, garlic, avocados, and lime.

There are three main types of pozole in Mexico – rojo (red), verde (green), and blanco (white). Blanco is made without any additional red or green sauces while rojo and verde get their color from additional ingredients like red chili peppers, tomatillos, epazote (Mexican herb), and cilantro.

Pictured below is a supremely tasty bowl of pozole rojo from a restaurant in Oaxaca.

17. Ceviche / Aguachile

Ceviche is a popular South American seafood dish originally from Peru. It’s made with fresh raw fish cured in fresh citrus juices, most commonly lime or lemon.

Ceviche can be found throughout Mexico but as you’d expect, it’s especially popular in coastal cities. This version from a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta was made with tilapia, onion, wild carrot, cucumber, cilantro, and serrano pepper.

Equally popular in Mexico is aguachile, a similar seafood dish that’s made with raw shrimp instead of fish. Unlike ceviche that’s originally a Peruvian dish, aguachile is a homegrown Mexican dish hailing from the western coastal state of Sinaloa.

What you’re looking at below is a version of aguachile from the same restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. It’s made with shrimp, cucumber, onion, cilantro, and salsa served with a side of crunchy tostadas.

18. Burrito

Like tacos and quesadillas, burritos are among the most popular Mexican dishes outside of Mexico. In fact, they’re so popular in the US that they’re often mistaken for Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex dishes rather than being authentic Mexican food.

The truth is, burritos are a traditional food in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. It’s especially popular in Ciudad Juárez, a city that borders El Paso, Texas. I went on a food tour in Mexico City and according to my guide, burritos crossed the border and became so popular that many people believed that they actually originated in the US.

The original Mexican version of the burrito is relatively small and thin. It’s made with a flour tortilla filled with just one or two ingredients. In comparison, the US version is much heftier and can be filled with over half-a-dozen ingredients like shredded beef, lettuce, beans, rice, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese.

Outside of northern Mexico, the classic Mexican burrito isn’t that common but you can find it in popular tourist destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Tulum.

19. Mole

Mole is one of the most important dishes in Mexican food culture. Meaning “sauce” in Nahuatl, it doesn’t refer to a single dish but to a family of sauces often used in Mexican cuisine. Mole is considered by many to be the pinnacle of Mexican gastronomy and is perhaps one reason why traditional Mexican food was given Intangible Cultural Heritage status by UNESCO.

There are hundreds of known mole recipes throughout Mexico, many of which are incredibly tedious and laborious to make. Among the most famous are mole poblano and Oaxaca’s seven moles (pictured below).

Mole Poblano

Mole poblano is the most famous mole in Mexico. When someone says “mole”, the first mole that usually comes to mind is mole poblano. It’s a Mexican classic from Puebla that’s viewed by many as the national dish of Mexico.

Mole poblano is a thick dark sauce made with over twenty ingredients like cocoa, different types of chili peppers, almonds, bananas, walnuts, raisins, tortillas, and spices. It’s intensely rich in flavor and typically served over chicken or pork with a side of corn tortillas and rice.

Needless to say, mole poblano is a must-try dish in Puebla. It’s believed to have been invented in the 16th century by nuns who improvised and used whatever ingredients they had to prepare a dish for the visiting archbishop.


I’m not entirely sure if pipian qualifies as a true mole, but it’s another traditional sauce that you can find in Puebla. Pipia refers to any Mexican sauce made with pepitas (pumpkin seeds) as its main ingredient.

In Puebla, you can find two types of pipian – pipian rojo (red) and pipian verde (green). They’re made with ground toasted pumpkin seeds mixed with a plethora of other ingredients. They’re typically served in the same way as mole poblano – over chicken with a side of rice and tortillas.

Pictured below is a mole degustation platter from a restaurant in Puebla. It contains mole negro, pipian verde, pipian rojo, and another type of Mexican mole called mole blanco (white).

Mole Negro

Mole negro is the most famous of the seven moles in Oaxaca. It’s also the most difficult to prepare and typically contains over thirty ingredients including six types of chili peppers.

We had dinner with a local Oaxaqueño one night and according to him, a proper mole negro takes about three days to prepare from scratch. Like mole poblano, mole negro is a no-brainer. It’s a definite must-try in Oaxaca.

Mole Coloradito

After mole negro, mole coloradito is perhaps the second most well-known mole in Oaxaca. Meaning “reddish” or a “little red” in Spanish, coloradito refers to a reddish-brown sauce that isn’t as rich as mole negro. I like them both but personally, I prefer mole coloradito. It’s more of an everyday type dish.

20. Chiles en Nogada

Chiles en nogada has to be one of the prettiest dishes in Mexican cuisine. It’s another signature dish of Puebla that’s considered by many to be a Mexican national dish.

Chiles en nogada is a seasonal dish made with a large poblano pepper stuffed with a picadillo mixture. The stuffed pepper is then drenched in a walnut-based cream sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley.

As described, chiles en nogada is a seasonal dish that’s typically available only in August and September when pomegranates are in season. It also coincides with Mexican Independence Day. It’s a celebratory dish whose main ingredients are said to resemble the colors of the Mexican flag – poblano pepper for green, walnut cream sauce for white, and pomegranate seeds for red.

Touristy restaurants in Puebla will serve chiles en nogada at other times of the year (using tasteless pomegranate seeds), but it’s best to try it when it’s in season. It’s a beautiful dish and one of the best things we’ve eaten so far in Mexico.

21. Barbacoa

Mexicans love a good barbecue. It’s a cooking tradition that originated in the Caribbean with the Taino people, who called it barbaca. Barbaca became “barbacoa”, and ultimately “barbecue”.

In Mexico, barbacoa is a general term used to describe the method of slow-roasting meats over an open fire, traditionally in a pit dug in the ground and covered with maguey leaves. It exists in different variations throughout Mexico but the tradition seems strongest in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo.

On the plate below are three tacos filled with Hidalgo-style barbacoa. Barbacoa can be made with different types of meat but in Hidalgo, the meat of choice is lamb. For many Mexican families, it’s a weekend tradition that’s typically enjoyed for breakfast.


Birria is a type of Mexican goat stew from Guadalajara and Jalisco state. It’s often confused with barbacoa but they’re not the same thing. Barbacoa pertains to a cooking process while birria is a specific dish that can be made from barbacoa meat.

Birria refers to a delicious dish made with slow-cooked spicy goat meat adobo served in a soup or stew with garlic, cumin, thyme, and bay leaves. It can be cooked entirely in a pot but it can also be prepared using pit-cooked barbacoa meat.

No matter how it’s prepared, it’s something that you absolutely need to try in Guadalajara.

Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita pibil is the most famous dish from the Yucatan Peninsula. It refers to a type of barbacoa made with slow-roasted pork marinated in sour orange juice and achiote. The marinated pork is then wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an earthen oven for up to 16 hours.

Like any type of barbacoa, this slow-cooking process results in a Mexican meat dish that’s incredibly tender and juicy. Popular in Merida, Valladolid, and any other city in the Yucatan, cochinita pibil is typically eaten in salbutes, panuchos, tacos, or tortas.

22. Carne en su Jugo

Carne en su jugo is another specialty meat dish from Guadalajara. It literally means “meat in its own juices” and refers to a dish made with thin slices of beef steak (ala Philly cheesesteak) cooked in its own juices and then served with bits of bacon and beans.

Like many Mexican meat dishes, it’s typically served with corn tortillas and a few side dishes like refried beans, chopped onions, cilantro, and salsa.


23. Flan

One of the most common desserts you’ll find on a Mexican restaurant’s menu is flan napolitano. It’s basically the Mexican version of a creamy custard dessert popular in many countries around the world like Spain, Portugal, Brazil and the Philippines.


Originally from Guadalajara, Jericalla is a type of Mexican flan that’s baked in uncovered individual molds. Similar to creme brulee, it has a sightly burnt top that’s browned under a broiler.

24. Raspados

You can find raspados everywhere in Mexico. Sold from mobile street carts and raspado stalls, it’s a Mexican dessert made with shaved ice sweetened with a wide array of flavored syrups like mango, tamarind, nut, pineapple, and soursop.

In my hand below is a cookies and cream with rompope (Mexican eggnog) raspado. It’s drizzled with chocolate sprinkles and served with an Oreo cookie.


Machacados aren’t raspados but they’re very similar. Originally from Chetumal in Quintana Roo, it’s a shaved ice dessert topped with crushed fruit and condensed milk instead of the usual flavored syrups. They’re really good.

25. Nieves

You’ll typically find these three words on a Mexican ice cream shop’s menu – helados, paletas, and nieves. Paletas are frozen popsicles while helados are your usual milk-based ice creams. All three are delicious but nieves may be the most interesting.

Meaning “snow” in English, nieve refers to a type of Mexican water-based ice cream flavored with natural fruits and other ingredients. You can think of it as a Mexican version of sorbet.

Though I prefer the creaminess of helados, nieves are often made with more interesting flavors like chamoy (pickled fruit), tequila limon, mezcal, and maracuya (passionfruit).


We’ve been living in Mexico for four months now but we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of Mexican cuisine. We learn a little more after each new city and state we visit so we’ll continue to refine and add to this guide the longer we stay in Mexico.

We’ve eaten our way through seven Mexican states thus far and will be exploring at least eight more in the coming months. I can’t wait to add to this guide and share what we find with all of you.

Until then, thanks for reading and have an amazing time sampling all the delicious food in Mexico.


Some of the links in this article on Mexican food are affiliate links. If you make a booking, then we’ll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel and food guides. Thank you!

Mexico City Food Guide: 22 Must-Visit Restaurants, Markets, and Street Food Stalls in CDMX

To be honest, I didn’t know if I should write this Mexico City food guide. The Mexican capital is one of the largest cities in the world so I didn’t know how one article could do justice to the vast and diverse culinary landscape of Mexico City (CDMX). Roma-Condesa alone would take several articles to adequately cover.

But as is always the case with any food and restaurant guide, taste is subjective. Some people prefer fine dining, others are drawn to street food. There can never be one perfect guide to satisfy everyone’s tastes so I did my best to come up with a list of what we believe to be some of the best restaurants and food experiences in Mexico City.

Although the focus of this article is on Mexican food, we tried to create as diverse a list as possible. What you’ll find in this Mexico City food guide is a list of establishments that cover the gamut from fine dining restaurants to roadside stalls to cafes and dessert shops.

If you’re visiting Mexico City for a few days and love Mexican food, then I hope this article leads you to many memorable meals in the Mexican capital.

If you’d like to go on a food tour, then be sure to check out our guide to the tastiest food tours in Mexico City.


To help plan your trip to Mexico City, we’ve put together links to recommended hotels, tours, and other travel-related services here.


Top-rated hotels in Roma-Condesa, one of the best areas to stay in Mexico City.

  • Luxury: CASA LUCIANA Condesa
  • Midrange: Casa Mannach
  • Budget: Casa Melgar


  • Sightseeing Tour: Chapultepec Castle and Anthropology Museum Tour
  • Bike Tour: Street Art Bike Tour with Snack
  • Food Tours: Mexico City Foor Tours and Cooking Classes
  • Day Trip: Teotihuacan, Guadalupe Shrine & Tlatelolco Tour


  • Travel Insurance (with COVID cover)
  • Airport Transfer
  • Mexico SIM Card

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this guide to some of the best Mexico City restaurants? Click on the save button and pin it for later!


To help organize this list of the best Mexico City restaurants, I’ve arranged them by category. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. Restaurants
  2. Taquerias / Street Food Stalls
  3. Pastelerias / Cafes
  4. Markets / Food Halls


1. Quintonil

There’s no better way to start this list of the best Mexico City restaurants than with Quintonil. Google “best restaurants in mexico city” and Quintonil is guaranteed to be on every list. As of this writing, it’s number 8 on the list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America and number 27 overall on the 50 Best global list.

Helmed by Chef Jorge Vallejo, what you’ll find at Quintonil are modern interpretations of traditional Mexican cuisine. Dishes like spider crab in green mole with lime kaffir or braised oxtail in black recado sauce instantly jumped out at us.

Up to this point, we had been enjoying mostly street food and local fonda fare (small family-owned eateries), so seeing and tasting what a talented chef could do with local ingredients was interesting.

If I remember correctly, this dish was a cold starter made with nopales. Nopales refer to the edible pads of the prickly pear cactus plant.

This is one of the dishes I was referring to above. What you’re looking at is an appetizer of spider crab in green mole with lime kaffir, Thai basil, and blue corn tostadas. I don’t know what’s in it but that green sauce was delicious.

For my entree, I went with this incredibly tasty braised oxtail in black recado with almond puree and red onions. Like many traditional Mexican dishes, they serve it with a side of fresh tortillas.

You put a little bit of everything into the blue corn tortilla and eat it like a taco. After weeks of eating street tacos, it was nice to see a more modern take on traditional Mexican food.

For her entree, Ren chose the striped bass in a chapulin (grasshopper) adobo with cauliflower, grilled kale, and kohlrabi dressing. Just look at the char on that bass!

We had a lot of amazing food in Mexico City, but this dish may have been the best. It was so damn good.

For dessert, we had this inventive dish made with guava rocks, pink pepper, and caramelized white chocolate. If I remember our server’s description correctly, they call it “guava rocks” because it’s made with nitrous-frozen chunks of guava. Fantastic!

Headed by one of the most talented young Mexican chefs in CDMX, Quintonil is one of the best restaurants in Mexico City – top two or three easily – so it’s a great place to go for a truly special meal in the capital. In spite of its reputation, the restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere and a warm and welcoming dining room. I sometimes feel uneasy at places like this but I felt completely comfortable here.

We ordered ala carte but if you’re celebrating a special occasion, then you may want to go for the tasting menus. Dishes are seasonal so you can check the Quintonil website for the latest offerings.


Address: Av. Isaac Newton 55, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 12:30PM-12MN, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Tasting menu

2. Entremar

Headed by Chef Gabriela Cámara, Contramar in Roma Norte is one of the best restaurants in Mexico City for seafood. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most popular. We tried showing up one day without reservations and the wait, for a table for two, was over two hours. Luckily for us, there’s Entremar.

Not as many tourists know this, but Chef Cámara has another seafood restaurant in Polanco called Entremar. It has a very similar menu as Contramar but you don’t have to wait nearly as long for a table. In our case, we went for lunch and we didn’t have to wait at all. By the time we finished our meal, the restaurant was at most half full so I suggest going here instead.

We started our lunch with this terrific appetizer of tuna tostadas. Each order comes with four pieces.

We fell in love with this dish in Spain so we followed the tuna tostadas with this beautiful pulpo a la gallega. Also known as polbo a feira, this delicious Spanish tapas dish consisting of boiled octopus served with loads of paprika is a specialty of Galicia in the northwest region of Spain.

This fish dish is what we came here for. We had read about Contramar’s pescado a la talla so we were thrilled to find it here at Entremar as well.

Pescado a la talla is a grilled butterflied whole fish that can be topped with a red chili sauce, a green parsley sauce, or both. The two sauces are equally delicious so I suggest getting both.

To eat, you take slivers of the grilled fish and wrap them in fresh tortillas with refried beans and avocado. ¡Riquisimo!

Entremar offers different types of beer on their menu but I recommend getting a pitcher of clericot instead. Available in 1- or 2-liter pitchers, it refers to a sangria-like drink that’s popular throughout Latin America.

Entremar is a two-story restaurant right next to Parque Uruguay in the chic Polanco district. They have a spacious dining room but if a table is available, then I recommend sitting upstairs on the balcony. You’ll have an overhead view of the park while tucking into your tasty pescado a la talla.


Address: B Y C, Hegel 307, Polanco V Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Operating Hours: 12NN-8PM, daily
What to Order: Seafood dishes

3. Panaderia Rosetta

Like Contramar, Panaderia Rosetta is one of the most popular restaurants in Mexico City. Helmed by celebrated Chef Elena Reygadas, it’s a hugely popular bakery and restaurant in the Roma Norte neighborhood, just around the corner from Chef Reygadas’ equally popular Mexican-Italian restaurant Rosetta.

La Panaderia serves mostly pastries and light breakfast dishes so they’re most popular for brunch, but they do offer a few sandwiches as well. One of the pastries they’re best known for is this flaky guava roll filled with creamy ricotta. It’s delicious and a must-try at Panaderia Rosetta.

Behind the guava roll is a bolillo bread roll filled with asiago cheese and tomato.

Pictured below is a pair of soft-boiled eggs served with tarragon butter and rye sourdough bread.

Visit Panaderia Rosetta before noon and you’ll find yourself in a sea of hungry diners waiting to get their hands (and their mouths) on their delicious pastries. If I remember correctly, we waited a little over half an hour to be seated.

Chef Elena Reygadas is one of the most respected chefs in Mexico City so you may want to visit Restaurante Rosetta as well. We didn’t go but from what I’ve read, they serve Italian dishes with a Mexican twist.

Panaderia Rosetta

Address: Colima 179, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Operating Hours: 7AM-10PM, Mon-Sat / 7:30AM-9:30PM, Sunday
What to Order: Pastries, light brunch dishes

4. Antolina

Antolina is a great restaurant to visit in the leafy Condesa neighborhood. They serve elevated Mexican cuisine using local ingredients sourced mostly from the chinampas of Xochimilco.

Isn’t this dish beautiful? We shared this starter of molotes de platano in mole negro. Molote refers to a Mexican appetizer or snack made with fried corn masa filled with different ingredients. These were filled with cottage cheese and huazontle.

Can you ever say no to roasted bone marrow? For one of our entrees, we went with these beef flautas drenched in green salsa and served with a side of roasted bone marrow. The bone marrow was nice but a little thin.

This was probably my favorite dish from today’s meal. It doesn’t look like it but pictured below are beef and pork short ribs served in mole manchamanteles. The short ribs are coated in a tempura-style batter and then deep-fried.

Antolina has a lovely dining room but it was a beautiful day so we opted to sit outside. The Condesa neighborhood is great for that.


Address: Aguascalientes 232, Hipódromo, Cuauhtémoc, 06100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Operating Hours: 1-10:30PM, Sun-Wed / 1-11:30PM, Thurs-Sat
What to Order: Molotes, tostadas, flautas

5. El Inicio

El Inicio is a casual restaurant in Roma Norte that serves typical breakfast fare and Mexican comfort food like enchiladas, enfrijoladas (enchiladas in bean sauce), huevos revueltos (scrambled eggs), and omelettes.

Pictured below is a delicious crepe filled with huitlacoche and drowned in a rich mole poblano sauce. Huitlacoche was one of the ingredients we were most excited to try in Mexico. It’s the Mexican term for corn smut, a fungus that grows on maize. It has a taste and texture very similar to mushrooms.

El Inicio is a great place to enjoy a casual Mexican meal in Roma Norte.

El Inicio

Address: Av. Álvaro Obregón 61, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 8:30AM-10PM, Mon-Sat / 8:30AM-6PM, Sunday
What to Order: Enchiladas, enfrijoladas, enmoladas

6. Fonda Margarita

A fonda is a small, family-run Mexican restaurant, similar to an Indonesian warung. Typically located inside a mercado (market), most offer simple menus with classic Mexican dishes made with the freshest local ingredients. I’m partial to traditional Mexican restaurants so fondas were among my favorite places to eat in Mexico.

There are many fondas in Mexico City but one of the most popular is Fonda Margarita. This place is so well-known that a relative of ours, who’s never been to Mexico City, asked us about it. According to him, his Mexican co-workers are always telling him about this fantastic restaurant in Mexico City that serves the most delicious breakfast dishes.

Fonda Margarita offers just a few dishes on their menu but one of the things they’re best known for are these frijoles negros con huveos, or “black beans with eggs”. I believe they serve them to everyone who eats here as a side dish. They’re delicious and go so well with fresh tortillas.

Pictured below is a shallow bowl of cerdo en salsa verde or “pork in green salsa”. The green salsa in this dish was one of the best we had anywhere in Mexico.

Even better than the pork dish were these fried egg tostadas served with a tasty pasilla chili sauce. The dishes at Fonda Margarita are simple but they’re made with soul.

We weren’t planning on having anything else but we saw many locals tucking into this flan-like dessert. I’ve had jericalla and other flan-like dishes in Mexico but this was our first time trying jeriqueso. As its name suggests, it’s a type of flan made with cheese. So good!

If you’d like to enjoy a simple but authentic Mexican breakfast in the city, then Fonda Margarita is a great place to go. They’re open Tuesday to Sunday until noon.

At Fonda Margarita, you’ll be sharing a table with mostly locals. Authentic ad unpretentious, these are exactly the types of restaurants we look for on our trips.

I don’t know if they have them everyday but there was a three-person band playing live bolero music while we were there. We loved the atmosphere of this place.

Fonda Margarita

Address: Adolfo Prieto 1364 B, Tlacoquemecatl del Valle, Benito Juárez, 03100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Operating Hours: 6:30AM-12NN, Tue-Sun (closed on Mondays)
What to Order: Traditional Mexican breakfast


Mexican food is terrific in general but I’m partial to street food so tacos are one of my favorite things about Mexico City. It’s known as the “taco capital of the world” for a reason.

I’ve listed our favorites taquerias below but be sure to click through to our article on the best tacos in Mexico City for more recommendations.

7. Tacos Don Juan

With all the delicious tacos in Mexico City, you’d think we’d have a hard time picking a favorite but we didn’t. Tacos Don Juan in the upscale La Condesa neighborhood was our hands-down favorite taqueria in Mexico City. We enjoyed this place so much that we wound up eating here five times in two weeks.

Tacos Don Juan is a casual neighborhood joint that serves a wealth of tasty tacos made from suadero, lengua, carnitas, pastor, and more. We never had a bad taco here. Everything we ate was absolutely delicious, especially the quesabirria which they serve only on weekends.

Tacos Don Juan gets a steady stream of customers during the week but on weekends, the place gets jam-packed with peole pining for those delicious quesabirria tacos. Be sure to arrive early because they do run out.

Pictured below is a tasty pair of tacos made with suadero (meat from between the belly and leg) and lengua (tongue). Suadero is already one of the best tacos you can eat in Mexico City but Tacos Don Juan makes it even better. They have a version with toasted cheese as well (suaqueso or suadero con queso). Don’t miss it.

This is the line to Tacos Don Juan on a weekday. It gets way more crowded than this on Saturdays and Sundays.

The humble taco is the flag-bearer for Mexican street food and Don Juan is one of the best taco spots to visit in Mexico City.

Tacos Don Juan

Address: Calle Juan Escutia 35, Colonia Condesa, Cuauhtémoc, 06140 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 10AM-4:45PM, Mon-Fri / 10AM-3PM, Sat-Sun
What to Order: Suadero, quesabirria, carnitas

8. El Pescadito

You think Tacos Don Juan is a good enough reason to visit La Condesa? How about two good reasons? El Pescadito is another great taqueria in Mexico City that’s located directly across the street from Don Juan. How’s that for convenience?

Unlike Don Juan which serves tacos topped with different meat fillings, El Pescadito is known for its fish and shrimp tacos. It’s one of the best seafood restaurants we visited in Mexico City. Because they have such different offerings from Don Juan, you can easily visit both on the same day, one after the other.

Pictured below is what they call the que-sotote, a taco made with a shrimp- and cheese-stuffed chili pepper served with even more shrimp and cheese. Like Don Juan, El Pescadito serves loaded tacos so be careful not to overorder.

As much as I love seafood, I’m not as big a fan of fish or shrimp tacos but the offerings at El Pescadito are some of the best we’ve had anywhere in Mexico. They’re absolutely delicious.

El Pescadito

Address: C. Atlixco 38, Colonia Condesa, Cuauhtémoc, 06140 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 10AM-6PM, daily
What to Order: Pescado, camaron

9. El Vilsito (The Best Tacos al Pastor!)

When it comes to tacos in Mexico City, there’s nothing more iconic than tacos al pastor. It’s arguably the most popular taco in the capital and something you’ll find in every neighborhood in Mexico City.

If you’ve never had it, tacos al pastor are made with corn tortillas topped with thin shavings of spit-roasted pork sliced from a vertical rotisserie. It evolved from tacos arabes in Puebla, a dish that was introduced to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants who migrated to the country after the First World War. You can think of tacos al pastor as the Mexican version of Lebanese shawarma.

We enjoyed many tasty tacos al pastor in Mexico City, so it’s hard to pick a favorite, but El Vilsito is definitely one of the best. It’s the unique garage/taqueria featured in the tacos al pastor episode of Taco Chronicles on Netflix.

Pictured below is a beautiful pair of tacos al pastor from El Vilsito. They load them up with lots of al pastor meat, chopped onions, cilantro, and a slice of grilled pineapple. This truly is Mexican street food at its most delicious.

El Vilsito is definitely one of the more unique restaurants we visited in Mexico City. It operates in the same space as an auto repair shop.

One customer drove in with his Kia and stopped to get some tacos while he waited for an estimate. Why can’t we have a taqueria like this at our car repair shop? Ha!

El Vilsito

Address: Petén 248 y, Avenida Universidad, Narvarte Poniente, 03020 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 2PM-3AM, Mon-Thurs / 2PM-5AM, Fri / 3PM-5AM, Sat / 3PM-12MN, Sun
What to Order: Tacos al pastor

10. Tacos Hola El Güero

Tacos Hola El Güero is another terrific taqueria in La Condesa. Like the previous two, it’s exceedingly popular with locals. We walked by this place a lot and it was almost always full no matter what time of day.

Tacos Hola El Güero specializes in tacos de guisados, a type of taco filled with a variety of stewed meats and vegetables like chicharron (pork skin), higado (liver), picadillo (hash), and calabazitas (pumpkin). If you’re a vegetarian, then meatless tacos de guisados are a great option for food in Mexico City.

What you’re looking at below is a quartet of tacos de guisados topped with higado, chorizo with potatoes, picadillo, and chicharron with salsa.

This is the scene you can expect to find at Tacos Hola El Güero – just a bunch of locals enjoying their tacos de guisados on the sidewalk. I absolutely love Mexican street food.

As expected, Hola El Güero gets especially crowded at peak times so I suggest going during off-hours if you can. Tacos de guisados can get a little messy so they’re best eaten while sitting down.

Tacos Hola El Güero

Address: Amsterdam 135, Hipódromo, Cuauhtémoc, 06100 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 9AM-9PM, Mon-Fri / 9AM-7PM, Sat / 8:30AM-3:30PM, Sun
What to Order: Tacos de guisado

11. Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales

Tacos de canasta or “basket tacos” is another type of taco that you should try in Mexico City. They consist of tacos filled with various stews and ingredients like shredded chicken with tomatoes, chorizo with potatoes, refried beans, and more. The tacos are bathed in oil or butter and sold from baskets to keep them warm, hence the name “basket tacos”.

Tacos de canasta are usually sold as street food but in the Historic Center (El Centro) of Mexico City, you can enjoy them at the ultra-popular Los Especiales restaurant. This place is like an assembly line for tasty tacos de canasta.

The line at the restaurant was too long at the time so I picked up an assorted order of five to go. These were some of the best-tasting tacos de canasta we’ve had anywhere in Mexico.

Located in the busy city center, the line to dine inside Los Especiales is always long. If you’d rather not wait, then you can get them to go and enjoy them on a bench somewhere.

Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales

Address: Av Francisco I. Madero 71, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 9AM-10PM, Mon-Sat / 9AM-6PM, Sun
What to Order: Tacos de canasta

12. Tlacoyos at Mercado Medellin

When you hear the phrase “pre-Hispanic Mexican dish”, what’s the first thing you think of? For many people, it’s tamales. But explore the streets of Mexico City and you’ll find another pre-Columbian dish commonly sold as street food – tlacoyo.

Tlacoyo refers to a sandal-shaped Mexican dish made of corn masa. It can be stuffed with a variety of ingredients like beans, cheese, huitlacoche (corn smut), and chicharron before being toasted or fried.

We were about to enter Mercado Medellin in Roma Norte when we found this tlacoyo and quesadilla stall surrounded by customers. Among the customers waiting for their tlacoyo was a local guide leading a food tour. From her shirt, I could see she worked for one of the top food tour companies in Mexico City so I knew we had stumbled onto something really good.

Pictured below is our tasty tlacoyo filled with squash blossom, soft cheese (queso fresco), and beans. There were a lot of customers ahead of us so we had to wait a bit to get this, but it was definitely worth it.

The same street vendor sells excellent quesadillas as well. The masa gets it dark color from blue corn kernels.

Here’s a look inside the quesadilla. We wanted huitlacoche but they were out of it so we got it filled with mushroom, onion, and quesillo (Oaxaca cheese) instead. It was delicious.

It’s amazing to watch these ladies at work. Some of them have been making the same dish for decades so it’s no surprise that some of the best food in Mexico City can be found at places like this.

I don’t believe it has a name but you can find this stall on the corner of Campeche and Medellin Streets in the Roma Norte neighborhood, just outside Mercado Medellin.

Tlacoyos at Mercado Medellin

Address: Corner of Campeche and Medellin, Cuauhtémoc, 06760 Ciudad de México, CDMX
What to Order: Tlacoyos, quesadillas

13. La Esquina del Chilaquil

If you’ve done research on the best street food in Mexico City, then you’ve probably read about La Esquina del Chilaquil. It’s little more than a tent on a corner in La Condesa but they’re one of the most famous street vendors in Mexico City.

As its name suggests, La Esquina del Chilaquil is famous for its tortas (Mexican sandwiches) made with chicken milanesa, chilaquiles (lightly fried tortilla strips), and salsa. Chilaquiles is a popular breakfast dish throughout Mexico but I believe this is the only time we’ve ever had it in a sandwich.

These tortas are a street food classic in Mexico City and a must-do for any Traveleater. They’re quite heavy so you may want to split one sandwich between two people first, just to get a taste.

Here’s what the filling looks like. Not the prettiest sandwich in Mexico City but one of the tastiest. This one was filled with salsa verde (green sauce).

We had read reviews from people having to wait up to 40 minutes for a sandwich. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait that long as the line moves fairly quickly. La Esquina del Chilaquil serves up their tasty sandwiches from 8AM till 1PM daily.

La Esquina del Chilaquil

Address: Alfonso Reyes 139, Hipódromo, Cuauhtémoc, 06100 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 8AM-1PM, daily
What to Order: Torta de chilaquiles

14. Las Escaleras

We learned about this hole-in-the-wall called Las Escaleras from a chef we follow on Instagram. They serve Mexican street foods like tacos, tostadas, and gorditas but what they’re really known for are their quesadillas.

Unlike typical quesadillas in Mexico, these bad boys are much bigger and deep-fried. They can be filled with various ingredients like potatoes, squash blossoms, or huitlacoche before being topped with salsa, shredded lettuce, and queso fresco.

Located in the Centro district, Las Escaleras is literally a hole-in-the-wall. You could probably walk by this stall dozens of times without ever noticing it.

Escaleras means “stairs” in Spanish. When you peer into this tiny space, it becomes clear why the stall is called Las Escaleras. There’s a set of steps right behind this gentleman who makes the quesadillas. I have no idea where it goes but a woman comes down and he passes orders to her.

Las Escaleras

Address: Centro, C. 5 de Febrero 52, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06090 Centro, CDMX, Mexico
Operating Hours: 11AM-2AM, Mon-Sat (closed on Sundays)
What to Order: Quesadillas


15. Quentin Cafe

I was chatting with a barista in San Miguel de Allende and he was telling me that Mexico, as a whole, doesn’t have a strong coffee-drinking culture. It’s true. Aside from a few cities like SMDA and Oaxaca, you don’t see that many coffee shops around. Thankfully, in Mexico City, there’s a cute cafe to satisfy your caffeine cravings on almost every block.

Quentin Cafe is located about a couple of blocks from our AirBnb in La Condesa. We walked by this cafe every day, at least twice a day, and it was never not packed with locals. Their coffee is good but their pastries are incredible.

The kouign-amann hiding behind the cup of coffee below was the best kouign-amann we’ve ever tasted in our lives. It was flaky and buttery and oh so good. We got a croissant to go because of this kouign-amann and it was terrific too.

This is pretty much the scene you can expect to find at Quentin Cafe at any time of day. It’s hugely popular with locals who live in the area.

They have a small indoor seating area but most people enjoy their coffee outside in this lovely makeshift al fresco space. Surrounded by trees and the sound of birds, it’s a great place to enjoy coffee and while away the time in Mexico City.

Quentin Cafe

Address: Amsterdam 67a, Hipódromo, Cuauhtémoc, 06100 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 7AM-10PM, Mon-Fri / 8AM-10PM, Sat / 8AM-9PM, Sun
What to Order: Coffee, pastries

16. Pasteleria Ideal

Speaking of pastries, Pasteleria Ideal is the place to go for traditional sweets in Mexico City’s Historic Center. I was walking near the zocalo (main square) when a Mexican tourist walked up to me and asked where the shop was after spotting my Pasteleria Ideal bag.

Pasteleria Ideal seems to be one of the most successful pastry shops in Mexico City. This becomes clear when you walk into their stores and see the horde of customers clearing the pastries off their shelves.

One of the things that surprised me the most about Pasteleria Ideal was how big it is. I know they have two or three branches in El Centro but the one I went to along Republica de Uruguay is massive.

I was expecting a cute little pastry shop but this is more like a pastry supermarket. Aside from the dozens and dozens of pastry varieties they have on display, they have dozens and dozens of cakes and cookies too!

If you have a sweet tooth, then you definitely need to make a stop at Pasteleria Ideal after going sightseeing in El Centro. They’re strictly a takeaway shop. There’s no dining area so you’ll need to get everything to go.

This is what I brought home with me that day – a slice of guava dulce de leche cake. It was delicious and just one of many tasty treats you can bring home from Pasteleria Ideal.

Pasteleria Ideal

Address: República de Uruguay 74, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Venustiano Carranza, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 5AM-8PM, daily
What to Order: Pastries, cakes, cookies

17. Churreria El Moro

Google “where to eat in mexico city” and many articles will mention Churreria El Moro. It’s a popular chain of churrerias that could very well serve the very best churros in Mexico City.

I don’t know if this is a permanent item on their menu but aside from the usual churros, they were offering red velvet churros. Aren’t they pretty? Like the regular variety, they’re coated in a sugar-cinnamon mix but instead of hot chocolate, they come with a cream cheese dip.

El Churreria El Moro also offers churro ice cream sandwiches. These were ok. I suggest sticking to the churros with hot chocolate.

If you’re a vegan, then you’ll be pleased to know that El Churreria El Moro makes 100% vegan churros as well.

Aside from their delicious churros, what I loved most about Churreria El Moro is their branding. Every shop looks like this – minimalist with a clean white and blue color palette. We went to their branch in La Condesa but they have several outlets throughout Mexico City.

Churreria El Moro

Address: Multiple locations
Operating Hours: Varies per branch
What to Order: Churros con chocolate

18. Chocolateria La Rifa

Coffee from Oaxaca, Vercaruz, and Chiapas is good, but do you know what’s even better in Mexico? Chocolate.

Mexican chocolate has been an important commodity in the country for thousands of years. It dates back to the times of the Mayans and the Aztecs when cacao beans were used not just for consumption, but for religious reasons and as a form of currency.

Today, about 99% of cacao in Mexico is produced in the states of Tabasco and Chiapas. We wanted to find a good chocolate place in CDMX and our research led us to Chocolateria La Rifa, a small cafe and chocolateria in the trendy Juarez neighborhood of Mexico City.

In Mexico, you can get chocolate drinks made with different intensities and mixed with either water or milk. Personally, I prefer milk but water is more traditional.

The Juarez neighborhood is one of our favorite areas in Mexico City. Similar in feel to La Condesa or Roma Norte, it’s a trendy tree-lined borough with lots of interesting restaurants and cafes like Chocolateria La Rifa that you can visit.

Chocolateria La Rifa

Address: C. Dinamarca 47, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 8:30AM-9PM, daily
What to Order: Mexican chocolate


We love markets and food halls in Mexico because they offer a wealth of food options. Mercados are home to fondas that make some of the most delicious traditional Mexican dishes. In contrast, food halls are trendier, more Instagram-worthy establishments that offer modern global fare. You’ll find plenty of both in Mexico City.

I didn’t include them in this list but two of the most famous traditional markets in Mexico City are Mercado de San Juan and Mercado La Merced. If you’d like to eat insects in CDMX, then I suggest going to Mercado de San Juan. I ate a chocolate-covered scorpion there.

19. Comedor de Los Milagros

Comedor de Los Milagros is a fun food hall in the Roma neighborhood. It’s technically in Roma Sur but it’s right on the border with Roma Norte, not too far from Mercado Medellin. It’s home to about a dozen stalls offering both international and Mexican food.

If you’re traveling in a group, then food halls like this one are always a great choice. With all the choices available, there’s usually something for everyone.

I don’t remember the name of the stall but we spent the afternoon eating mollejas de res (beef gizzard) and washing it down with giant mugs of ice-cold Mexican beer.

Don’t you just love the vibe at these trendy food halls? They’re always fun and the energy is great. They’re not necessarily known for serving the best or cheapest food but you’re guaranteed to have a good time every time.

Comedor de Los Milagros has two floors. The first floor has all the food kiosks while the second floor, which is mostly a balcony with a few tables, has these fun Instagram backdrops.

Comedor de Los Milagros

Address: Medellín 221, Roma Sur, Cuauhtémoc, 06760 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 11:30AM-11:30PM, Mon-Wed / 11:30AM-2AM, Thurs-Fri / 10AM-2AM, Sat-Sun

20. Mercado Roma

I had read about Mercado Roma in an older article on the best things to do in Mexico City. If I remember correctly, it’s one of the first if not the very first food hall that opened in the Roma Norte neighborhood.

Mercado Roma looks just as cool as it did in that article but the vibe here felt quite different from Comedor de Los Milagros. The people working at the various stalls were so much more aggressive. They were all trying to get us to eat their stall, which I didn’t like at all. It was a massive turn-off so we wound up leaving and going somewhere else.

I have a pet peeve about overly aggressive touts but if that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll probably enjoy Mercado Roma. It looks like a good place to get a drink.

Aggressive touts aside, Mercado Roma is a cool-looking food hall with plenty of choices for food and drink. It has a second floor, occupied by a restaurant/bar if I remember correctly, and a nightclub somewhere upstairs.

Mercado Roma

Address: C. Querétaro 225, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 10AM-10:30PM, Mon-Wed / 10AM-12:30AM, Thurs / 10AM-1AM, Fri-Sat / 10AM-7:30PM, Sun

21. Comedor Lucerna

Located in the Juarez neighborhood, Comedor Lucerna is similar in feel to Comedor de Los Milagros except it’s a little smaller with fewer food stalls.

We were here in the middle of the afternoon on a cloudy weekday so we had the place pretty much to ourselves, but it may get busier at night or on weekends.

We wanted a little break from Mexican food so we went with a stall that served American comfort food like hot dogs and burgers. They were ok.

Burgers are my ultimate comfort food. What’s yours?

Comedor Lucerna is a colorful food hall that’s hard to miss. If you explore the Juarez neighborhood, then you may want to stop here for a quick bite and a drink.

Comedor Lucerna

Address: C. Lucerna 51, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 12NN-11PM, Sun-Wed / 12NN-1AM, Thurs-Sat

22. Mercado de Coyoacan

The Coyoacan neighborhood is a must-visit in Mexico City. Located towards the south of CDMX, it’s far enough and different enough that it feels almost like a separate city.

The Frida Kahlo House Museum is arguably the top attraction in Coyoacan but one place that you shouldn’t miss, especially if you’re hungry, is Mercado de Coyoacan. It’s home to one of the best market stalls we visited anywhere in Mexico City.

Tostadas Coyoacan is clearly the most popular stall at Mercado de Coyoacan. They occupy four or five stalls so they’re kinda hard to miss!

As their name suggests, Tostadas Coyoacan is known for its tostadas. They’re basically crunchy deep-fried tortillas topped with a variety of ingredients.

This tostada was topped with tinga de pollo or shredded chicken cooked in tomato sauce. Delicious!

Can you tell what those translucent chunks are peeking out from underneath the mound of lettuce? It’s called pata and refers to cartilage/tendon made from pork feet.

If you’ve never had tendon before, it has a soft and chewy texture that’s sort of similar to pork ear, but with less snap. We love it.

This tostada was topped with octopus…

…and this one with spicy shrimp. I forgot to take a picture of it but we had tuna tostadas as well. Every single one of these tostadas was delicious and among the best we had anywhere in Mexico.

Mercado de Coyoacan

Address: Ignacio Allende s/n, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Operating Hours: 8AM-8PM, daily


To help you navigate to these Mexico City restaurants, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. Click on the link for a live version of the map.


Mexico City is a food lover’s paradise. You can’t visit Mexico City and not be overwhelmed by its many restaurants and street stalls offering an endless variety of Mexican food.

We absolutely love tacos which is one of the main reasons why we enjoyed Mexico City so much. It’s home to the best and biggest variety of tacos in Mexico. I’ve already talked about tacos de suadero, guisado, canasta, and al pastor, but another taco you may want to try is cochinita pibil.

A specialty of Mayan cuisine, cochinita pibil tacos are made with Yucatan-style pork marinated in sour orange juice and then slow-cooked in an earthen oven. It’s common in Merida and Valladolid but not so much in Mexico City. One of the best places to have it in CDMX is at the popular El Turix taqueria in swanky Polanco.

Lastly, I know how in-demand vegetarian food is these days. We’re meat eaters so we didn’t try any, but if you’d like to have vegetarian or vegan tacos in Mexico City, then one of the most recommended places is the Por Siempre Vegana taqueria in Roma Norte.

And with that, I’ll end this Mexico City food guide and wish you many unforgettable meals in this vast, frenzied, sometimes confusing, but always delicious city. ¡Buen provecho!


Some of the links in this guide to the best Mexico City restaurants are affiliate links. What that means is that we’ll get a small commission if you make a booking at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. ¡Muchas gracias!

Filipino Snacks: 15 Popular Snacks You Need to Eat for Merienda in the Philippines

Filipinos LOVE to eat. Eating and sharing food is a big part of Filipino culture. It brings people together and builds a sense of community. Rarely will you attend a gathering or celebration in the Philippines where food wasn’t a central component.

In fact, one of the most common greetings in the Philippines (even among strangers) is kain na or kumain ka na? This literally translates to “let’s eat” or “have you eaten?” In some instances, the person being invited to eat isn’t really expected to accept, but it’s considered good manners to offer anyway.

Filipino snacks (aka Pinoy snacks) are a big part of Filipino food culture and this is best exemplified in the light afternoon meal known as merienda. I’ll get to it in more detail below but merienda in the Philippines basically refers to any small meal – both savory and sweet – that’s typically eaten between lunch and dinner.

In this article, I’ll describe some of the most popular Filipino snacks that locals eat for merienda. Kain na!

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this article on Filipino snacks? Click on the save button and pin it for later!

Photo by asimojet


The word merienda literally translates to “snack”. It’s a food tradition that’s practiced in different countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, Argentina, Croatia, Morocco, and Brazil. Being a colony of Spain for over 300 years, it’s clear that Filipinos inherited the tradition from the Spanish though it’s a custom that’s beloved by many cultures around the world.

In Filipino cuisine, merienda is typically enjoyed sometime in the mid-afternoon, around 3 or 4PM. It’s a light snack that can be savory or sweet and is meant to tide you over until dinner.

Most if not all Filipinos who were raised in the Philippines grew up eating merienda. Even Filipinos who grew up in the diaspora are familiar with it because it’s a custom that their parents likely took with them.

Growing up in the Philippines, you just expect to have merienda everyday, even if you’re visiting a friend’s house over the weekend. It’s as common an eating habit in the Philippines as breakfast, lunch, or dinner.


There are many different types of Filipino snacks that people enjoy for merienda. It can vary from household to household but these are some of the most common.

1. Turon

There’s no better way to start this article on popular Filipino snacks than with turon, a delicious dish made with thin slices of saba banana (banana cultivar) coated in brown sugar and then deep-fried in lumpia wrapper. It’s a sweet and crunchy Filipino snack that’s also commonly eaten for dessert or sold as street food in the Philippines.

Many Filipinos have fond memories of turon because it’s something we grew up eating. In fact, whenever my US-based brother visits the Philippines, it’s one of the first dishes he looks for. Cheap and easy to make, it’s Filipino comfort food at its most delicious.

Like many people, turon is personally one of my favorite Filipino snacks. Eaten at room temperature, it’s always filled with saba but some versions can be made with a thin sliver of langka (jackfruit) as well. At restaurants, it can be served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. It’s so delicious.

Speaking of dessert, if you have a fondness for the sweeter things in life, then be sure to check out our article on traditional Filipino desserts.

Photo by junpinzon

2. Banana Cue

Turon may be the most popular saba-based Filipino snack but not far behind is banana cue (or banana q). It’s a very similar dish except the saba banana is skewered whole and then coated with brown sugar before being deep-fried.

Both are commonly sold as street food though banana cue may be less frequently made at home. At least that’s how I remember it. It’s even less common to find it on dessert menus at Filipino restaurants.

Photo by bugking88

3. Puto / Kutsinta

Puto is one of the most iconic foods in the Philippines. When you think of dishes that best represent Filipino culture and cuisine, puto is one of the first things that comes to mind.

Puto refers to a steamed rice cake made with slightly fermented glutinous rice dough (galapong). Traditionally, they’re made with glutinous rice soaked in coconut milk but more modern versions are often made using glutinous rice flour instead.

The most common versions of puto are small in size, about the diameter of a golf ball, and muffin-shaped. They’re typically plain white but they can come in different colors as well depending on what other ingredients they’re made with like ube, pandan, or queso (cheese).

Pictured below is a basket of puto enriched with cheese. Note the thin sliver of cheese on top. Not all puto is made with that sliver of cheese.

Photo by MikeEdwards

Bite-sized puto is the most common but it can be made in other sizes as well. The version of putong puti (white puto) pictured below is palm-sized and individually wrapped in banana leaves.

Photo by raksyBH

Puto can also be made into larger sizes, about the same diameter as an average cake or pie. These larger versions of puto are meant for sharing. They’re sliced into wedges and served with grated coconut.

Photo by inotm5

What you’re looking at below is kutsinta, a variation of puto made with lye, annatto (achuete) seeds, and brown sugar (instead of white sugar). Lye gives kutsinta a much stickier and chewier texture while the annatto gives the rice cake its signature deep orange color.

The classic white version of puto is very often sold with kutsinta. Whenever my mom would bring home puto, they would always come with a separate packet of kutsinta. I like them both a lot but kutsinta has always been one of my favorite Filipino snacks.

Sticky, chewy, and a little sweet, kutsinta is absolutely delicious, especially when topped with grated coconut. Like puto, it can be enjoyed for dessert but it’s more commonly consumed as a mid-day snack.

Photo by junpinzon

4. Suman

Like puto, suman is an iconic Filipino snack that’s one of the most culturally representative dishes in Filipino cuisine. It’s made with glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk which is then wrapped in banana leaves before steaming.

Suman is one of the most beloved Filipino snacks but it’s also commonly eaten as breakfast food. Very sticky in texture, it’s typically served warm with a sprinkling of sugar on top or drizzled with latik, a type of caramelized syrup made with coconut cream.

The most common version of suman is cigar-shaped (pictured below) but it can be made in different shapes and varieties as well.

Photo by hendraxu

5. Mangga’t Bagoong

Because of our love for fried foods and all things sweet, I’ll admit that Filipino snacks aren’t the healthiest. If you want to snack on something that’s healthier and guilt-free, then you may want to try mangga’t bagoong. As innocuous as green mangoes are, I say that with some trepidation because bagoong is an acquired taste and not for everyone.

Mangga literally means “mango” but in this case, it refers specifically to unripe green mango. Crunchy and sour in taste, it’s cut into slivers and often enjoyed as a snack with an extremely pungent condiment made from fermented shrimp or krill called bagoong. Salty, savory, a little sweet, and fishy, it’s a popular condiment that exists in many countries throughout Southeast Asia like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Mangga with bagoong may not be for everyone but it’s a punch of flavor and texture that anyone with an adventurous palate will surely enjoy. It’s definitely one of the healthier Filipino snacks out there which is probably why it’s preferred more by women. Pregnant Filipino women often crave for mangga’t bagoong.

Photo by dontree

6. Taho

Like turon, taho is a classic Filipino snack. Just the mere mention of the word taho brings back happy childhood memories for many Filipinos.

Taho refers to the Filipino version of douhua, a popular Chinese snack of silken tofu that’s consumed in many parts of Asia. Douhua can be consumed in many ways but in the Philippines, it’s made with three basic ingredients – silken tofu, arnibal (brown sugar syrup), and sago (tapioca) pearls.

Taho is typically sold as street food and never made at home. It’s peddled from two large aluminum buckets strung on either side of a bamboo pole. Slung over the vendor’s shoulders, one bucket would have the silken tofu while the other carried the arnibal and sago.

Every day, either early in the morning or mid-afternoon, the vendor would comb the neighborhoods yelling “tahoooooo!” at the top of his lungs. Kids of all ages would then scramble and run to their front doors to buy a bowl or glass of their favorite Filipino merienda.

Like turon, kutsinta, and fish balls, taho is a highly nostalgic dish and definitely one of my favorite Filipino snacks.

Photo by junpinzon

7. Fish Balls

Like taho and banana cue, fish balls are among the most iconic Filipino street food snacks. You can buy bags of frozen fish balls from the supermarket to make at home but the experience just isn’t the same.

Fish balls are exactly what they sound like – balls of flour mixed with some type of flaked fish meat. They’re deep-fried in oil, skewered, and then served with one of three sauces – a savory-sweet brown sauce, vinegar and chili, or a combination of the two.

Fish balls are something many Filipino kids associate with school. They’re commonly sold by mobile street vendors who’d park their carts outside elementary schools and high schools. For many kids, it was something to snack on before going home.

Photo by junpinzon

When I was in school, fish balls were always skewered. Today, they’re often sold from plastic cups as well.

Photo by junpinzon

8. Banana Chips

Banana chips are less like merienda and more like a true snack. By that, I mean people typically snack on them at any time of the day, much like potato chips. Merienda can still qualify as a meal while saba banana chips are purely snacks.

Banana chips are sweet Filipino snacks made with thinly sliced saba bananas coated in brown sugar and then deep-fried. In some Latin American countries, they can be savory but in the Philippines, they’re always sweet.

Photo by thegoatman

9. Dried Mangoes

Dried mangoes from Cebu are among the most popular Filipino souvenir food items. You’ll almost always find them at souvenir shops at any airport in the Philippines. They’re popular because they keep well, they’re easy to carry, and they’re damn delicious.

Like banana chips, dried mangoes aren’t consumed for merienda but more as a pure snack. You can even consider them to be a type of soft candy snack, similar to any dried fruit. Unlike bags of potato chips which you can finish in one sitting, people usually eat a few pieces of dried mango and then save the rest for later.

I loved dried mangoes as a kid. But compared to other Filipino snacks, they’re pretty expensive so my mom would only buy them on occasion. That made them even more desirable.

As you may know, Filipino mangoes are among the best and sweetest in the world, which is why these dried mangoes from Cebu are such a coveted tourist item.

Photo by olena.sakhatska

10. Chicharon

Deep-fried pork rinds are a thing in many countries and the Philippines is no exception. These crunchy snacks made from pork skin and other animal parts are among the most popular snacks in the Philippines.

The word chicharon can refer to a family of crunchy fried snacks but the most popular type is made from pork skin (pictured below). Fried pork rinds are the most common but chicharon can be made from pork mesentery, chicken esophagus, and chicken skin as well.

Chicharon isn’t usually eaten for merienda but more as a pure snack or bar chow. Visit any Filipino bar and you’ll probably find some type of chicharon dish on the menu.

Photo by luismicss

This is hands down my favorite type of chicharon. What you’re looking at is chicharon bulaklak or chicharon made from fried pork mesentery.

Unlike other types of chicharon which are just crunchy, chicharon bulaklak is both crunchy and chewy. Bulaklak means “flower” in Filipino and refers to the frilly, flower-like shape of the mesentery.

Chicharon of any type is usually eaten with spiced vinegar to help cut the unctuousness of the fat. Not exactly one of the healthier Filipino snacks but definitely one of the most delicious.

Photo by MikeEdwards

Can you guess what type of chicharon this is? I’ll give you a clue – it’s made from the biggest organ of any animal.

Fresh off the fryer below are cups of fried chicken skin. Life is short. Grab a cup.

Photo by junpinzon

11. Bibingka

If you visit the Philippines during the holiday season, then you need to try bibingka. Though it’s now available year-round, it’s one of the most popular Filipino snacks associated with Christmas.

Bibingka refers to a type of rice cake made from sticky rice and coconut milk. Unlike other types of Filipino rice cake that are typically steamed, bibingka is baked in a clay pot lined with banana leaves. The pot is sandwiched between two layers of smoldering charcoal to cook the batter from the top and bottom.

Bibingka is a special holiday treat that many Filipinos look forward to around Christmas time. Like other Filipino rice cakes, it can be eaten for dessert though it’s more commonly enjoyed for merienda, usually with melted butter and grated coconut.

Photo by junpinzon

12. Biko

Biko is another type of Filipino sweet rice cake. Suman-like in texture, it’s a thick and dense cake made by cooking sticky rice with coconut milk and then topping it with caramelized brown sugar and coconut cream.

Biko is also referred to as bibingka malagkit (sticky bibingka), though it bears little resemblance to the previous dish.

Photo by junpinzon

13. Ensaymada

Like the merienda tradition, ensaymada is a dish with Spanish roots. Originally a Mallorcan dish, it refers to a type of Filipino brioche bread baked with butter and then topped with buttercream, sugar, and grated cheese, usually queso de bola (Edam cheese).

Like bibingka, ensaymada is available throughout the year but it holds special significance during the holiday season. Food is a common Christmas gift item in the Philippines and people will often gift relatives and friends with boxes of specially-made ensaymada.

Filipino cuisine draws many influences from Spanish cooking traditions and ensaymada is one of the best examples of that.

Photo by nuitgarden

14. Empanada

The empanada is another dish that was brought to the Philippines by the Spanish. Common throughout Latin America, it refers to a half-moon-shaped baked or fried pastry stuffed with ground meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, and raisins.

Filipino empanadas are usually small in size, about the length of your palm. People often eat two or three of these for merienda.

Photo by whitestorm4

One of the most famous types of Filipino empanada is from Vigan, a city in northern Luzon famous for its regional cuisine. It’s a larger type of empanada – about the size of an American taco – and is more orange in color due to the use of annatto seeds in the batter.

Vigan empanada also differs in its filling. It’s stuffed with grated green papaya, mung bean sprouts, shredded carrots, hard-boiled egg, and skinless Vigan longganisa. Just one of these bad boys will definitely be enough for merienda.

Photo by MikeEdwards

15. Balut

Last on this list is that infamous and bizarre Filipino snack known as balut. If you’ve never heard of it, balut refers to an unfertilized duck egg embryo that’s been incubated for 2-3 weeks, boiled, and then eaten directly from its shell.

What makes balut so controversial and off-putting for many, including some Filipinos, is that the fetus is often developed enough to be recognizable. You can see the beak, eyes, wings, and early formation of feathers. It’s definitely the most challenging snack on this list and not something everyone has the stomach for.

Photo by [email protected]


When considering which dishes to include in this list of the best Filipino snacks, I thought about adding things like lumpia, Japanese sweet corn, and halo-halo.

I didn’t wind up adding lumpia because it’s eaten mainly as an appetizer while halo-halo is typically consumed for dessert. Japanese sweet corn, often sold as street food, makes more sense and would probably be the 16th entry on this list. Ginataang bilo-bilo would be a good addition too.

Though Filipinos are equally fond of commercially processed snacks like Clover Chips, Jack n’ Jill Chippy, Boy Bawang, and Tomi Sweet Corn Chips, I consider them to be junk food and not something you’d put on the same list as puto or suman.

In the Philippines, we call those types of snacks chichirya (junk food). Filipinos have quite a fondness for junk food so I may write a separate article on chichirya and Filipino candies like Choc Nut (peanut-flavored milk chocolate candy) as well.

Until then, I hope you enjoyed reading this article on the most popular Filipino snacks. If you have any favorite merienda dishes to add, then please let us know in the comment section below. Salamat!

Cover photo by asimojet. Stock images via Depositphotos.

French Pastries: 20 Delicious Desserts You Need to Try in France

Anyone who loves good food knows that France is home to one of the greatest cuisines in the world. With its formal techniques, complex sauces, and exquisite presentation of dishes, no other cuisine has been more influential than French cuisine. If you’ve ever enjoyed a croissant from a pastry shop in your home country, then you’ve experienced this influence first-hand.

French pastry chefs have produced some of the world’s best pastries, cakes, and desserts. The croissant is the most famous example but visit any pastry shop in France and you’ll find a wealth of delectable confections to swoon over.

If you’re planning a trip to Paris and have a taste for the sweeter things in life, then this list of the best French pastries will tell you exactly what you need to look for.


If you’re planning a trip to France and want to really dive into the cuisine, then you may be interested in going on a food tour or taking a cooking class.


  • Food Tours: Food and Wine/Drinking Tours in France
  • Cooking Classes: Cooking Classes in France

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this article on traditional French pastries? Click on the save button and pin it for later!

Photo by Fotosmurf


1. Croissant

There’s no better way to start this article on the best French pastries than with the iconic croissant. This buttery, flaky pastry is the most popular French pastry and beloved by many breakfast lovers from around the world.

Named for its crescent shape, the croissant is made with a laminated yeast-leavened dough. The dough is layered with butter, rolled, and folded several times before being rolled into a thin sheet. The dough is cut into triangles and then folded into the familiar crescent shape before baking.

While baking, the water in the butter vaporizes and expands, causing the dough to puff up and separate. The fat in the butter essentially fries the dough which results in a light, layered, and flaky pastry similar to a puff pastry.

Interestingly, the croissant is associated with France but it’s actually Austrian in origin. It’s a type of viennoiserie pastry (meaning “things of Vienna”) derived from the kipferl – an Austrian crescent-shaped bread roll. A Viennese bakery became popular in Paris in the mid-19th century and inspired French bakers to create a French version of the kipferl, which they named after its crescent shape.

Photo by Iuliia

2. Croquembouche

What’s better than a choux pastry puff? How about dozens of choux pastry puffs piled into a cone and wrapped in thin threads of caramel? That’s exactly what the croquembouche is.

Also known as croque-en-bouche, which means “something that crunches in the mouth”, this tower of deliciousness is a common sight at weddings, banquets, and other gatherings. The choux pastry puffs are typically cream-filled and adorned with other tasty decorations like melted chocolate, sugared almonds, strawberries, and edible flowers.

Photo by Odelinde

3. Chouquette

If you like croquembouche, then you’re definitely going to enjoy chouquettes. They’re light and airy choux pastry puffs baked with sucre perlé or pearl sugar, a type of specialty sugar popular in Europe. They’re made by compressing sugar crystals together to form larger nibs that hold their shape and crunch and don’t dissolve into the pastry when baked.

Like croissants, chouquettes are a type of viennoiserie pastry. They’re sold in bakeries throughout France and are traditionally eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

Photo by studioM

4. Financier

A financier is a small, bite-sized French almond cake. Similar in size to petits fours, these small cakes are made with almonds, hazelnut, egg whites, flour, powdered sugar, and beurre noisette (brown butter). They’re typically baked in small rectangular molds and are known for having a light and moist interior with a slightly crispy outer crust.

Financiers were said to have been invented by the Vistadine order of nuns in the 17th century. It’s unclear how these small French cakes got their name, but one story claims that the name “financier” is derived from the rectangular mold that resembles a bar of gold.

Another theory claims that the name is linked to the Paris Stock Exchange. These small cakes became popular in the financial district because they could easily be stored in the pocket for long periods without being damaged.

Photo by Ldgfr-Photos

5. Beignets

People from New Orleans are no strangers to these delicious pastries.

Beignets are a type of deep-fried pastry typically made from pâte à choux, though they can be made from other types of dough as well. They’re originally from France and were brought to the Acadia region of Canada by French settlers sometime in the 17th century. Many Acadians later moved to Louisiana, bringing the beignet with them.

Photo by Kcuxen

In New Orleans, beignets are often made with leavened dough instead of choux pastry. They’re typically shaped into squares and served hot with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. They’re traditionally eaten for breakfast or for dessert, usually with a cup of hot chocolate or café au lait.

Photo by asimojet

In France, it’s common to find beignets that are round or oval in shape. They’re much more cake-like in texture compared to their airier and crispier American cousins. These yeastier beignets are also referred to as “boules de Berlin” in France because they’re made with a similar dough as the German Berliner doughnut.

Photo by [email protected]

6. Paris-brest

The Paris-Brest is another dessert that choux pastry lovers will surely enjoy. Shaped like a bicycle wheel, it refers to a pastry made with a ring of pâte à choux split in half and filled with a praline-flavored cream.

The Paris-Brest was invented in the early 20th century to commemorate the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race, hence its wheel-like shape. Studded with almonds and dusted with powdered sugar, it was an instant hit with cyclists competing in the race because of its high caloric value. Today, it’s widely available in patisseries throughout France.

Photo by emmanuellegrimaud

7. Canelé

The canelé is one of our favorite French pastries. Shaped like a striated cork with a dimple on top, it refers to a small, rum- and vanilla-flavored pastry commonly enjoyed for breakfast, dessert, or as a mid-day snack.

These irresistible little desserts are made in small, cylindrical fluted molds brushed with beeswax or butter. The molds were traditionally brushed with beeswax but these days, butter is more commonly used. When freshly baked, they’re soft and custardy on the inside with a dark and crispy caramelized crust.

The canelé is a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France though it’s now widely available throughout the country and beyond.

Photo by Robcarfo

8. Pain au Chocolate

Like croissants and chouquettes, the pain au chocolat is another type of viennoiserie pastry. Pain au chocolat literally means “chocolate bread” and refers to a puff-pastry-like dessert made with a yeast-laminated dough filled with a few pieces of dark chocolate or chocolate ganache.

The pain au chocolat is made with the same layered dough as the croissant. Though shaped differently, it’s quite similar in taste and texture so you can think of it as a type of croissant filled with chocolate.

Photo by frederiquewacquier

9. Eclair

Like the croissant, the eclair is among the most popular French pastries. It refers to an oblong-shaped choux pastry filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache.

The eclair is one of my favorite French pastries but I never knew that its name literally means “flash of lightning”. Apparently, it gets its name from being so delicious that it always gets eaten quickly. I can definitely attest to that!

Classic eclairs are made with vanilla pastry cream and chocolate ganache, but they can also be filled with other types of sweet cream like whipped cream, chiboust cream, fruit-flavored fillings, and chestnut purée. They can be topped with different types of icing and adorned with decorative ingredients as well.

Photo by

10. Profiterole

As a child, I’d get giddy with excitement whenever my mother would bring home pastry packages from our favorite patisserie. In these packages were eclairs and profiteroles, otherwise known as cream puffs or chou à la crème. I guess that was when I developed my lifelong love affair with choux pastries.

Some people make a distinction between the two but from what I understand, “profiterole” and “cream puff” are interchangeable terms used to describe the same thing – this irresistibly delicious choux pastry filled with a sweet cream like custard, whipped cream, or even vanilla ice cream.

They can be served plain or topped with chocolate ganache, caramel, or powdered sugar. Profiteroles glazed with caramel are typically the versions used to assemble croquembouches.

Photo by sarsmis

11. Brioche

I didn’t think brioche counted as a type of pastry but it actually does. It can be classified as both a pastry and a bread thanks to its higher butter and egg content.

Brioche refers to a richer type of bread made with more eggs, butter, and liquids like milk, water, cream, and sometimes brandy. Together with pain au lait and pain aux raisins, it belongs to a leavened subcategory of viennoiserie pastries. It’s a versatile pastry that can be served plain or filled with a variety of sweet and savory ingredients like fruit, jam, chocolate, sausage, and foie gras.

Interestingly, brioche was the pastry mentioned in the famous saying “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche“, commonly translated in English as “Let them eat cake”. It’s often attributed to Marie Antoinette though there’s no evidence to support this.

Photo by viperagp

12. Madeleine

The madeleine is a small sponge cake that originated from the communes of Commercy and Liverdun in northeastern France. It’s known for its distinctive shell-like shape derived from baking in a pan with shell-like depressions.

Madeleines are traditionally made with a génoise cake batter and finely ground nuts, usually almonds. They’re similar in flavor to classic sponge cake though perhaps a bit lighter and airier in texture.

Photo by jirkaejc

13. Macarons

Aside from being one of the most popular, French macarons have to be some of the most fun and visually striking French pastries. Concocted in a multitude of colors and flavors, it refers to a meringue-based cookie sandwich made from egg whites, almond powder, sugar, and food coloring.

Light and delicate on the outside but moist and chewy on the inside, French macarons can be made with a variety of fillings like chocolate ganache, buttercream, or jam piped in between the almond meringue cookies. They aren’t to be confused with the macaroon which is a heavier type of cookie made with sweetened coconut flakes.

Photo by 5seconds

14. Mille-Feuille

Mille-feuille literally means “thousand sheets” and refers to a layered pastry of French origin. Traditionally, it consists of three layers of flaky puff pastry alternating with two layers of pastry cream, though they can be made with fewer or more layers.

The top layer of mille-feuille is usually coated with a sprinkling of icing sugar or glazed with alternating white (icing) and brown (chocolate) strips which are then combed to create a pattern or design. They can also be layered with other fillings like whipped cream, nut paste, and fresh fruits, most commonly strawberry or raspberry.

Photo by a-lesa-lesa

15. Palmier

The palmier is a type of French puff pastry made in the shape of a palm leaf. Its name is short for feuille de palmier, meaning “palm tree leaf”. Because of its distinctive shape, it also goes by the names palm heart, pig’s ear, or elephant ear.

Like croissants, palmiers are made with a laminated dough but without yeast. This irresistibly flaky pastry is made with alternating layers of dough and butter which are rolled and folded over repeatedly before being coated in sugar and baked.

Photo by [email protected]

16. Kouign-Amann

The kouign amann is a multi-layered Breton cake originally from Douarnenez in Finistère, Brittany. Made with laminated dough and a generous helping of sugar, you can think of it as a round caramelized version of the croissant.

Kouign amanns are made in a similar way as croissants but with the addition of sugar sprinkled between the layers of bread dough and butter. As the pastry bakes, the sugar caramelizes while the butter expands the dough, resulting in a sweet pastry with a moist and buttery center and a crispy, caramelized coating.

Kouign amann is delicious enough on its own, but when served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s pure heavenly bliss.

Photo by packshot

17. Opéra Cake

If you like coffee desserts, then this pastry cake flavored with coffee syrup and coffee buttercream is right up your alley.

The opéra cake is a classic French dessert made with layers of almond sponge cake. The sponge cake is soaked in coffee syrup and layered with chocolate ganache and coffee buttercream before being covered in a chocolate glaze. Traditionally, the word “Opera” is written on top of the cake using chocolate glaze.

Photo by M-StudioG

18. Religieuse

If you like profiteroles, then you’ll surely find this next pastry to be twice as good. The religieuse consists of two choux pastries – one smaller than the other – held together with elaborately piped buttercream frosting. They’re commonly filled with chocolate or mocha pastry cream and topped with a frosting of the same flavor as the filling.

Religieuse means “religious” or “nun” in French and is meant to represent the papal mitre or ceremonial headdress worn by Christian bishops.

Photo by ruben25

19. St. Honoré Cake

The St. Honoré cake is another dessert made with choux pastry puffs. Named after the French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs, it consists of a puff pastry base topped with a ring of pâte à choux and small profiteroles dipped in caramelized sugar. The base is traditionally made with chiboust cream and finished with whipped cream piped using a special St. Honoré decorating tip.

Photo by Irina2511

20. Tarte Tatin

The tarte tatin is an upside-down tart made with fruit caramelized in butter and sugar before being baked. It’s usually made with apples so you can think of it as the French version of apple pie.

This popular fruit tart was named after Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin, two sisters who ran a hotel in the town of Lamotte-Beuvron in the late 19th century. According to the story, they baked an upside down apple tart by mistake. It was too late to bake a new one so they served it to their guests anyway. To their surprise, their guests loved it and it soon became the hotel’s signature dessert.

Photo by studioM


It’s easy enough to fly to France and stuff your face with as many delicious French pastries as you can, but if you really want to learn about the cuisine, then you may want to go on a food tour. Simply put, no one knows French food better than a local so what better way to learn about the cuisine than by going on a guided tour?

If you’re planning a trip to France, then check out Get Your Guide for a list of food tours in Paris and other destinations throughout the country.


You can learn a lot about the local cuisine by going on a food tour, but if you want to do a deep dive into French food, then one of the best things you can do is to take a cooking class. Eating French pastries and dishes is one thing, but working with the ingredients and learning how to actually make them yourself is another. Check out Cookly for a list of baking and cooking classes in France.


French pastries are a treasure. Like many people, I enjoy French food but the pastries are my favorite thing about the cuisine. They’re absolutely delicious and something you should experience as much as you can while in France.

We haven’t been back in years but the pastries alone are worth a trip. With magnificent creations like croissants, profiteroles, macarons, and kouign amanns waiting for us, it shouldn’t be long before we find our way back to France. C’est si bon!


Some of the links in this article on French pastries are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if we make a sale at no additional expense to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!

Featured image by Svetlana. Stock images via Depositphotos.

Puerto Vallarta Food Tour: Tacos, Tequila, and Mexican Cocktails!

Being a resort town on Mexico’s Pacific coast, I knew about Puerto Vallarta’s beaches but it was interesting to learn that it’s also one of the most beloved food destinations in the country. Google “best food cities in Mexico” and you’ll find it mentioned just as often as the more popular food destinations of Oaxaca, Puebla, Mexico City, and Guadalajara.

Like any food-obsessed traveler, we enjoy seeking out hidden gems and hole-in-the-walls but we also love going on food tours. For me, it’s one of the best ways to learn about the local cuisine and culture, especially if you have limited time.

Authenticity is always important so I try to seek out the best food tour company in many of the cities we visit. In Puerto Vallarta, that company was Vallarta Food Tours. They’re the number one rated tour provider in Puerto Vallarta with a perfect 5-star rating, even after over 3,350 reviews!

I went on their Mex-ology food and drinking tour which is one of their most popular. If you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta and want good local food and drink, then this food tour is definitely for you.

You can keep reading to learn more or click here to book this food tour in Puerto Vallarta. If you’re looking for suggestions on where to eat, then be sure to check out our guide on the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

Save This on Pinterest!

No time to read this article now? Click on the save button and pin it for later!


As their name suggests, Vallarta Food Tours is a food tour provider based in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They offer several themed food tours that take you on a gastronomic journey through the different neighborhoods of Puerto Vallarta like Zona Romántica, Pitillal, and Versalles.

As previously described, they’re currently the top-rated tour provider in Puerto Vallarta on TripAdvisor.

As of this writing, they offer about a dozen small group food tours in Puerto Vallarta. They can also create a private and customizable tour for larger groups and events.

Described below are their three most popular Puerto Vallarta food tours based on rating and number of reviews (listed in order of popularity).

1. Downtown Puerto Vallarta Food Tour

This is their original and still most popular food tour. It’s a 3.5-hour culinary adventure that gives you eight tastings in the downtown neighborhoods of Puerto Vallarta.

If you’d like to go on a cultural food tour that teaches you about Mexican culture and shows you where the locals eat, then this is the tour for you. It maintains a perfect 5-star rating with over 1,000 reviews on TripAdvisor.

Schedule: Monday-Sunday
Start Time: 10:30AM
Duration: 3.5 hours
Capacity: 8 people
Food Tastings: 8
Cost: USD 55 for adults, USD 44 for children under 13
Book This Tour: CLICK HERE for more information and to book this food tour.

2. Food and Mixology Tour: Tequila, Tacos, and Mexican Cocktails

This is the tour I went on. I wanted to learn more about Mexican spirits so I chose a tour with a good mix of food and drinks. This Mex-ology tour is a spirited 4-hour walking tour that gives you five food tastings and six alcoholic beverages from seven locations in the Old Town. Like the original Downtown Tour, it has a perfect 5-star rating on TripAdvisor with over 400 reviews.

Schedule: Monday-Saturday
Start Time: 2:30PM
Duration: 4 hours
Capacity: 10 people
Food Tastings: 7
Cost: USD 85
Book This Tour: CLICK HERE for more information and to book this food tour.

3. Taco Adventure Evening Food Tour in Puerto Vallarta

Like in other parts of Mexico, some of the best tacos are served only at night in Puerto Vallarta. This 3-hour walking food tour starts at 5:30PM and takes you to eight restaurants and taco stands in the Old Town.

This is their signature taco tour so if you have a fondness for mouthwatering tacos, street food, and truly local eateries, then this tour is definitely for you. Like the previous two, it boasts a perfect 5-star rating with over 300 reviews on TripAdvisor.

Schedule: Monday-Sunday
Start Time: 5:30PM
Duration: 3 hours
Capacity: 8 people
Food Tastings: 8
Cost: USD 49.99
Book This Tour: CLICK HERE for more information and to book this food tour.


Here’s what you can expect from the Mex-ology tour. Please note that some stops, dishes, and drinks may change based on availability. I left out the names of the bars and restaurants we visited out of respect for the tour provider.



FIRST TASTING: Fish Taco and Ancho Mezcal-tini

For our first stop, our tour guide Gio took us to this popular restaurant/bar in the Zona Romántica neighborhood to have fish tacos and this ancho mezcal-tini. If I remember correctly, an ancho mezcal-tini is a cocktail made with mezcal, passion fruit, lemon juice, and Ancho Reyes. Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey (agave) plant while Ancho Reyes is a brand of chile liqueur produced in Puebla.

Based on online cocktail recipes, ancho mezcal-tini is typically made with a slice of orange but ours was made with a pineapple wedge. Delicious!

If you have a taste for regional dishes like I do, then shrimp and fish tacos should be tops on your list in Puerto Vallarta. They’re absolutely delicious.

Situated on Mexico’s Pacific coast, this city is a haven for seafood lovers. Aside from seafood tacos, you can enjoy a plethora of dishes made from fresh caught seafood prepared in a number of different ways.

SECOND TASTING: Crab Enchilada and Raicilla

Yes, this soft shell crab enchilada is every bit as delicious as it looks. My god was this good! We had it at this charming hole-in-the-wall in a less touristy part of Zona Romántica. Finding these small family-owned eateries is exactly why I love traveleating with a local guide.

We were given shots of raicilla to wash the enchilada down. Raicilla is a distilled spirit produced in the southwestern part of Jalisco. Like tequila and mezcal, it’s made from the agave plant.

Raicilla is smokey, earthy, and herbal in flavor. It’s also quite strong so Gio gave us the option for half or full shots. Obviously, I went for the full.

THIRD TASTING: Tlacoyo and Pulque

I love experiencing the local cuisine so this was one of my favorite stops. It’s a pulqueria where we were given three different versions of pulque and a taste of tlacoyo.

Pulque is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant. Milky and viscous in consistency, it’s sour and a bit yeast-like in flavor.

This version of pulque was mixed with guava and other ingredients, giving it a sweeter, more fruity taste. I liked them all but I enjoyed this one the best.

I don’t remember what this one was made with but it was the strongest of the three. Whoo!

Pulque is traditionally from central Mexico where it’s been produced for thousands of years. It dates back to the Mesoamerican period where it was considered a sacred drink and reserved only for certain classes of people.

Since the 20th century, the popularity of pulque has been on the decline, mostly because of competition from beer, but efforts are being made to revive the drink’s popularity through tourism.

If you enjoy experiencing local food, then you’re going to love tlacoyos. Meaning “snack” or “appetizer” in Nahuatl, it’s an ancient Mexican dish that pre-dates the Hispanic period.

Small, oval-shaped, and thicker than a corn tortilla, tlacoyos are made from masa stuffed with different ingredients like beans, cheese, and chicharron before being fried or toasted. They’re typically served as an accompaniment to soups and stews or as an appetizer during celebrations.

FOURTH TASTING: Paloma and Mezcal

For our next stop, Gio took us to a bar to have two drinks – paloma and a shot of mezcal. The paloma is a light and refreshing cocktail made with tequila and either grapefruit juice or a grapefruit-flavored soda.

Take a good look at the picture below. You recognize the shots of mezcal and the slices of orange, but do you know what those black things are? They’re fried crickets! Crickets and grasshoppers have been consumed in places like Oaxaca for thousands of years and are very much a part of the local cuisine.

Some people may be averse to eating fried insects but there’s really nothing to it. They’re crunchy and packed with protein and don’t really taste like anything. Plus, as I just learned, they go well with oranges and mezcal.

FIFTH TASTING: Seafood Taco and Margarita

Next up was another restaurant/bar in one of the busiest parts of Zona Romántica. Unless I’m mistaken, we were served some type of margarita and another fish taco. Whatever this margarita was, it was mighty tasty!

The alcohol was starting to get to me at this point so I don’t recall exactly what this was, but I believe it’s a fish taco. Unlike the usual fish tacos that are battered and deep-fried, this one was served with chunks of unbattered fish. It was delicious.

SIXTH TASTING: Jalapeño Margarita, Tequila, and Watermelon Shots

Who doesn’t like Jell-o shots? At our next stop, we were served these watermelon Jell-o wedges. The top half of the wedge was Jell-o mixed with some alcohol (probably tequila?) while the bottom was pure watermelon. So delicious!

No self-respecting Mexican cocktail tour can ever be complete without a shot of tequila! This iconic Mexican distilled beverage is made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the city from where the drink gets its name – Tequila. Salud!

For our third drink at this stop, Gio gave us a choice between jalapeño or cucumber margaritas. I love all things spicy so I naturally went for the jalapeño. It was delicious and refreshing with the characteristic heat and bite of jalapeño peppers.

SEVENTH TASTING: Tacos al Pastor

Next up was our last tasting – the iconic tacos al pastor. I believe tacos al pastor originated in Mexico City and Puebla, but it’s one of the most well-known Mexican dishes and widely available throughout the country.

Tacos al pastor is a type of taco filled with grilled meat (mainly pork) shaved from a vertical meat stack. You can think of it as the Mexican version of Lebanese shawarma or Greek gyros. In fact, it arrived in Mexico by way of Lebanese immigrants who moved to the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All three dishes are descendants of the Turkish doner kebab.

EIGHTH TASTING: Mezcal Cocktail

After nearly four hours of drinking and eating, we stumbled to our last stop for mezcal cocktails and what I believe to be mezcal shots.

Pictured below are the mezcal shots being aromatized in a wooden box by some type of burning organic material (dried twigs or herbs?). The box was initially closed to infuse the mezcal with a smokey herbal aroma.

Like a classic tequila shot, we sprinkled a chili pepper and salt mixture onto the back of our hands before licking it off and downing the mezcal shot.

At the beginning, some people in our group (myself included) were shy and tentative but we were all pretty much family at this point. Muchas gracias mezcal!

And finally, the piece de resistance – a mezcal cocktail mixed with god knows what. Gio did a fantastic job explaining all the dishes and drinks to us but I don’t think anyone was listening at this point.

Muchas gracias Gio! Viva Mexico! Salud!


This is a great tour for people looking for a little bit of everything in Puerto Vallarta. It offers a good mix of food and cocktails from both trendy restaurants and bars and more authentic family-owned eateries.

At first, I couldn’t decide which tour to go on because they all looked interesting and offered different things. The original Downtown Tour is their most popular for a reason, while people interested in street tacos should choose the evening taco tour. As described, I ultimately went with this Mex-ology tour because I wanted to learn more about Mexican spirits.

Aside from the three tours mentioned in this post, they also offer a Bike and Bites Tour (bike tour), a Seafood Lover’s Tour, and a Pitillal Food Tour. Pitillal is a charming authentic Mexican neighborhood that’s off the tourist trail. This may be the most interesting option for people looking to really dive into the local culture.

Vallarta Food Tours offers ready-made small group tours but they can arrange a private food tour for you as well. If you’re traveling in a large group or celebrating an event, then a bespoke private tour may be your best option. Check out their website for more information on private tours.

In any case, you’re in good hands no matter which tour you choose. Vallarta Food Tours is the top-rated tour company in Puerto Vallarta for a reason so it all depends on what you’re into.

Thanks for reading and have an amazing time eating and drinking your way through Puerto Vallarta!


This article was written in partnership with Vallarta Food Tours. They gave me a complimentary tour in exchange for an honest account of the experience. As always, all words, thought, and opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone.

Some of the links in this aticle are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission if you make a booking or purchase at no extra cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services that we use ourselves. We truly appreciate your support as it helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!