Mexico's Best Destinations for Foodies

Mexico’s Best Destinations for Foodies

Mexico offers an extraordinary gastronomic mosaic that includes traditional recipes from the pre-Hispanic era and contemporary mergers that combine native flavors with specialties inherited from the Spanish culture. These are some of the cities that offer the best gastronomy in Mexico, with dishes recognized as World Heritage.


The city of Oaxaca is a paradise for lovers of gastronomic culture due to its endless richness of recipes made from the wisdom of the native cultures of the area with fusions of excellent Spanish cuisine.


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It is estimated that Oaxaca has more than 200 dishes, among them the traditional tlayuda, a giant tortilla of corn with beans, cheese, and avocado. It can also feature tasajo (beef), cecina enchilada (spicy meat), chorizo, lettuce, onion, coriander, and tomato, among other ingredients.

One of the most emblematic dishes of Oaxaca is mole, which is divided into at least eight different varieties. It is a sauce that combines chilies and spices added to meat or vegetables. In addition, there are those made with almonds, capers, and in different varieties of colors such as red, yellow, and green, as well as chichilo and the famous manchamanteles, among others. Also, the extensive gastronomic culture of Oaxaca has other popular recipes based on insects, such as the chapulines (grasshoppers) that are eaten fried and seasoned with lemon, chili, and salt, and the chicatanas, which are giant ants with which one of the most emblematic sauces of the region is cooked.

The traditional drinks of Oaxaca are mezcal, tejare, u’pu, chilacayote water, water chocolate, cocol, pinole, horchata with tuna (cactus fruit), atole with white cocoa, aguardiente (alcohol distillate), chocolateatole, and tepache (fermented pineapple), among many others.

Tlayuda 'pizza' with chorizo, beans and cheese.
Tlayuda is a typical Oaxacan dish that combines meat with vegetables and is served on a giant tortilla. (Photo courtesy of DarioGaona / iStock / Getty Images Plus).


This fantastic destination, located two and a half hours from Mexico City, is one of the best places in the country for foodies, with international restaurants offering great quality menus of traditional specialties. Its repertoire ranges from casual to the most sophisticated and representative dishes, such as the world-famous mole poblano, which is prepared with many ingredients, such as various types of chilies, turkey meat, burned tortilla, spices, and chocolate, among others.

In addition, Puebla is famous for having been the place where other emblematic dishes of Mexico were created since the time of the Spanish Colony, such as the iconic Chiles en Nogada, made from the colors of the Mexican flag (green, white and red), with ingredients such as parsley, green chili, nogada (creamy walnut sauce), and granada, a delicious red fruit.

Typical sweets from Puebla are also very representative, sweet potatoes, fruits crystallized with sugar, and merengues, to mention a few. As for the drinks of Puebla, the ciders made with apples from the highlands and the popular liquor known as Pasita stand out.


This beautiful city, located in Yucatan, is one of the places that best preserve the culinary traditions of Mexico. The recipes of its extensive gastronomy are based mainly on the Mayan wisdom fused with the flavors of Spanish cuisine, so they are made with ingredients and species of the area, some endemic. The main crops in the zone are potatoes, vegetables, coffee, tomatoes, bananas, cassava, and a wide variety of fruits.

The most emblematic and famous dish in the world is Cochinita Pibil, prepared with pork in a sauce seasoned with spices and local ingredients such as purple onion and habanero chili (very spicy), wrapped in banana leaves. This dish is complemented by the traditional lime soup, adorned with fried tortilla slices.

Colorful street in the old part of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico (photo via JoannElle / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Mérida has one of the most prominent and most representative gastronomies in Mexico. (Photo via JoannElle / iStock / Getty Images Plus).

In addition, other typical dishes of Mérida are also prepared with fried tortillas such as papdzul and the eggs motuleños. Others are prepared with dough, such as panucho and dzotolbichay, as well as a series of recipes prepared with turkey, an essential ingredient of the most important recipes of Yucatan. On the other hand, the most traditional drinks in Merida are pistela, chicha Ondina, calentaito, chorote, aguamiel (distillate), guarapo de pineapple, cumin juice, blackberry wine, chunguete and cochute, among others.

Puerto Vallarta

In addition to having incredible beaches and a cozy Historic Center, Puerto Vallarta offers immense gastronomic diversity in high-level restaurants headed by renowned chefs who maintain a high standard of national and international menu options. Specialties based on fresh fish and seafood are prepared with avant-garde presentations and innovative recipes that combine traditional Mexican cuisine with European and Asian cuisine.

As for Mexican dishes, Puerto Vallarta offers a vast repertoire. However, the most representative of the area are the pescado zarandeado (shaken fish roasted in wood), a large number of delicious ceviches, aguachiles (a kind of spicy sashimi), in addition to toast, tortas ahogadas, and guacamole. It should be noted that Puerto Vallarta holds the Gourmet Festival every year with the participation of the best restaurants in the bay.

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