Our Guide to a Foodie Vacation in Mexico

Where to go for exceptional culinary experiences
Travel+Leisure World's Best Awards 2023 logo in white
Black and white illustration of Charles Kronsten's headshot
Written by
Charles Kronsten

Published on: March 6th, 2020

Last modified: July 28th, 2023

As the birthplace of chocolate and boasting corn and bean based dishes – think tacos, enchiladas and quesadillas – Mexico certainly is a top-notch culinary destination. The historic region of Oaxaca is home to some of the country’s finest restaurants. However, laid-back food markets and street stands also offer delicious, dynamic cuisine. From fish tacos in Baja California to incredible slow-roasted pork along the Yucatan peninsula, there’s plenty to choose from.

To help you satisfy your taste buds on your next vacation, this is our experts’ guide to a foodie vacation in Mexico.

1) Seek out fish tacos in Baja California

Mexico’s Pacific Baja Peninsula is unsurprisingly renowned for its seafood dishes. A staple on Mexican restaurant menus worldwide, the go-to dish here is the taco de pescado, or fish taco. Much more than a humble fish taco, the original dish makes Baja California a must-visit destination for foodies. These corn flour tacos are filled with fried or grilled pieces of fish, sumptuous green vegetables and a topping of sour cream – every mouthful is a delight! For the real deal, head to the port city of Ensenada, recognised by National Geographic as the birthplace of the revered fish taco.

2) Explore the foodie capital of Oaxaca

Undoubtedly Mexico’s top foodie destination, Oaxaca is filled with an incredible array of delectable dishes. From tamales oaxaqueños to delicious local queso, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste buds here. A dish that everyone should sample whilst here though is the tlayuda. Mexico’s answer to Italian pizza, tlayudas are essentially large crispy tortillas topped with mole sauce, meat, cheese and salad. What’s not to like?

3) Discover mole in Puebla

The backstory to Puebla’s foodie heritage is a fascinating one – it is thought that during the colonial period, nuns from the convents of Santa Rosa and Santa Monico invented the recipes for some of Puebla’s most famous exports. Blending European and Mexican ingredients such as chocolate and chilli peppers, the famous sauce mole poblano – or ‘Pueblan mole’ – was created. Besides sampling the city’s signature dish, visiting foodies should also take a stroll down la calle de los dulces (the street of desserts) to sample some Mexican sweet treats, from marzipan to sombrero-shaped candies.

4) Taste your way around Mexico City

As one of the largest cities in the world, it comes as no surprise that Mexico City has a great variety of food vendors and restaurants to choose from. With a UNESCO recognised street food scene, you won’t be disappointed in this ‘megalopolis.’ You’re likely to find examples of the cuisines of the different regions of Mexico across the city, but for some authentic local cuisine, seek out a distinctive pambazos sandwich; a delicious melangee of fried bread, potatoes and chorizo.

5) Try panuchos along the Yucatan

Mérida, the capital of Yucatan state, is a slightly more underrated foodie destination than Oaxaca but that’s not to say it’s any less deserving. Most of the cuisine here tastes unlike any of that found in the rest of Mexico, so it’s the perfect place for an intrepid culinary journey. Choose from cochinita pibil (slow roasted pork), papadzules (Yucatan’s version of the enchilada) or the favoured panuchos (a pickled, red onion topped tortilla dish).

Get in touch to start building your next culinary adventure.