HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


100 Mexican Dishes You Must Try Before Your Next Life?

As a well known poser & imitator of all trends... I would like to piggy back on the other 100 Things You Must Eat lists.. applied to Mexican gastronomy. Please nominate one... but please choose diligently... only the best of the best!

My nomination is for Pato en Mole Verde con Flor Rellena (Duck Braised in Green Pumpkin Seed Mole served with Mexico State style Goat Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin Blossoms)... I can't remember the name of the fonda but if you are ever in Almoloya del Rio, Edo Mex (its on the road that goes through Desierto de los Leones & San Miguel Ajusco towards Toluca)... you have to stop & ask for this dish (its a very common regional specialty prepared with locally harvested duck).

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I had an Avestruz al carbon en mole negro with garlic mashed potatoes studded with crumbles of some queso that I did not get the name of, BUT, it had a rich bleu cheesey flavor to it. This made an ostrich believer out of me. I have been screaming about that meal to anyone who will listen about it and the place I had it since last spring. I do not know the origins, but it was one of those things that you could eat every night and never get sick of it..

    1 Reply
    1. re: gordeaux

      Do you know remember the restaurant? With regards to the cheese... there has been some limited Roquefort production in Mexico since the time of Maximilian... I think it was about 10 years ago that it really came in vogue and you could find many applications in the mid level restaurants in DF and the surrounding cities. I remember having some kind of Tacos made Pollo Adobado that were garnished with Roquefort crema & Mexican Basil (aka Cinammon Basil) paired with an Herradura Anejo... back when chic Tequila Bars started to become common in DF.... and I just remember locally produced Roqueforts (from Edo Mex, Queretaro & Xalapa) being a very common ingredient at sit down places.

    2. When I lived in DF, my ladyfriend and I would often weekend at her family's retreat in El Oro, and we would spend lazy Saturdays cruising through tiny towns in Queretaro and Michoacan, buying ALL the huitlacoche we could find, from the little ladies on the sidewalk with baskets full. I always paid whatever they asked, except when I paid more.
      My ladyfriend (an incredible cook and restaurant owner in Ecuador) would make a casserole that resembled tamales filled with huitlacoche, baked in a dish with a thick huitlacoche sauce. Incredibly sabroso and distinctly Mexican and I think worthy of the top 100.
      She did the best chiles en nogada, but the casserole was her signature dish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Veggo

        Where is this restaurant in Ecuador?

      2. EN -- does the Pato de Granja (duck with pumpkin seed sauce) served at Guaymas in Tiburon CA come close to your ideal? That's what I usually order there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sharuf

          I never even heard of Guaymas in Tiburon until the recent Chile en Nogada thread... I think I missed out if they were serving Pato!

        2. Pipian de Camarones (Shrimp in pumpkin seed sauce) y Nopales con queso, naturalmente, primo.

            1. I don't actually know whether chayote in cream sauce is authentically Mexican -- perhaps you can tell me -- but it's a wonderful, simple dish, an example of comfort food at its classic best.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cimui

                Yes, with crema mexicana, a favorite of mine too.I had it first in D.F cooked in a crema de poblana sauce.I make this often and wish I could do it as good as those abuelitas in D.F.

              2. That chile relleno de pata de cerdo en Huatusco, Vera Cruz . Aunque fue mas memorable que rico.

                1. Birria de Chivo (Las 9 Esquinas, Guadalajara, Jalisco)
                  Menudo Rojo (Tijuana, BCN)
                  Huazontles Capeados en salsa roja (Tijuana, BCN)
                  Carne en su Jugo (Karne Garabaldi)
                  Torta Ahogada (GDL, Jalisco)
                  Barbacoa de Borrego estilo Estado de Mexico y Hidalgo
                  Tostada de Erizo (Ensenada, BCN)
                  Tostada de Pata
                  Pozole Tapatio [whole pig head] (Zapopan, Jalisco) [this one I got to taste twice - in both directions if you catch my drift!]
                  Tacos de Canasta
                  Relleno Negro
                  Mole Verde de Orizaba
                  Pescado Zarandeado
                  Nieve de Garafa
                  Crepas con Cajeta
                  Filet con salsa de Huitlacoche
                  Tamales Oaxaquenos de Mole Negro

                  1. I vote for an authentic Sonoran paquete with arrachera, costillas, and tripas de leche and the brazier.Complimented by tortillas de harina sonorense, queso fundido, frijoles maneados, flautas, chiles toreados,ensalada con chile pasilla,salsa de chiltepin, and a glass of Cavas Valmar Cabernet.

                    I have a tremendous experience to draw from as you do EN, but this parrillada with the Sonoran beef and perfect sides haunts my dreams.It's not Miles,Sibelius, or Coltrane, but definitely Satchmo.

                    1. Not much love for this thread? Let's kick it up a notch:

                      Arroz a la Tumbada - A brothy rice dish from Veracruz that features Sea Bass filets, Octopus, Shrimp, Langostines, Crab & Clams in a broth made from Sea Bass head, blackened tomatoes, jalapenos, epazote, thyme, marjoram, bay leaf, garlic & onion

                      Codornices en Escabeche Oriental - Yucatan style Quail marinated in a slightly sweet Escabeche then grilled on banana leaves over a wood fire... finished by simmering in a vinegary broth with orange zest, orange juice.

                      Estofado de Faisan... Another Yucatecan dish... Roast Pheasant finished in a Mole Estofado of Tomato, Almonds, Sesame, Dried Fruit, Chopped Olives, Capers, Chorizo, Cinammon, Cloves & Herbs

                      Totole de Navidad... A Christmas dish from Veracruz... Mexican heritage turkey rubbed with Ancho Chile, Cinammon, Allspice, Mex Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram paste... stuffed with Ground Pork, Beef, Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Olives, Capers, Dried Fruit braised in White Wine.

                      Pato en Mole Rosa de Taxco... A specialty from Guerrero.... Duck leg Carnitas & Grilled Breas & poached Pacaya served over Taxco style Pink Mole (Chipotles en Adobo, Beets, Blackened Garlic, Onion, Pulque, Mezcal, Cinammon, Cloves, Anise, Cumin, White Pepper, Hoja Santa, Thyme, Marjoram, Bay Leaf, Sesame, Almond, Pine Nuts, White Chocolate).

                      16 Replies
                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                        Lets Add Some More

                        Pato en Salsa de Capulin... A specialty from Guanujuato - roasted duck & artichokes served over a Capulin (Wild Cherry Native to Mex) & Chipotle salsa.

                        Perdices con Tecomates... A specialty from Oaxaca... baked partridges served over a melange of Tecomate mushrooms, tomatillos, pasilla chiles, mezcal, white wine, spices & herbs (particularly Chepil)

                        Cabrito Regio.... A specialty from Monterrey... Kid Goat rubbed with Garlic, Olive Oil, Lard & Anchos then roasted slowly on a horizontal spit directly above a wood fire

                        Cabrito Tapeado... A specialty from Queretaro... Kid Goat rubbed with the common Ancho chile Adobo, it is placed over fresh corn husks, in a clay pot that is sealed with a clay disk & masa.

                        Asado Tamaulipeco.. A specialty from Tamaulipas... Pork Leg & Ribs seared, then braised with a Cascabel Chile & Tequila sauce.

                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                          I had cabrito regio in Monterey last year, with some cabeza en su sangre as an appetizer.We split half a kid 4 ways, what a hedonistic experience.You've put a smile on my face.

                          1. re: streetgourmetla

                            Sounds great... I've never had Cabeza en su Sangre... can you tell me more about it?

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              They had the head of a kid in a sauce made with a base of its blood.The face meat in the bowl in the thick sauce.The whole head is stewed in the pot.I'm not sure that my title is correct, but essentially, that's it.

                                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                  Primal flavors that just set off your taste buds in anticipation for the cabrito with the frijoles charros and the rest of the sides.Unbelievable texture in the caldo, and the meat , melt in your mouth tender.

                        2. re: Eat_Nopal

                          Another Five:

                          Cochito.... A specialty from Chiapas.... Pork Loin & Ribs braised with a sauce made of Anchos, Ginger, Herbs, Tropical Fruit Vinegar, Allspice & Pork Broth.

                          Albondigas con Chicharron... A specialty from Mexico State... ground beef balls with chopped fried pork skin, mint, cilantro, garlic, onions & black pepper... seared then simmered in a tomato-chipotle sauce.

                          Lomo Encacahuatado... A specialty from Veracruz... Pork Tenderloin (from a juice fat pig not the lean disgraceful specimens we are accustomed to NOB) roasted to Medium, sliced & served with a Peanut sauce that features Cinammon, Guajillo & Ancho chiles, Hoja Santa, Onion, Garlic, Allspice, Chicken Broth, Cane Vinegar & Red Wine.

                          Costillas en Chile Negro.. A specialty from Michoacan... Pork Spareribs seared then braised in a Chile Negro, Orange Juice, Clove, Garlic & Honey sauce.

                          Chiles en Nogada... the national dish... nothing more to add.

                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                            Me hace agua en boca.

                            I've made the cochito, from a Diana Kennedy recipe, and when I did it right, it was delicious. However, I never knew to use ribs as well as lomo.

                            The costillas en chile negro are sometimes found at humble, market street-side fondas in Pátzcuaro. I've rarely found this dish in restaurants here in Pátzcuaro. (But then, I haven't eaten in every restaurant in Pátzcuaro.)

                            When I was in the mercado last Thursday, I was admiring some of the guisados plated up and delivered to market workers by some señoras of the fondas. I need to follow up more closely on this.

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              I made encacahuatado this past weekend. My version is from D.F. not Veracruz though. It used different chiles (guajillo and chile de arbol), no hoja santa and the spices were different (cloves and oregano vs. cinnamon and allspice) and chicken rather than pork. It was delicious and I was pleased with the result. I think the Veracruz version sounds good too. This is one of the things I love about Mexican cooking, there can be regional differences but the soul of the dish remains unchanged.

                            2. re: Eat_Nopal

                              Next 5

                              Xcatics Rellenos... A specialty from the Yucatan... blond Xcatic chiles roasted & peeled, stuffed with shredded shark, achiote-epazote-onion relish & served over a thin avocado cream sauce.

                              Chile Relleno Monterrey Style.... A rehydrated Ancho chile stuffed with grilled Arrachera & Guacomole, served over a warm vinaigrette & lightly pickled vegetables (Calabacitas, Onions, Nopales, Carrots, Green Beans etc.,)

                              Conejo en Penca... A specialty from Queretaro... Rabbit tempered with water & vinegar then boiled with Epazote, Hierbas de Olor, Onions & Garlic until tender. The rabbit is then pan fried with lard... placed over a roasted Agave leaf with cubed Nopales, a relish made from roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, Onion & Cilantro - the whole thing wrapped in Mixiote paper & steamed until the flavors integrate a bit.

                              Cordero a la Parilla... a specialty from Chihuahua... leg of lamb rubbed with a Chile Seco (aka California Chiles), Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Mint, Marjoram, Cilantro, Parsley & Olive Oil... its grilled / roasted & served with grapefruit medallions, Garlicky roasted potatoes & tender Quelite salad.

                              Barbacoa de Hoyo... Hidalgo style Lamb Slow wrapped in Agave leaves, Roasted in an underground Pit, juices captured for Garbanzo, Vegetable, Chipotle soup... Texas style BBQ is a very distant wannabe!

                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                Resounding second for Estado de Mexico and Hidalgo style Barbacoa de Borrego - absolutely one of my favorite things in life to gorge on. Consomee, pancita, cabeza, a homemade horchata or agua de cebada, and some huitlacoche quesadillas thrown in.

                                Further evidence why I hold this food to be so special: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gOqHT...

                              2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                Another Five:

                                Crepas de Huitlacoche... A Mexico City classic two crepes stuffed with stewed Huitlacoche & Corn topped with roasted Poblano strips & queso fresco the whole plate doused with a Crema-Butter-Nutmeg sauce.

                                Enchiladas Tricolor... Chicken Enchiladas in Three Moles (White, Green & Red) topped with toasted Sesame Seeds & thin onion slices.

                                Sopitos de Escamoles... handmade little sopes spread with guacamole verde & Escamoles (Giant Ant Larvae) sauteed in butter, epazote & serrano chiles.

                                Ensalada de Frijol... A Oaxacan specialty... a variety of heirloom regional beans in an herbal vinaigrette topped with Fried Krill (miniature shrimp smaller than a bean).

                                Chalupitas de Gusano... A Mexico State specialty... Agave grubs sauteed in butter served in a deep Sope that is filled with Salsa Borracha Especial (Tomatillos, Tomato, Serrano, Chipotle, Tequila)

                                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                  I was going to mention the crepas de huitlacoche.Yes sir, this is a classic marriage of the native culture and the infuence of the French occupation.I also like this dish with crema poblana, which is so rare here in the southland.Just a simple pechuga de pollo en salsa pobalana, or chayotes en salsa poblana, would be nice.The only dish I get here is the camarones Culichi, with a salsa poblana.

                                  Speaking of huitlacoche EN, what's the name of a fish stuffed with huitlacoche?I've had it before but the name escapes me.

                                  1. re: streetgourmetla

                                    Huachinango? Red Snapper is Mexico's proleteriat fish... its high quality, ubiquitous, its stocks are doing well, its relatively inexpensive and delicious. But Huitlacoche is paired with many other fish depending on the season & region... for example around Mexico State... Golden Trout if you are willing to pay bigger bucks and go out of your way... or Rainbow Trout if you can settle for farmed fish... Halibut, Escarole, Dogfish etc.,

                                2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                  Cinco Mas

                                  Huevitos en Acuyo (Hoja Santa)
                                  Another specialty from Veracruz... a very simple & rustic dish. You spread Hoja Santa leaves on a warm clay comal then crack a couple of Quail Eggs over the leaf... making sure that the egg whites do not run outside the boundaries of the leaf... when the white has set acceptably.... some salt & pepper. Served with some Black Beans seasoned with Roasted Serranos & more toasted Hoja Santa.

                                  Callos en Verde
                                  A specialty from Baja.... thinly sliced scallops that are blanched, chilled & served with a salsa made with Roasted Tomatillos, Serrano, Celery, Onion & garnished with Avocado slices.

                                  Callos ala Tlaxcalena
                                  Thinly sliced scallops briefly marinaded in lime juice, olive oil, salt & pepper & grilled then served over a melange of Guaje seeds, Nopales, Agave Flowers, Xoconostles & Broth.

                                  Camarones a la Diabla
                                  So many regional variations... I am not sure which I prefer but the version around Lake Chapala towns that simply pairs Garlic, Arbol Chiles & Butter with a dash of Worcestire... although the versions using Coconut or Rouxs can also be great as well.

                                  Chilpachole de Jaiba
                                  A crab stew from Veracruz & Tamaulipas with Tomato-Chipotle-Epazote broth, Corn on the Cob, Calabacitas, Chayote & other vegetables.

                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                    Lets add some more...

                                    Another specialty from Oaxaca... true Totopos.. are not the Mexican name for corn chips... they are a baked crisp made of Masa in clay ovens that are eerily reminiscent of the Indian Tandoori... they are spread with Chintextle a relish made of Steamed Crab, Tomatoes, Chiles, Dried Shrimp & local Herbs... then topped with whole shrimp.. head & all.

                                    Langostino Colimense... a specialty from Colima a small, relatively obscure state wedged in between the Jalisco & Michoacan coasts. Langostines are are split in half then spread with a Relish made of Compeno chiles, Pineapple, Hoja Santa, Wheat Germ, Sea Salt & Black Pepper then its baked quickly at 425 until succulent.

                                    A specialty from Guerrero... Codornices en Adobo de Crema... partly roasted Quail finished with a creamy adobo made from Chilaca chiles, tomatillos, lots of soured cream & cumin.

                                    Costillar en Chileajo... a type of Mole from the Oaxacan Lower Mixteca.... browned spare ribs & back ribs braised in a succulent Sesame Seed & Costeno mole.

                                    Mole de Aromas.... another specialty of Guerrero... a mole made with Costeno chiles, Cinamon, Cloves, Allspice, Black Pepper, Anise & Tomatillos served with an assortment of Fritters made from Shrimp, Crab, Potato, Yuca & various Flower petals (Hibiscus, Colorin etc.,)

                                  2. " I can't remember the name of the fonda but if you are ever in Almoloya del Rio, Edo Mex (its on the road that goes through Desierto de los Leones & San Miguel Ajusco towards Toluca).."

                                    I have doubts that it was the same restaurant, but a Toluca friend once took us to a pretty restaurant across from the Medium Security Prison near Almoloya. Might it be a different Almoloya, northwest of Toluca? I think its name is "Misíon Sta. María". Among the restaurant's specialties were pre-Hispanic dishes, but we stuck to Pescado a la Talla, Sopa de Milpa, Sopa de Hongos, and steaks.
                                    At any rate the Pato en Mole Verde, etc, sounds fabulous.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Anonimo

                                      No, I think there are several towns in Edo Mex with the name Almoyola... I believe the prision is in Almoyola de Juarez.

                                      Almoloya del Rio is Southeast of Toluca, not far from Santiago Tianguistengco

                                    2. A really good slightly chilled Nopales Salad with extra serrano and quality Queso Fresco and warm tortillas - what I am having right now!

                                      1. It was certainly not sophisticated or haute cuisine, but the goat, cheese and beans at Chololo, between Guadalajara and Lake Chapala, was amazing. I had never had goat before, and I was afraid it might be kind of funky, but I LOVED it.

                                        I do wonder about another dish; I had it in Mazamitla in Jalisco: It was a (poblano?) chili stuffed with shrimp and a white sauce that was *not* a béchamel, more like maybe a sour cream base? A link to a picture is included below for anyone who may want to hazard a guess.


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kleine mocha

                                          I think that was just thinned Crema.

                                        2. i vote lengua tacos. yes? anyone else?

                                          1. Does anyone know this book, Man Eating Bugs?


                                            It's kind of for older kids, I think, but I loved it when I read it a few years ago. Anyway, I remember a discussion in it about the use of grasshoppers in Mexico that got me all excited.

                                            Any grasshopper eaters who can elaborate?

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: tatamagouche

                                              That deserves its own thread. Its part of the beautiful way in which Ancient Mexicans co-existed with nature. There is an old Zapotec codex that provides a story of a grasshopper plague attacking sacred corn... one of the God's commanded his people to eat the grasshoppers (incidentally the Zapotec name for grasshopper & lobster is almost identical as such the Codex I am referring to actually discusses a "Lobster" plague). When the grasshopper "season" intensifies... Oaxacans harvest them & either cook them up from fresh or sun dry them for later in the year... and the Corn survives.

                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                Wow, I don't remember if the book covers that at all (but I just ordered my own copy from Amazon, inspired by this thread, so I'll let you know)!

                                                Eat_Nopal, I know you're one of the board experts on Mexican food...have you eaten them? If so, is the experience something you can put into words (English, that is? Well, you can put it into Spanish, and it'll sound awfully pretty to my ear, I just won't get it...)?

                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                  Absolutely... I have had Chapulines in several formats and they can be quite delicious. Now I wont try to tell you they are some succulent, juicy, intriguingly flavored delicacy but they offer a nutty, salty, crispy component to a meal.

                                                  One of the classic ways to have them in Oaxaca is on a Tlayuda:


                                                  Its a huge "tostada" baked (not fried) on a clay disk... it is typically dressed with asiento (rendered lard with lots of meaty bits of cracklings)... then dressed with black beans (flavored with toasted avocado leaves which are like fennel & anise but more complex), then topped with your choice of protein (including Chapulines) and slices of Avocado & quesillo (the stringy young real-mozarrella-like cheese traditional to Oaxaca) & Salsas

                                                  They are also sauteed in sauces and served as tacos etc., Guelagetza in West Los Angeles offers a Chapulines botana (that is surprisingly popular amongst local gringos)... however, they don't remove the hind legs so they itch a little going down which reminds you that you are eating bugs.

                                            2. Puchero Yucateco-meat stew with over 24 indredients topped with sliced radishes and cilantro

                                              Cahuamanta-The forbidden soup, formerly made with the banned tortoise, now made with manta ray and vegetables.A specialty of Sonora.

                                              Estofado de Camaron-Sonoran stew with shrimp, I ask for aleta(shark fin) and Mantarraya(manta ray) for added texture and flavor.Start off with a taco de aleta.

                                              mancha manteles-The mixteca mole with chihuasqle chiles along with pina(pineapple) and platano macho(plantain). The table cloth stainer.

                                              pollo de la plaza-as served in michoacan, aguascalientes(San Marcos),and Sinaloa.All three versions are amazing.Chicken and cheese enchiladas fried in the same mole sauce, or capeado like the San Marcos plaza version.

                                              1. Relleno Negro Con Pavo (Yucatan)- spicy, earthy, with deep, burned flavor
                                                Barbacoa de Cabrito adobado (oaxaca)- I make this at home, it has a nice chile flavor, with accents of avocado leaves
                                                Bistek Enchorizado (Yucatan)- Beef marinated in recado rojo, grilled until rare over charcoal, minced, and then stir fried with chile dulce, onion, and tomato...just made this last weekend