Unique Mexican Cuisine by City, State and Region

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These Mexican cities, states, and regions have unique cooking styles, recipes or ingredients to offer.

Mexican Cuisine by City

  • Acapulco: This resort community has been a popular vacation destination for many years. You will find most of the menus have very traditional dishes, such as Posole and Enchiladas, but the thing you will find unique about this city is not the actual food, but how it is served. Most restaurants feature dining al fresco, which simply means dining outdoors. The climate is warm all year long, allowing diners to enjoy their meals with spectacular views of the beaches and sunsets.
  • Los Cabos: Cabo San Lucas is located at the southern tip of Baja California and features fresh seafood all year round. The fishermen leave before sunrise and spend hours capturing the freshest fish and shellfish around. Cabo is also where the fish taco became famous and you can find many different versions in just about any restaurant.

Mexican Cuisine by State

  • Durango: This state is located in the northern area of Mexico a common dish is Barbacoa, which is a traditional dish of various meats steamed underground over coals in a pit. A signature dish from the area is Venado Asado, a venison dish. Other unique offerings include machaca which is a dried meat, and pitahaya a native fruit. A sweet fruit paste called Ate (pronounced AH-tay) is also from Durango.
  • Jalisco: Known worldwide for its production of high-quality tequila, as well as the sauce covered sandwich called Tortas Ahogadas. The traditional dish of Birria is also native to Jalisco.
  • Sinaloa: This long, narrow state is on the coast of the Pacific ant at the mouth of the Sea of Cortez. One of the areas signature dishes is Chilorio, which is pork in a chile sauce and Campechana Sinaloense, a cocktail of fresh seafood. Being a sea-side state, fresh seafood is easy to come by and many dishes feature the local seafood.
  • Veracruz: Home of the flavorful tomato based "Veracruz" sauce which also includes green olives and pimientos. The famous fish dish called Huachinango a la Veracruzana uses this sauce. This region is also known for the use of the herb hoja santa. Peanuts are widely used including Pollo Encacahuatado which is a lovely chicken in peanut sauce which is also common in the area.
  • Puebla: The original birthplace of mole, a sauce made from 30 ingredients including cocoa and peanut butter. This special sauce is generally served over chicken, or the chicken is cooked in the sauce. Another famous dish from the Puebla region is Chile en Nogada which consists of green chiles topped with a walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds. The beverage of Rompope was developed by the nuns of Puebla many years ago. The sweet potato dish of Camote is also traditional.
  • Oaxaca: This state is located in Southern Mexico and features a varied cuisine. Mole is a staple here and is traditionally made with bananas and served with blandas (tortillas.) An unusual dish from the area is Iguana Tamales from the city of Isthmus. Corn dough is used in many forms for Empanadas and entomatadas. People from Oaxaca also enjoy Chapulines, which are grasshoppers, either in their tacos or as a snack. Most of all, Oaxaca is probably known best for its chocolate, which is made with cinnamon, nuts and other ingredients and is considered the best chocolate in Mexico.
  • Tabasco: This state uses prehispanic ingredients to make its traditional dishes with freshwater fish and seafood.

Mexican Cuisine by Region

  • Yucatan Peninsula: Currently, the menus in the Yucatan have much variety with influences from Asian cuisine as well as Arabic cuisine. You will also find a lot of native Mayan ingredients such as chaya, achiote, hard-boiled eggs, turkey, deer, and honey. Some examples of Yucatan cuisine include  Poc-Chuc, a pork dish with achiote and sour orange,  Chiltomate, a sauce made with roasted tomatoes, chiles and onions, and  Papadzules, which are rolled tortillas stuffed with hard-boiled eggs and topped with a squash seed sauce as well as a tomato sauce.
  • Baja California Peninsula: This region of Mexico is where the Caesar Salad was born. There are many stories surrounding the salads inception, but the ingredients are always the same. This area has a lot of Spanish influenced food and is known for its paella. Fresh seafood gives the paella impeccable flavor. Baja California is also Mexico's primary wine growing region including Santo Tomas, San Antonio, and San Vicente. You'll find the city of Los Cabos on the Baja Peninsula, which is where fish tacos became famous.
  • Northern Mexico: The traditional dishes of Northern Mexico include many that Mexican cuisine is known for. Items such as large, burrito sized flour tortillas and beef are readily used in this area. Pinto Refried Beans are a popular side dish as well as Spanish rice. Dried meat is common to this area as well as burritos, which are not common in the south.
  • Southern Mexico: While Northern Mexico favors beef as the main meat, the south prefers chicken and vegetables. Corn tortillas are a staple to this area and are served at almost every meal. Black bean dishes are also a common find as well as dishes featuring plantains.