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Mexican Antojitos: 25 Mexican Street Food to Try

Cheap and ridiculously good, Mexican antojitos are an integral part of the country’s culinary culture. Here our guide to Mexican street food.

To truly understand Mexican cuisine, you need to first try Mexican street food, also known as antojitos. They’re usually cheap, bite-sized, and perfect to eat on the go. Mexican antojitos are found EVERYWHERE – at street side taco carts or eateries on every street corner, square, or market whether in big cities or tiny villages. Honestly, you can’t ever go hungry in Mexico!

I’m a self-acclaimed foodie born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico, so trust me when I say I know a thing or two about Mexican street food. Come join me as we hit the streets and suss out the best Mexican antojitos worth trying on your next trip to Mexico!

mexican antojitos - mexican street food - what to eat in mexico

What are Mexican Antojitos?

The word “antojito” translates to mean little cravings or whims.  Mexican antojitos are usually small bites enjoyed on the streets, between meals. Because most Mexicans eat lunch late (sometime between 2 and 4pm), they often get hungry between breakfast time and lunch. That’s when they stop by a streetside cart and grab some Mexican antojitos to curb their craving.

To tell if a street food vendor is good, just look at how many people eat there. Good street stalls always serve the “vitamin T”, which stands for tacos, tortas, tamales, and tostadas (all of which are Antojitos Mexicanos). But beyond the T-family, there are a lot more antojitos worth trying when you’re in Mexico.

25 Mexican Antojitos You Have to Try

1. Guacamole

There’s a reason why guacamole is so famous around the world, and that’s because it’s so delicious. The nutritious and delicious mishmash of squashed avocados and diced onions and tomatoes is such a popular snack for Mexicans. In Mexico, Guacamole is not only an appetizer you can enjoy with tortilla chips; it’s also used as a dressing for tacos, tostadas, and other dishes. 

mexican snacks - guacamole

2. Elote

Corn is a staple of Mexican cuisine, and of course, it’s eaten in many different forms. An elote preparado or “prepared corn” is a Mexican antojito you can find in almost every corner it’s essentially a corn on a stick covered in mayo, cheese, chili powder, and sour cream. There’s also a less messy version known as an esquite or elote en vaso (corn in a cup), where you have the same ingredients but with the kernels cooked in butter and salt.

mexican antojitos - elotes

3. Nachos

Probably the best known Mexican antojito, nachos are an all-time favorite worldwide. In case you don’t know this dish, it’s basically tortilla chips covered in fried frijole beans, grilled cheese, and pico de gallo (diced tomatos, onions, and cilantro). The authentic nachos in Mexico usually just have those toppings; when you see them topped with guacamole and jalapeño chili pepper, you’ll know those are more American than Mexican.

mexican snacks - nachos

4. Empanada or Paste

Mexico has its version of empanadas, a type of baked turnover consisting of pastry and filling. Empanadas usually come with minced meat or cheese, but some patisseries in Mexico also serve sweet empanadas stuffed with dulce de leche or sweet and spicy pumpkin paste. In the state of Hidalgo, you’ll find famous pastes that are similar to empanadas and stuffed with a wide variety of preparations, from mole to fruit jam.

See also  Popular Mexican Foods: 50 Best Mexican Dishes to Try in Mexico
mexican antojitos - empanadas

5. Taco

Tacos are probably the most famous Mexican antojitos, and you’ll find them topped with all kinds of meat and stews. One thing is for sure, real tacos are very different from the crunchy taco-shell version of Tex-Mex restaurants; they are usually served on warm, soft corn or wheat tortilla and topped simply with meat, onions and cilantro.

Here are the most popular kinds of tacos:

Taco al Pastor

This is the most popular kind of taco in the central highlands of Mexico (like Guanajuato and Mexico City). The tortilla is topped with pork meat marinated with a special dressing called adobo and grilled on a kebab-style spit. The most traditional taco places will include a slice of pineapple in their taco al pastor

Taco de Carnitas 

Carnitas, literally meaning “little meats”, are made by braising or simmering pork until soft and then fried up in its own juices and lard. They’re then chopped into small pieces of meat, resulting in a heavenly mix of melt-in-your-mouth meat, fat, and crispy fried pieces. While they originated in the state of Michoacán, they are found everywhere in Mexico.

mexican antojitos - tacos de carnitas

Taco de Sirloin 

Sirloin tacos are hugely popular in the northern regions of Mexico like Sinaloa, Sonora, and Nuevo León (you should visit Monterrey and try their famous tacos de carne asada). They’re made with grilled sirloin beef, cut to strips, on flour tortillas. The chargrilled flavor of the sirloin is unbeatable!

Mexican Antojitos: 25 Mexican Street Food to Try

Taco de Chorizo 

Chorizo is a spicy pork sausage, and it has a smoky flavor that I love. There are different kinds of chorizo according to the spices they use to make it: red (the most popular), green, and black. The sausage is usually chopped into minced pieces and generously spread on tortilla.

Taco Gobernador 

Taco gobernador is essentially a taco with grilled shrimps and melted cheese. There are variations to tacos gobernador all over the Pacific coast of Mexico, where seafood is a staple. It first originated in Sinaloa; legend has it that in 1987, the chefs at Los Arcos in Mazatlan invented these tacos to impress the governor of Sinaloa, who was visiting them. T

antojitos mexicano - tacos

6. Sope

Imagine transforming a corn tortilla into a little plate and putting your favorite stew on it —  that’s a sope. Sopes come with a wide variety of stews, from beans with cheese to chicken in green sauce. They’re small, so if you can, try many of them to taste the different variations.

mexican antojitos - sope

7. Gordita

Gorditas can be described as a “chubby” tortilla stuffed with a stew, resembling a pouch. They can be fried or grilled on a comal (griddle) and stuffed with chicharrón. Gorditas Doña Tota is the country’s most famous franchise focused on this kind of antojito. You can find it in many food courts; they’re 100% delicious.

mexican antojitos - gordita

8. Tostada

A tostada is a fried, crunchy tortilla topped with all kinds of things. Many restaurants will offer this Mexican antojito as an appetizer. If you go to a contemporary seafood restaurant, tostadas are the star of the show and can range from caramelized shrimp tostadas to aguachile tostadas. 

mexican antojitos - tostada

9. Quesadilla

There’s a big discussion in Mexico about quesadillas. Most of the country says that the name implies the inclusion of cheese (queso) inside the tortilla, but it can have other ingredients. However, in Mexico City, a quesadilla doesn’t have cheese unless you ask for it. Quesadillas are simple but delicious; and you can have them in any Mexican restaurant.

mexican antojitos - quesadilla

10. Enchiladas

Enchiladas are easy to make, but it will take you longer to eat than most Mexican antojitos. This dish is made up of corn tortillas rolled around a filling and covered with a savory sauce. The tortillas are filled with various ingredients, including meats, cheese, beans, potatoes, vegetables, or combinations. Enchiladas are also a popular Mexican breakfast dish and are sure to fill you up for the day!

See also  25 Traditional Mexican Desserts and Sweets to Try
mexican antojitos - enchiladas

11. Burrito

Burritos are more common in northern Mexican states like Sinaloa and Sonora, and they are made by rolling a big flour tortilla around fried mashed beans, cheese, chicken, beef, pork, vegetables, and cream. Sonora has a type of burritos called “percherones” which are bigger than regular burritos but very savory.

mexican street food - burrito

12. Torta

A torta is a sandwich made with a special bread called “bolillo” and they can have many kinds of food inside, like ham, beef, cheese, and vegetables. You can find different kinds of tortas, and some of them are very famous, for example: 

Torta Ahogada

The most famous dish in Guadalajara is the torta ahogada, a torta that’s literally drowned in salsa. It’s best enjoyed on the streets, but it can get real messy. One of the best things to do in Guadalajara is try the torta ahogada at Taquería Los Faroles and La Chata de Guadalajara (go early to avoid the long lines!).

mexican antojitos - torta ahogada

Torta de Cochinita Pibil

This is my favorite torta! Many taquerias that sell cochiita pibil will also sell tortas de cochinita pibil, so if you prefer bread instead of tortilla, try this delicious antojito.

mexican antojitos - torta de cochinita pibil

Torta Cubanas

This might be the most complex kind of torta. Unlike what its name implies, it’s not Cuban. The sandwich has includes different kinds of meat and makes for a full meal.

mexican antojitos - torta cubana

13. Flauta

A flauta is a crunchy version of tacos, shaped like a flute. It’s made by rolling a tortilla around potato cubes, cheese, chicken breast, or some other type of meat and then deeo-frying it. It’s then topped with cabbage, lettuce, cream, and more cheese, and you can also add some spicy sauce. Flautas are usually served with a cup of hot chicken broth, so you can pour them over or dip them in it.

mexican antojitos - flauta

Mexican Antojitos from Oaxaca

14. Tlayuda

Oaxaca is famous for its cuisine, and tlayudas may be its most popular Mexican antojito. Tlayudas are huge corn tortillas with cheese, beans, meat, and other ingredients. Akin to a Mexican version of pizza, it’s perfect for sharing with others. It’s also a popular Mexican breakfast dish. One of the best things to do in Oaxaca is having a tlayuda in the bustling Mercado 20 de Noviembre.

mexican antojitos - tlayuda

Mexican Antojitos from Puebla

15. Chile Relleno

Traditionally from Puebla, chile relleno is essentially a big green chile pepper (also known as chile poblano) stuffed with minced meat and cheese.; breaded and deep fried to golden perfection. The chile is actually not spicy and the stuffing gives it amazing flavors.

mexican antojitos - chile relleno

16. Chile en Nogada

This is a national dish of Mexico as it showcases the colors of the flag brightly, and it brings a fantastic combination of flavors to the table. This dish is similar to chile relleno, but the pepper is stuffed with picadillo (minced meat) and covered with a walnut-based cream sauce called nogada; it’s then decorated with pomegranate seeds to give it more color.

street food in mexico - chile en nogada

17. Chalupas Poblanas

These antojitos are very similar to sopes but easier to make, and they’re a traditional dish from Puebla. The magic of chalupas lies in what kind of salsa is used to make them. Chalupas are relatively small, but you can have more than one and try different combinations of salsas and topping ingredients.

mexican antojitos - chalupas poblanas

Mexican Antojitos from Yucatan

18. Papadzules

Originally from Yucatán, papadzules are similar to enchiladas, but feature different toppings. The tortilla is previously dipped in a sauce made with pumpkin seeds, filled with hard boiled eggs, and covered with a salsa made of pepper and tomatoes. Perfect for a hearty breakfast! If you’re heading to Merida, here are some things you can do in Yucatán.

See also  25 Mexican Breakfast Dishes to Try
mexican antojitos - papadzules

19. Salbutes

Yucatán also has a unique traditional dish made up of a puffed deep fried tortilla topped with lettuce, sliced avocado, pulled chicken or turkey, tomato and pickled red onion. What makes it unique is that the chicken (or pork) is stewed in orange juice and axiote (a Yucatan spice commonly used by Mayans in their cooking). They’re so tasty you’re going to want to have more than one.

mexican antojitos -salbutes

20. Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil is also traditionally from Yucatán, and it’s well known throughout Mexico. It is essentially pork meat slow cooked with orange juice and axiote and other spices. “Cochinita” means piglet, and “pibil” comes from the name of the kind of earth oven they were traditionally cooked in. If you’re ever in Merida, be sure to try the cochinita pibil at Manjar Blanca (featured on Netflix).

mexican antojitos - cochinita pibil

21. Panuchos

Panuchos are another popular antojito from Yucatán, and they consist of a refried tortilla stuffed with black beans and topped with cabbage, chicken or turkey, tomato, onion, and avocado. It’s similar to a gordita, resembling a pouch; the only thing that makes it different is that it’s also topped with lots of ingredients.

mexican antojitos - panuchos

22. Molotes

Molotes are typically served as appetizers, and they resemble empanadas as well as croquetas. The pastry is made up of plantain dough or corn masa, sometimes blended with mashed potatoes, and stuffed with various ingredients, then fried in lard or oil. They’ll leave you wanting more!

mexican antojitos - molotes

Mexican Antojitos from Mexico City

23. Gringas

A gringo/gringa is how Mexican people refer to Americans, but this dish is not American at all. Gringas are like quesadillas but with your favorite kind of beef or meat. They’re easy to make, so cheesy and gooey. The gringa de pastor and the gringa de chorizo are my favorites; most taquerias have them.

mexican street food - gringa

24. Huarache

The word “huarache” means “sandal” and this antojito is shaped like one. The thick base is made of corn dough and pinto beans, and topped with salsa, lettuce, onion, potato, and other vegetables in pieces; it can have beef or chicken, and the finishing touch is some cheese. There’s a wide variety of huarache types, but the base is always the same.

mexican antojitos - huarache

25. Tlacoyos

This is one of the most traditional dishes of Mexican cuisine and they’re elongated tortillas stuffed with beans or requeson (a type of cheese). If you’re visiting Mexico City, be sure to try tlacoyos at the Zócalo. Every traditional market in the city will have them. We suggest trying the ones with chicharrón.

mexican antojitos - molote

What are Your Favorite Mexican Antojitos?

Mexican antojitos are perhaps the most loved and commonly eaten foods in our day-to-day life. Eating Mexican antojitos is the best way to understand Mexican food culture and gastronomic traditions.

Have you tried any of the Mexican antojitos on this list? Which are your favorite Mexican street food? Let us know in the comments field below!

For those who are planning to travel more of Mexico, check out other articles I’ve written on Mexico:

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links i.e. if you book a stay through one of my links, I get a small commission at NO EXTRA COST to you. Thank you for your support!

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1 thought on “Mexican Antojitos: 25 Mexican Street Food to Try”

  1. Your blog is truly awesome, with great explanations about every bite of Mexican cuisine. It’s useful for everyone to taste Mexican street food flavors.

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