Mexican cuisine is rich and varied, and according to one renowned culinary guide, one of the most outstanding in the world. TasteAtlas, which promotes gastronomy, ingredients, recipes, and local restaurants from different regions, published their ranking of the “100 best street foods in the world” and, of course, Mexico showed up in spades with 10 items in total, four of which are in the top 10. Voting was done by the general public through the TasteAtlas portal (also known as the “Google Maps of food”) based on their personal experiences.
Let’s face it – here and around the world, Mexico is synonymous with tacos. The variety is infinite, the flavor is unmatched and TasteAtlas users know it, as Mexican tacos have been ranked third on the whole list with a score of 4.7 out of five stars. According to the guide, “today, the word is widely known to signify Mexico’s leading street food and fast food,” and describes this dish as “anything eaten in a soft tortilla.” It goes on to highlight some of the hits like tacos de canasta, al carbón, breakfast tacos, and many more.
TasteAtlas recognized the tasty and traditional carnitas, ranked fourth with a score of 4.7 stars, the guide describes them as “a tasty dish made with braised, roasted or slow-cooked pork in its own fat for a long time until it is fully tender and succulent.” The portal points out that, in the Mexican state of Michoacán where they originate, carnitas are found everywhere, from street stalls to luxury restaurants, and their most common presentation is “served with tortillas, accompanied by sauces, beans, guacamole, lime, or fresh vegetables.”
Esquites are a cup of comfort for any belly. For TasteAtlas, esquites ranked number 8 with 4.7 stars as “snack on the go” made from ripe corn kernels, epazote, and salt. “Sour cream, mayonnaise and chile piquín powder are sometimes served on the side so that everyone can add the ingredients according to their personal preferences,” the guide notes. Fun fact: the name derives from the Nahuatl word izquitl, which means roasted corn.
In 9th place, and also with a score of 4.7 stars, this delicious marinated pork dish from the Yucatán peninsula “is baked slowly and then shredded and served on tortillas, tacos or on its own with shallots, pickled onions, salsa, and various roasted vegetables.” This banana leaf wrapped pork dish can be found in other presentations that we also know and love, served as tostadas, tacos, and tamales.
These special tacos from Puebla are ranked 46th with 4.6 stars. The guide describes “pita bread (Arabian bread) wrappers that are filled with thinly sliced cumin-marinated pork, spicy chipotle sauce, and a sauce consisting of yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and parsley.” Immigrants from the Middle East arrived in Puebla after World War I and “brought their shawarma-related culinary tradition of sliced roasted lamb (it was replaced by pork in Puebla) in pita bread.”
Tacos al pastor
The classic of classics come in at number 32 in the entire TasteAtlas ranking. On any street corner, anywhere in Mexico you’ll find the famous tacos al pastor. “Tacos al pastor are a Mexican dish consisting of thin slices of shaved pork from a rotating spit, placed in a tortilla and topped with onion, chopped coriander, pineapple chunks, chili, and salsa.” The history of this dish comes from the Lebanese culinary traditions that arrived in Mexico at the end of the 19th century. This wave of immigration gave rise to what is now possibly Mexico’s most famous taco.
There can be no gringa without pastor, yet it comes in just a hair above with 4.6 stars, which places them in 30th place. “Made with flour tortillas filled with al pastor marinated pork meat, cheese and, most commonly, pineapple slices, although onion, chili sauce, and coriander can be added to the dish according to the customer’s preference.”
Tacos al carbón
This style of taco, with a TasteAtlas score of 4.6 stars, consists of corn or wheat flour tortillas filled with a variety of grilled meats. This antojito tastes best when topped with freshly chopped peppers, onions and cilantro, and the portal recommends eating them warm, “preferably with a squeeze of lime juice and a dollop of sour cream on top.”
All hail garnachas and one of its brightest stars – gorditas. TasteAtlas diners and users know, they can’t resist the thick tortillas made from corn flour masa and filled with a variety of ingredients like meat, cheese, beans, cactus, and salsa or guacamole. “Gorditas are usually served as street food in Mexico but their popularity has spread all over the world,” which explains this 65th place ranking with 4.5 stars. The guide even mentions that “gordita means little fat one in Spanish, referring to its thickness, a word that is commonly used as a term of endearment.”
Ahogada, cubana, chilaquiles, guajolota, hawaiana…the list goes on and on with so much variety for what could be considered a simple sandwich that originated in Puebla. TasteAtlas knows what the famous tortas mean to our culture, defining them as “luscious traditional sandwiches filled with delicious, mostly authentic Mexican ingredients.” Described as a “unique Mexican creation,” since they are served in rolls, an ingredient not usually associated with Mexico, the international guide placed the tortas in 89th place with a score of 4.4 stars. The portal continues on about the diverse flavors of this street food: “They are stuffed with the most popular Mexican ingredients, such as beans, avocado, ham, queso, jalapeños and a myriad of other typical Mexican dishes such as fried beef or chicken, shredded meat, roasted pork, and even tamales.”