Mexican forces defeated the French 152 years ago at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. In honor of this significant victory, Cinco de Mayo has become a much-celebrated holiday in both Mexico and the United States. But it’s not just about tequila shots and margaritas. Take a look at some of our favorite foodie experiences in Mexico:
Mexico’s capital, Mexico City, has the best street markets for foodies, art lovers, and shoppers alike. Here you can stroll through La Merced (one of the oldest markets), which is located at a monastery. La Nueva Viga is the second largest seafood market in the world, after Japan’s Tsukiji.
There you will be able to find anything from shrimp to manta ray, and you may even see renowned chef Alejandro Fuentes roaming the aisles in the morning. Shoppers and art lovers will love the Ciudadela Artisinal market, which has painted dishware, handmade jewelry, and endless wall art options.
Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are great destinations for wandering foodies. While the two cities are very different, there’s a wide selection of restaurants with can’t-miss dishes. El Torito del Los Mariscos is where you’ll find all the locals in Cabo San Lucas, thanks to the large portions and affordable dishes. Restaurants such as Mariscos Mazatlan boast shrimp dishes as a specialty, which you can order grilled, breaded, fried, or stewed.
Cancun is a popular destination for many travelers, but beyond the white sand beaches are some surprisingly delicious regional dishes. If you’d rather balance a freshly made taco in one hand and an ice cold drink in the other, Cancun has plenty to offer. Local treats are shared at El Sarape Grill, where you can buy ice cream bars called paletas that are made with fresh fruits or vegetables—a perfect end to your day of shopping and wandering around Cancun in the sunny weather. Afterward, check out hotel restaurants that serve dishes you might expect to see in New York.
Are you a street food junkie like us? Mexico has some street food surprises in places you wouldn’t expect. The park of La Marquesa—between Mexico City and Toluca—is a great destination away from the crowds, and you can find unique street food dishes. There you’ll find traditional dishes like tacos, piña coladas, and quesadillas made with huitlacoche. Not sure what that is? Watch as Peter Greenberg explains how the dishes are made and then tries them for himself.
While many associate tequila with Cinco de Mayo, Mexico has the oldest wine culture in the Americas. Mexico’s wine country resides in the Valle de Guadalupe, which has over two dozen wineries. Peter visited Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun to sample some of the best wines around, including ones that are shipped to France.
If all of this talk about Mexican cuisine has you hankering for a homemade dish, you’re in luck. Chef Alejandro Fuentes of Au Pied de Cochon in ritzy Polanco’s Presidente Intercontinental gave us his personal recipe for salsa verde, which is perfect when served on chicken, with eggs, or even with chips.
Want to learn more about Mexican culture and history? Check out:
- The Cosmovitral: A Stained Glass Beauty in Toluca
- Artisans & Authentic Crafts in the State of Mexico
- Aztec Ruins in the Mountains of Malinalco
By Siena Mazero for PeterGreenberg.com