Mexican Food by Region: Your Essential Guide


Authentic Mexican food has not changed a whole lot over the years. For centuries, Mayans lived exclusively off the land, sustaining themselves primarily with fruits and vegetables, peppers, beans, corn and chocolate, as well as chicken, turkey and duck. They perfected the combinations of these ingredients to create a food culture unlike any other around the world.

Unfortunately, in the United States and other parts of North America, authentic Mexican food has been demoted to “Tex-Mex.”

Mexican Food by Region

Mexico is a large and vast country, and the cuisine coincides. Therefore, it is no surprise that each region is famous for its own dishes, based on cooking style and ingredients available.

Northern Region

Covering about half of the country, this is a large region and therefore its indigenous foods are vast. However, this region is well-know for its meat dishes, such as Cabrito, Machaca, Burritos & Carne Asada.


Known for being the ‘Land of 7 Moles’ (negro, verde, amarillo, rojo, coloradito, chichilo, manchamantel), Oaxaca also has a large coastline, so you can find great seafood cuisine there.


Also known as the Gulf Region, stretches 400 miles along the gulf coast of Mexico. It’s no surprise that seafood is king here, but with a Mediterranean twist. It is most famous for Pescado a la Veracruzana, which is a delicious seafood dish served with tomato, capers and olives. Interestingly, the origin of vanilla is traced back to this state as well.

Baja California

It’s no surprise that seafood reigns in this region as well. However, there are some interesting and unique immigrant influences noticed here as well – both Russian and Chinese. Key dishes found here are Caesar salad, tempura fish tacos and grilled lobster.


Known as a very Mayan region, the Yucatan has 4 defining pillars of cooking: Achiote, citrus, habaneros, and smoke. The region’s cuisine has also taken on influences from the Caribbean, the Dutch, the Lebanese, and the Spanish. Pibil is the Yucatan’s most famous dish.


In this central region, there are multiple ethnic influences noticeable in the cuisine. It is recognized as a ‘corn belt,’ and the Poblano dishes are those of spiced meat wrapped in fragrant leaves, roasted or braised in tomatoes.

So, You Think You Know Mexican food?

At Benito’s we’re passionate about providing real Mexican food, not Tex-Mex! Here’s a list of our favourite traditional Mexican dishes from our menu that you MUST try.

Tamales: masa (cornmeal) or dough, which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf

Mole Poblano: Mexico’s national dish; with a very unique sauce incorporating chocolate

Pozole: meaning “hominy”, it is a traditional Mexican soup or stew

Tostadas: flat, toasted tortilla, topped with beans, cheese, salsa, other a variety of other toppings.

Flautas: also known as ‘taquitos,’ flautas are a small, roll-up tortilla filled with beef, chicken or cheese, then fried until crispy.


Come visit us as Benito’s Mexican Restaurant today for a taste of REAL Mexico!