Tropical, exotic and heavily influenced by Mayan, Mexican and Caribbean cultures, cuisine from the Yucatán Peninsula is by far the most distinctly different from all of Mexico.
Achiote, a reddish spice with a hint of nutmeg, is common in traditional Yucatán dishes. This includes Poc Chuc—slow-cooked, barbeque pork—or Panuchos—a fried corn tortilla topped with chicken, salsa, beans, onion and avocado.
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The dramatic shoreline of Mexico’s Pacific Coast is dotted with small seaside villages and grand resorts overlooking the expansive Pacific Ocean.
Fresh seafood, like shrimp and mahi-mahi, is a staple in Pacific Coast cooking, but the flavors found here aren’t limited by the region’s proximity to the sea. Quite possibly one of the most famous dishes from the Pacific Coast is Green Pozole, a salsa verde-based dish filled with hominy, chicken and pork.
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Because Mexico’s North is home to some of the county’s most rugged desert landscape, you’ll find Northerners have adapted to life in this arid region by creating dishes comprised mostly of beef, spicy peppers and bold salsas that can be served alongside traditional flour tortillas.
From border towns like Nogales to inland cities like Durango, you’ll find hearty, filling dishes, like Beef Barbacoa—slow-cooked barbecued beef, lamb or pork—and Caldillo—a traditional beef and chile stew.
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From sophisticated new tastes in cosmopolitan Mexico City to the award-winning authentic restaurants of colonial Aguascalientes, the dishes found in Central Mexico are as varied as its own landscape.
And while the region may be a cultural melting pot, many recipes from the Central Mexican plateau actually celebrate simplicity. This can be seen in the classic Chiles Relleños—which are stuffed and roasted poblano peppers—and the popularity of casual street fare, like Tortas and other snacks.
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Perhaps one of the most distinct culinary styles in Mexico hails from the Gulf & the South. Shaped by ancient Mayan and Mexican culture yet heavily influenced by the Caribbean, this region is known for dishes featuring spicy vegetables, tropical fruit, seafood and chicken.
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Located just south of California and surrounded almost entirely by the sea, the sun-soaked beaches and rugged mountain landscapes of the Baja Peninsula offer a variety of culinary choices, some vastly different from its mainland counterpart.
From Fish Tacos in Ensenada to the original Caesar salad from Tijuana and fajitas in Loreto, you’ll often find lighter, more ocean-inspired fare to choose from.
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