What kind of food do they eat in Mexico? The answer to this question depends on the region. For example, tasty Baja Mexican cuisine reflects the peninsula’s history, geography, and cultural diversity. To fully enjoy it, though, you’ll need to leave behind preconceived notions about Mexican food being all enchiladas, tamales, and fajitas. (Although these remain excellent staples, too.)
From machaca con huevos to Baja Med cuisine and Chinese fusion dishes, there’s a wealth of variety to explore along the Baja California peninsula. A ready supply of breads and artisanal cheeses will also give even the pickiest eaters something to crave. Don’t miss out on these seven dishes and types of cuisine on a family trip to Mexico.
1. Machaca con Huevos
Baja California traditional food preparations start with a hearty breakfast. Machaca con huevos takes this concept to the next level with a robust dish that’ll stick with you all morning. Machaca con huevos is the ultimate breakfast scramble. This combination of chives, potatoes, and Baja Californian dried shredded beef all harmonized with eggs will leave even the pickiest eater wanting more.
2. Fish Tacos
No doubt, you’re already familiar with fish tacos, a fantastic Baja food staple. That’s because this delicious treat has migrated north, becoming a West Coast foodie favorite. That said, it’s well worth trying out this delectable treat in its native preparation. It’s a mouthwatering combination of flaky breaded fish fresh from the sea, garnished with pico de gallo, fresh salsa, crema, and avocado. All of these yummy ingredients get stuffed into warm homemade tortillas making for a delicious treat.
3. Sweet Bread
Mexican bakeries have long specialized in delicious baked sweet breads, attested by countless varieties. Establishments include panaderías that craft white and sweet breads and pastelerías where cakes get baked. The love of bread in Mexico has even engendered the colorful expression, como pan caliente (literally “like hot bread”), meaning anything popular or in demand. Baja contains some of the best bakeries in Mexico, including El Mejor Pan de Tecate (“The Best Bread in Tecate”) where traditional ingredients and fire-heated ovens make for unsurpassed flavor. With more than 200 varieties to choose from, you’ll quickly understand why Tecate is known as the “capital of bread.”
4. Artisanal Cheese
A region known as Real del Castillo near Ensenada contains a handful of pastoral properties that specialize in artisanal cheese production. Each variety of cheese bears the name of the farm that produces it, including Mancillas, Barajas, Ramonetti, and Parma. While Ramonetti remains the most famous of these cheeses, produced in Baja since 1911, don’t miss out on the chance to try them all. What’s more, even the pickiest eaters can get behind a little cheese and bread, which means Baja Mexico’s most celebrated creations come with plenty of kid-friendly snack potential.
5. Caesar Salad
We wouldn’t blame you if you assumed Caesar Salad came from Italy. Truth be told, though, it’s a creation of Baja. Crisp romaine lettuce, freshly grated parmesan cheese, dried anchovies, and a creamy dressing define this restaurant staple, the perfect starter for a wide variety of meals. It pairs well with different types of cuisine found in the region, including Mediterranean, Asian, and Mexican.
6. Baja Med Cuisine
Baja Med cuisine has come on the scene in recent years and offers a fascinating blend of Mediterranean, Asian, and Mexican influences. Because of Baja’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean, this cuisine also relies heavily on seafood. What do we mean by Mediterranean influences? They include a strong reliance on olives, olive oil, arugula, wine, and other ingredients that flourish in the region’s climate, which is similar to that of the Mediterranean. As for Mexican influences, these dishes honor the traditional spices, flavors, and techniques of the nation. Finally, Asian elements are found in ingredients such as lemongrass. Typical preparations include beet carpaccio, a vegetarian take on Italian beef carpaccio, and tempura fish tacos.
7. Chinese Food
Chinese immigrants have made Mexico home since the 1600s but came in highest number during the 19th and early 20th centuries, bringing with them a strong culinary tradition. The border city of Mexicali represents the historical center of the Chinese-Mexican population, and its neighborhood, La Chinesca, the heart of a vibrant food scene. What does “Baja-style” Chinese food look like? Fusion favorites include avocado fried rice, stir-fries served with tortillas, and fresh limes squeezed over everything from egg foo yung to chop suey. You’ll also find more traditional fare such as orange chicken, chow mein, and broccoli beef.
The Rich Diversity of Baja Mexican Cuisine
What to eat in Mexico? You can’t go wrong with Baja Mexican cuisine. It features a rich diversity of origins and a compelling blend of delicious flavors. So, get prepared for a perspective-shifting gastronomic experience as you explore everything from Baja Med to Chinese food as reimagined south of the border.
Interested in one-of-a-kind kid-friendly Mexico vacations? Check out our eight-day Family Wildlife Adventure in Baja, Mexico. This family-focused tour will take you on the adventure of a lifetime along the Baja California peninsula. Besides snorkeling adventures at the archipelago of Espíritu Santo, you’ll visit Cabo Pulmo National Park and the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve.
At Our Whole Village, we craft tours carefully designed for families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its people, and its cultures. Contact us to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we curate for families just like yours.