Just the best Mexican food guide you will ever need

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Discovering the cuisine of the area is one of travel’s greatest gifts.  Spain has tapas, Germany has every sausage you can think of and the French, well they simply own the term gastronomy. Then the Mexican’s are not far behind, and here is Contiki’s take on how to decode the various dishes you’re likely to encounter…


Can’t figure out what makes a burrito and a fajita distinct? Finding it difficult to decide between a hard or soft taco? Besides the fact they’re all delicious, Contiki the award winning and original travel company for the young, wild and free have perfected you a Mexican food dish guide. Learn the main difference between your favourite dishes and why some aren’t even technically Mexican…


The first thing to know about traditional burritos is that they are big, made with an extra-large tortilla folded into an envelope to hold yummy beans, meat and other fillings like cheese. Where things become a bit murky is the rice and salad situation. Those additions are a more Westernised Tex-Mex adaptation, which while common now, aren’t traditional.

Fajitas on the other hand describe the meat used in the dish, not the way it’s wrapped or eaten. Fajita means ‘beef strips’ in Spanish, and the marinated thin strips are barbecued, then served in hot sauce. You can wrap them up however you like of course, but fajita is the steak, not the meal.

Chimichangas, you’ll be pleased to know, are exactly what they appear: deep-fried burritos. They’re a treat even in Mexico and are usually more moist than a standard burrito.


Taco-bout a scandal! The hard shell tacos you find in Western countries are frauds. Mexicans dine on soft tacos filled with meat and toppings. The only thing vaguely similar to the hard shells is a dish called flautas. These are deep fried tortillas filled with chicken, cheese and potato.


Both are defined by the rolling technique used to hold those mouth-watering fillings, but how do you know which one you’re eating? Well, an enchilada has chilli sauce and cheese on top and is baked in an oven, while a taquito tends to be smaller, deep-fried and sans-sauce.

Mexican food guide


Quesadillas have their main offering in their name: cheese (queso = cheese in Spanish). A traditional quesadilla is two tortillas with cheese sandwiched between them, and then grilled until melted. They can be jazzed up with other ingredients but cheese is king here. However, it becomes a mulita in some regions when there is meat added and garnishes on top (such as guacamole).

Mexico is a country of passion: passion for art, for music, for sport and most of all, for food.  Sharing a border with the Unites States to the north and Belize & Guatemala to the south, its food is as diverse as its terrain.  Designated by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010, Mexico was the first country to attain this status for its national cuisine; a rich blend of indigenous and Spanish influence.  Savour ceviche, sip tequila, shop with an expert in a local market and see how regional foods are prepared.  Throw out those preconceived notions of what Mexican food is all about and get ready to experience authentic dishes, Munch style.

Mexican food guide details:

It’s time to test your knowledge of Mexican foods on Contiki’s new limited edition Munch trip. You’ll discover all that is fantastic about Mexican food as you journey with Contiki from Puerto Vallarta on the west coast to the party spot of Cancun on the Caribbean Sea. Prepare to have your taste buds blown.

If you want to know more about travelling to Central America with Contiki then contact them on +27 11 280 8400  or visit contiki.com.

Life’s an adventure – make it count with absolutely #NOREGRETS. Now go make most out of the munch in Mexico!

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