Traditional Mexican food is typically spicy. It is rooted in Mexico’s long history of using chili peppers in its cuisine, so many meals from the country will have some spice. However, not all real traditional Mexican food is always spicy, and some dishes have milder herbs and spices like cumin, oregano, and garlic.
The Less and Incredibly Spicy
Traditional Mexican cuisine offers an array of incredibly flavorful and spicy dishes for all palates. You can order customizable dishes with milder ingredients if you want less spiciness. Good examples of this are light salads, soups, and flavorful tacos made with shredded lettuce and cheese. Another suggestion is to order those with hot sauce or salsa on the side. So you can decide how much spiciness you like to add to the food.
Examples of less spicy Mexican food are
- Chiles Rellenos – Typically, it features mild poblano peppers filled with cheese and topped with a tomato-based sauce.
- Enchiladas Verdes – This classic Mexican dish has cheese-filled tortillas and a creamy green sauce from tomatillos, onions, garlic, and cilantro. It’s mild enough for those who don’t like too much spice.
- Sopa de Fideo – It is a noodle-based soup with a light tomato broth, as well as garlic and onions. Sopa de fideo is enjoyable for everyone because it has just a hint of spiciness.
- Queso fundido – A tasty appetizer, it is melted cheese topped with roasted poblano chilies and served with warm tortillas.
- Chilaquiles – A classic Mexican breakfast dish consisting of fried tortillas, salsa, and cheese. You can make chilaquiles spicier, such as adding jalapenos and chorizo.
On the other hand, if you crave a Mexican dish that is blisteringly spicy or can level up its spiciness, you may try the following:
- Mole Poblano – It is a traditional Mexican sauce made from chilies, nuts, spices, and chocolate. It can be served over chicken or vegetables and is usually very spicy.
- Chiles en Nogada – A stuffed pepper dish, chiles en nogada features poblano peppers filled with ground beef and fruits. It’s also topped with a walnut-based cream sauce. The dish’s spiciness comes from the chiles, but it has the sweetness of the fruits.
- Tacos al Pastor – It is tacos made with marinated pork cooked on a vertical spit. The marinade includes diced pineapple, onions, and chili peppers, making them incredibly spicy.
- Salsa – There are many types of salsa in Mexico, ranging from mild to extremely spicy. A popular choice is the habanero varietal, which has intense heat.
- Elote Asado (Grilled Corn) – This popular street snack is served hot off the grill with melted butter and an assortment of Mexican seasonings such as cayenne pepper, chili powder, and lime juice.
- Arrachera – A spicy Mexican dish, arrachera is made with thinly sliced beef skirt steak. It is seasoned with lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and other spices. Additionally, this fajita-style meat often goes with tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.
Places with Spicier cuisine in Mexico
Interestingly, most of the spicy traditional Mexican dishes come from some regions. For example, Veracruz and Yucatán are known for their spicier cuisine. Mole poblano from Puebla, chilaquiles from Mexico City, and the Cochinita Pibil from Yucatán have fiery flavors. Other places famous for their spicy cuisine include Chiapas, Tabascan, Sonora, Chihuahua, and Tamaulipas.
With different Mexican food, chances are there is an option that will be less or incredibly spicy. And when you do explore, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by the variety and spiciness of Mexican cuisine.