Forget plates piled high with nachos. Here are five yummy Mex dishes that locals swear by.
Traditionally cooked under ground, hangi style, beef or pork filled tamales are too high maintenance for your typical Mexican housewife these days. But never fear, little shops and food trucks specialize in tamales and you can get a plate of them for about NZ$2. Shredded meat is marinated in chili and spices, well cooked, then wrapped in a homemade dough and rolled like sushi in a corn husk.
I had the best empanadas on the side of the road somewhere between San Jose del Cabo and La Paz. These are the Mexican equivalent of the Cornish pasty. Typically filled with chicken, beef or shrimp, they are folded into half circles and baked until golden brown. I also had them in a restaurant and they were just as good - but cost a bit more!
This raw fish dish is usually served as a delicious and healthy starter (to make up for the empanadas) and is easy-peasy to make at home.
Restaurants serve squid, octopus, shrimp, scallop or fish ceviche. But it's commonly made with white fish marinated in lime juice to "cook" it and tarted up with variations on finely diced onions, tomatoes, avocado and coriander.
I only found one fish taco that was truly worth writing home about (at Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas), but that didn't stop me from seeking them out at every meal opportunity. The best ones are little crispy floured pieces of fish on a warm, soft taco with some seafood sauce/mayonnaise and finely sliced lettuce. Sometimes the fish came battered, but I found that to be too heavy. Ask first!
Being a vegetarian is easy in Mexico as beans, tomato and cheese feature everywhere. In fact this combo was in the first burrito I tasted. But you'll find variations on breakfast menus at your hotels and you can pick them up for lunch from any snack bar when exploring the towns. They are rolled in soft flour or corn tortillas and not fried.
Megan Singleton travelled to Mexico courtesy of Expedia.