By Rosie Hatch

Published on February 18, 2017

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Mexico is known for being home to some of the most vibrant and flavorful dishes in the world. It’s one of the few places where authentic street food rivals even the fancy restaurants that share the same roads. While taking a trip down south might be difficult for many, that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the delicacies Mexico has to offer. Here, we rounded up the best Mexican street food recipes—no translation required.

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Nopales and Roasted Corn Tacos

Who knew cacti could be so tasty? This common Mexican street food uses the soft pads of the prickly pear cactus—thorns removed, of course—to unveil a unique flavor similar to cooked green beans. Not only are they surprisingly delicious, but they are also full of healthy vitamins and minerals. This taco recipe combines corn, boiled nopales, avocados, and lime for a unique Taco Tuesday dinner idea.

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Tijuana Street Fries

They have fries in Mexico, too, but instead of just a side of ketchup, they pile on the toppings to make them an entrée all their own. This recipe uses seasoned pork, salsa, and homemade queso cheese drizzle that is a must-try.

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Gorditas

Tortillas usually get all the praise, but homemade gorditas deserve a little love, too. These guys are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside making them a perfect base for the mouth-watering ingredients on top. Once you’ve mastered the gordita corn cake, you can pair it with anything you like to create a customized meal.

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Milanesa Torta (Chicken Sandwich)

The Mexican sandwich, or Torta, gives our American version a run for its money because it’s chock-full of flavors and textures. This Torta recipe uses breaded chicken for a crispy crunch and plenty of fresh veggies including avocados, red onions, and tomatoes. Top it with some creamy chipotle mayo (recipe included), and in just 30 minutes you’ll have a work lunch that’s the envy of your coworkers.

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Elote Mexican Street Corn

The quintessential street food of Mexico, the elote, is one of the easiest snacks to recreate at home because it’s quick and only requires a few ingredients. When you combine the sweet corn with mayo, cheese, and cayenne pepper, you have a trifecta of flavors that makes an amazing side dish to any entrée.

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Churros

Satisfy your cinnamon and sugar cravings by making your own churros at home—we promise it’s not difficult. Pair the churros with melted chocolate, and you have a tasty treat worthy of your dessert rotation.

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Photography by DAVE LAURIDSEN

Toasted Corn Pockets (Tlacoyos)

Tlacoyos are a traditional street snack that dates back to the time of the Aztecs and still remain popular today. This version uses beans, dried chiles, and queso fresco. Talk about a show-stopping brunch option!

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Honey, Lime, Avocado Paletas (Popsicles)

During the warmer months, food vendors in Mexico City offer paletas, or their version of popsicles. What sets them apart is the fact that they use fresh, healthy ingredients to create a sweet treat without the guilt. Using no refined sugar, this avocado and lime version is sweetened with only honey, and it’s still seriously delicious. You can also create coconut, strawberry, and even cucumber paletas using the same method. Yum!

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Mini Bean and Cheese Fried Quesadilla

You can find fried quesadillas the size of your head in Mexico City, but if you want to scale that down to appetizer size, here is a simple recipe for you. When the corn tortillas are lightly fried, their texture becomes a crispy and tasty vessel for beans and cheese. Create your own guacamole dipping sauce, and you’re set for a festive game day snack.

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Pork Tamales

A list of Mexican street food wouldn’t be complete without tamales. Usually made during special occasions or events, the tamale is made in big batches and is not for the faint of heart. Once you master this meal, though, you will feel like you can conquer any Mexican dish.

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Mexican Sweet Buns (Conchas)

Not only is Mexico known for making amazing savory dishes, they also make a killer dessert. These soft and sweet buns are a great addition to your morning cup of coffee, or a Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Plus, they’re so cute!