10 Delicious Things to Eat and Drink in Oaxaca

10 Delicious Things to Eat and Drink in Oaxaca

Planning your dream holiday in Oaxaca? Get ready to explore some of the best flavors in all of Mexico!

Here are 10 dishes native to Oaxaca that you need to sample during your trip.

Tlayudas by Annelies Zijderveld

1. Tlayudas

This classic street food is known as the soul food of Oaxaca. Tlayudas are the perfect mix between a quesadilla and Mexican pizza. They either come folded or open, and they’re packed to the brim with avocado, cheese, tomato, cabbage, and your favorite meat. You can mix and match ingredients to create the perfect tlayudas combination for your tastebuds. 

Tejate by Leche con Tuna

2. Tejate

If you didn’t realize this before, let us fill you in now: chocolate is a Big Deal in Mexico. While in Oaxaca, you need to try this unique drink that hails from pre-Hispanic times. Tejate is a combination of cacao, toasted maize, and fermented cacao beans. Keep an eye out for Tejate stands throughout Oaxaca, which are widely available. 

Oaxacan Cheese
Oaxacan Cheese by Reddit

3. Oaxacan Cheese

Lovingly dubbed by locals as Queso Oaxaqueño, this handmade cheese is incredibly stringy. The texture is similar to mozzarella and tastes slightly like feta. Oaxacan Cheese can often be found in many local dishes. Pull it apart with your fingers to turn the cheese into strings – it’ll definitely bring back your inner child.

4. Tamales

Although tamales are everywhere in Mexico, each region will place their own unique spin on this traditional dish. Don’t forget to try authentic Oaxacan tamales during your stay! Our tip? Check out the local markets for delicious and well-priced tamales.

5. Mole

Moles are thick, rich and complex sauces found in many Mexican dishes. Oaxaca is known as the “Land of Seven Moles” and for good reason. In Oaxaca, there are so many varieties of mole that it’s practically an art form. The most famous local mole is the mole negro (black), but there’s also many others to watch out for: mole rojo (red), verde (green), and amarillo (yellow), to name of few. A typical mole will include a combination of chilis, chocolate, sesame seeds, tomatillos, spices, dried fruits, and nuts. 

Enmoladas by Brooklyn Tropicali

6. Enmoladas

Enmoladas are rolled tortillas filled with chicken and then drenched with mouth-watering mole sauces. This dish is served with cheese and sometimes topped with fresh cilantro and sliced onions. Enmoladas taste heavenly but be prepared to get messy when you eat this meal!

Mezcal by Katie's Bliss

7. Mezcal

The so-called “nectar of the gods” is a must-try when in Oaxaca. Mezcal is a distilled agave spirit. While many people have tried mezcals before, some might not realize that there are over 30 different species of agave. Each agave plant produces a different mezcal flavor. It’s worth going on a mezcal tasting so you can sample all the different varieties.

Chapulines by Cookly

8. Chapulines

Fancy some toasted grasshoppers sprinkled with salt and chili? Although this dish is not for the faint of heart, chapulines can be unexpectedly addictive. This is a local Oaxacan snack that’s extremely crispy, more-ish and packed with protein. We recommend washing your chapulines down with a glass (or two) of mezcal. Remember: looks can be deceiving so don’t judge chapulines by their name alone!

Caldo de Piedra
Caldo de Piedra by City Express

9. Caldo de Piedra

Did you know the exact translation for this dish is “stone soup”? While that might sound unappetizing, this dish is much more flavorsome than the name would indicate. Caldo de Piedra is a traditional dish dating back to pre-Hispanic times, which means the preparation of this dish is very unique. First, fish or another type of seafood is poured into a tomato-based soup, along with onions, lime, and cilantro. Meanwhile, small river rocks are heated in a fire until they’re scorching hot. These rocks are then transferred into each soup dish. Due to the intense heat of the rocks, the liquid sizzles and boils fast – in fact, the soup is cooked in a matter of minutes. Don’t miss out on tasting (and witnessing the preparation!) of this unique dish. 

Barbacoa by Hank Shaw

10. Barbacoa

Barbacoa is a meat dish (usually beef, lamb, or goat) cooked in an underground pit to tender, pull-apart perfection. Often served in diners alongside tortillas, it tastes just as delicious with beans and masita. Barbacoa is easily available in market stalls or restaurants, and it’s the perfect meal for a true carnivore!

Our Tip for Travelers

Even though it’s great to sample the local street food, it’s even better to learn how to cook like the locals do. Learn how to make your favorite Oaxacan dishes so that you can recreate them back in your kitchen at home.

Cook tasty Oaxacan recipes with locals

Featured In

cookly press
cookly press