9 Things to Taste in Puerto Vallarta

9 Things to Taste in Puerto Vallarta

Great beaches, great people, great food


Sun and sand, friendly people, and a vibrant culture-- there’s so much about Puerto Vallarta that makes it an attractive destination for tourists. But wait, let’s not forget the amazing food! The coastal city is a culinary destination in itself, encompassing gourmet cuisine from international chefs to long-standing, traditional Mexican dishes. 


With its ideal location on the Pacific coast, locals are blessed with quality ingredients from land and sea. The food is fresh and inexpensive, and the variety is ever-expanding. On the streets and in local eateries, one can find savory meat stews, bright and zesty seafood, colorful salsas, fun tacos, and more!


Don’t know where to start? Check out our recommendations for the 9 Things to Taste in Puerto Vallarta!


And make sure to stick till the end for a cool surprise...


Pescado Embarazado


Pregnant Fish?

Pescado Embarazado translates to “pregnant fish.” Sounds weird, but it’s actually a shortened term for “pescado en vara asado”, which means fish roasted on a stick. 

Pescado Embarazado is a pretty good representation of local eats. You can find them being sold in food stalls, usually by the beach. The fish is marinated in lime and grilled over coal, then served with salsa. School shark or marlin is typically used, but shrimp is also a tasty substitute for fish.

It’s a easy to-go snack. Just head over to a stall, grab a stick, and enjoy while walking along the sand.


Street Tacos


Cheap Street Eats!

While there are many fine dining and glamorous options options to choose from in in this beach town, don’t overlook the hole-in-the-wall taco spots! Scattered along the streets and corners, there’s no shortage of taco options in Puerto Vallarta.

Made fresh right in front of you, they’re a delicious way to satisfy your taco cravings and also connect with the locals. Vendors use corn tortilla, and load them up with meats, salsas, and other tasty toppings. Tacos are also super affordable, so it’s great for those on a budget!


Torta Ahogada


“Drowned Sandwiches”

Found in street stalls, markets, and eateries throughout Mexico, tortas are an integral part of the Mexican gastronomy. For those who don’t know, tortas are a special kind of Mexican sandwich, made with a bread called bolillo and stuffed with shredded beef, refried beans, cheese, and more.

A variation of torta that’s especially popular in the region is torta ahogada, which translates to “drowned sandwiches”. The name comes from the fact that the sandwich, which is filled with fried pork and onions, is drenched in a spicy tomato and chilli broth. It’s said that this torta was created by accident, when a small food stall owner dropped his torta into a sauce container. Well, it turned out to be a delicious accident after all!




 by y6y6y6

Fresh and Zesty

Being in a coastal city like Puerto Vallarta means there’s bound to be fresh seafood. What do you do with all of them? You make ceviche! Ceviche is wonderful dish that highlights the natural sweetness and freshness of the local catch. Fish, shrimp, octopus, and a variety of other seafood are cured in lime juice. Then they’re tossed in tomato, onion, and cilantro, and served with tostadas.




A Light Corn Soup

Hearty and comforting, pozole is a warm soup enjoyed by locals. The dish dates back to Aztec times, and contains maize, which were considered sacred. Think of pozole as a light stew, like chicken noodle soup, except with the addition of hominy (a type of corn with large kernels). The tasty broth is made by simmering chicken and pork, and seasoning with chili. It’s topped with lettuce, radish, lime, and sliced avocado, and served with cornbread or warm tortilla.



 by RubyDW

A Spicy Stew

Birria is another local favorite. Deep-red and packed with flavor, it’s a rich stew made of lamb and goat, slow-braised in a spicy sauce. The sauce is spiced with cumin, oregano, and ginger, though restaurants usually have their own unique blend. Birria is garnished with lime, cilantro, and onions, and, of course, served with tortilla.




Red, Green, and Yellow

Ah yes, tamales, one of the most well-known culinary contributions from Mexico. The tamale we know of is typically made by spreading corn flour dough and a meat filling onto corn leaves, and then steaming it up. 

There’s not just one kind, though! Actually, you’ll find different variations of the dish all over the country. The local version is made using a white corn dough that can be filled with either a sweet or savory filling. The two most popular are “verdes” (made with green tomatoes and meat) and “rojos” (red tomatoes with meat), all which include a bit of chili pepper for a kick. Of course, if you don’t enjoy the heat, there’s a sweet version with pineapple filling, which kids (and adults) love.




Drinks Anyone?

So you got your lunch options down. Why not enjoy all this food with local drinks? Pretty much everyone is familiar with tequila. This world-famous alcoholic beverage, which offers quite a nice punch, is actually native to the region. The Jalisco beverage comes from the town of Tequila, which is about a 4 hour drive from Puerto Vallarta. It’s made from the native Blue Agave plant and distilled using Old World techniques, which involves extracting and fermenting the plant’s sugary juice. 


Pan Tres Leches, Flan, and Churros


Finish off with Dessert!

After a day of sampling all these spiced, flavorful dishes, it’s nice to spend the evening indulging in some sweets. Mexico is known for its chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon, so it’s common for desserts to have these wonderful aromas.

Many establishments include pan tres leches on their dessert menu. It’s a light cake soaked in evaporated, condensed, and thick cream. Served in slices with some whipped cream and fresh fruit, it’s the perfect end to a meal.

Another delicious dessert is flan. The egg custard, drizzled with a bit of caramel sauce, has the right amount of sweetness, and is sometimes even flavored with coconut or coffee.

Finally, we can’t forget the iconic churro! The deep-fried dough sticks are pure cinnamon-y, sugary goodness. Churros can be found at many vendors, so grab a piping hot one, and enjoy while strolling down the streets!


That’s it! And we got a gift for you!

We hope that our guide to the 9 Things to Taste in Puerto Vallarta gave you a good idea of the bright and bold flavors the city’s food scene has to offer. Of course, one article isn’t enough to describe the gastronomical adventure that awaits in Puerto Vallarta. Check the city out! Maybe even do a food tour or cooking class for a truly authentic experience.

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