5 min read

      4 side dishes you have to try when coming to Mexico

      Featured Image

      Mexican gastronomy is considered Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, but to bring out the magical flavors of these dishes, complementary flavors are needed. This is where Mexican side dishes come in.

      Mexican Side Dishes

      The main ingredients in the preparation of Mexican dishes are corn, chili, cereals such as rice and vegetables, and legumes such as beans, onions, garlic, pumpkins, peas, and carrots, among many others. All of them make up the dishes that have put Mexican cuisine on the list of the best cuisines in the world, along with French, Italian and Japanese.

      To accompany such plates, it is common in Mexico to serve side dishes that enhance their flavors. Mexican garnishes come in all shapes, colors, and flavors. Some are even served as snacks, as in the case of guacamole. And others become complete dishes when combined with meats and other ingredients.

      Here are the 4 most famous and delicious side dishes of Mexican food. Due to their popularity, you are probably familiar with some of them, so read on and find out if you have tried them all.


      Guacamole is the most popular mexican side dish worldwide. Its name comes from the word ahuacatl (avocado) and molli (salsa) and its origin dates back to pre-Hispanic times, being cultivated for the first time in southern Mexico.

      Mexican Guacamole

      Mexican guacamole recipe

      The original Mexican guacamole recipe uses only mashed avocados, lime juice, tomato and chili. Over time, more ingredients such as onion, cilantro and garlic were added to the recipe. Nowadays, all kinds of variations are prepared and even seafood is added.

      Uses of guacamole

      In Mexican cuisine, guacamole is used as an accompaniment to more elaborate stews, such as red meats, or as a sauce for tacos and tortas. In the United States, guacamole is considered a main dish and is served mixed with fajitas and accompanied by tortilla chips, very common in Tex-Mex cuisine.

      Fun Facts about guacamole

      • The Super Bowl is the season in which most guacamole is produced. During the 2021 Playoff, 132 thousand tons of Mexican guacamole were consumed.
      • For the Aztecs, the avocado had an erotic meaning, since it was associated with the male intimate parts, and women were not allowed to harvest it.
      • In the United States, there is guacamole dip, which is a mixture of avocado with mayonnaise, considered in Mexico a tasteless variant because it reduces the flavor of avocado.
      • In Mexican cuisine, lemon is added to the avocado or left with the avocado seed to prevent it from oxidizing.
      • Avocado is very healthy because it is a source of magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, E, B1, calcium, iron, and unsaturated fats.


      Pico de Gallo

      Pico de Gallo (roster's beak in english) is a sauce (or rather a salad) typical of Mexican gastronomy. It is made with tomato, onion, and chili chopped in squares and bathed in lime juice. The origin of the name is not clear. However, some sources say it is called Pico de Gallo because it is associated with poultry food. Others affirm that it is because it used to be eaten by taking it with the tip of the fingers in the shape of a rooster's beak.

      Mexican Pico de Gallo ingredients

      Pico de Gallo recipe

      Pico de Gallo is prepared by cutting tomato, onion, and serrano or jalapeño peppers into small squares and mixing everything with lime juice and salt. Some recipes add cilantro and avocado, others replace the lime juice with lime or sour orange. Salt can be added and eaten with tortilla chips.

      Uses of Pico de Gallo

      In Mexican cuisine, Pico de Gallo is used alone as an accompaniment to main dishes. It can be put inside tacos or on top of molletes. When Pico de Gallo is incorporated into other dishes (such as scrambled eggs, for example) it is known as "a la mexicana".

      FUN FACTS about Pico de Gallo

      • Colors of the Mexican flagSince Pico de Gallo has the same colors as the Mexican flag, it is also known as Mexican salsa or salsa Bandera (flag).
      • There is a sweet Pico de Gallo made with jicama, mangos, coconut, pineapple and cucumbers served with chili powder and hot sauce.
      • The Yucatecan variant of Pico de Gallo is known as x'nipek (ish nipek), which means "dog's snout" in the Mayan language. In this recipe, the white onion is replaced by purple onion, which has a stronger flavor, the lime juice with sour orange juice, and the serrano chili with habanero. The peculiar name is because this sauce is so spicy that whoever eats it will end up with a wet nose like a dog.


      Arroz a La Mexicana

      Arroz means rice and is the most famous cereal in the world. It is particularly popular in East Asia, but that does not exclude it from being a famous dish in the West. In Mexico specifically, long-grain white rice is consumed and used in many typical dishes as an accompaniment. It can be prepared in many ways, but today we will talk specifically about Arroz a la Mexicana (literally translated as Mexican rice).

      Mexican Rice arroz a la Mexicana

      Mexican Rice Recipe

      This dish is not complex and is prepared in many homes, as it is a delicious and delicious dish to accompany almost anything. To prepare it, first, we blend tomato, onion, garlic, and water, then we fry the rice in oil until it is lightly browned. Add the tomato sauce, the vegetables (usually carrots and peas), and a little more water. Finally, let it simmer until the rice absorbs the sauce. It can be garnished with cilantro.

      Uses of Mexican Rice

      Arroz a la Mexicana is usually served together with the main dish, but in meal service, it can be served as an appetizer. It is an excellent accompaniment to meats, seafood, and mole.

      Fun Facts about Arroz a la Mexicana

      • Rice was brought to Mexico by the Spaniards and was later adapted and incorporated into Mexican dishes.
      • Arroz a la Tumbada is a variant originally from the coastal area of the state of Veracruz. This rice, like Arroz a la Mexicana, is cooked in tomato sauce, but seafood broth, fish, crabs, clams, and even octopus and squid are also added.
      • Arroz a la Mexicana is also known as Spanish rice (in Tex-Mex cuisine) or red rice.
      • Other countries have similar recipes such as Senegal's gullah rice, Iran's estanboli polo, and Guam's red rice.


      Mexican Beans

      Beans are a fundamental and representative part of Mexican cuisine. They were originated and domesticated in Latin America, specifically in Mesoamerica and the Andes, and their preparation in Mexico varies with each state of the Republic. There are black, yellow, red, white, purple, berry, pinto, and speckled beans, in practically any color and pattern.

      Mexican Beans Frijoles

      Mexican Beans Recipe

      Beans are cooked in many ways. There are complex recipes such as frijoles con puerco (beans with pork) from Yucatán that require close monitoring so that they do not dry out, or frijoles charros from northern Mexico that are prepared with many ingredients.

      There are also simpler recipes, such as frijoles de olla, in which they are only boiled, or frijoles refritos, which are refried beans blended and fried in oil or lard.

      Another variant is the frijol colado de Yucatán, which is boiled, liquefied, and strained before frying in lard. Yucatecan snacks such as panucho, are stuffed with strained beans.

      Uses of Refried Beans

      Refried beans have a creamy texture, suitable for spreading on molletes. It can be eaten as a snack with tortilla chips, just like guacamole. And just like rice, they can be served on the side of the main course as an accompaniment.

      Fun Facts about Frijoles

      • There are about 150 known species of beans in the world, 70 of which are native to Mexico.
      • Beans are also known as beans, kidney beans, haricot beans, caraota beans, and kidney beans.
      • It is estimated that more than 1,100,000 tons of beans are produced in Mexico each year.
      • It is an important source of B complex, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus.

      Have you tried the 4 most popular side dishes in Mexican cuisine?

      Guacamole and pico de Gallo

      If you come to Mexico, it's a must to try these side dishes. Don't go too far! Every good Mexican restaurant has them on its menu, so it won't be hard to find them. Don't be afraid to add them to your list of things to eat in Mexico.

      We love them and that's why we have them available in our menu at IXI Beach. All these options are very delicious and mexicanIXImas, and you can't miss them during your next visit to Isla Mujeres.

      5 Wonderful Places To Get Married In Isla Mujeres

      Do you want to organize your wedding in Isla Mujeres? This Caribbean island is one of the most beautiful and popular destinations for all kinds of...

      Read More

      4 side dishes you have to try when coming to Mexico

      Mexican gastronomy is considered Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, but to bring out the magical flavors of these dishes, complementary flavors...

      Read More

      Tikin Xic fish, the best of island food

      WHAT IS Tikin Xic?

      Tikin Xic fish (Tikin Xiic') is a typical dish of Yucatecan cuisine that is cooked mainly in the coastal areas of the Yucatan...

      Read More