24 Mexican Restaurant Words You Need to Know

1. Molé (moh-ley ) A sauce. The traditional mole includes many different spices and chocolate

Sources: Dictionary.com and spanishdict.com

2. Guacamole (gwah-kuh-moh-lee):This well-known mashed up preparation of avocado literally means avocado sauce.

3. Salsa verde (sahl-sah verr’-day): Green sauce. Salsa, the dance, could have gotten it's name because it was a blend of styles.

4. Pico de gallo (pee-co de guy-o): A fresh salsa made with tomatoes, onions, chiles, and spices. This literally translates as 'beak of the rooster.'

5. Enchilada (en-chuh-lah-duh): A tortilla rolled and filled with a seasoned mixture, usually containing meat, and covered with a sauce flavored with chili.Origin: enchilado or spiced with chili.

6. Tamales (tuh-mah-lee): Meat, cornmeal (masa) wrapped in corn husks. Note: Don't eat the corn husks.

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7. Ceviche (suh-vee-chey): Raw fish marinated in citrus juice, which essentially cooks the delicate fish.

8. Paella (pah-ey-luh): Rice, chicken seafood, and other ingredients seasoned with saffron (the most expensive spice in the world)

9. Chiles Rellenos (ruh-yey-nohs): A mild green chile, usually a poblano, that is stuffed with cheese and/or meat, dipped in batter and fried.

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10. Pollo (paw-yaw): Chicken

11. Carne (kahr-ney): Meat. The type of meat will be after the word. Beef is carne de vaca; pork is carne de chancho. Most restaurant will tell you in English the type of animal. Bistek is steak.Example: Chili con carne-Chili with meat

12. Camarón (cah-mah-rone’):ShrimpExample: Camarones al Mojo de Ajo-Shrimp in garlic (ajo) sauce.

13. Cerveza (ser-ve-sah ): Beer. Go beyond Corona and get a Negra Modelo with a lime.

14. Sangría (sang-gree-uh): A refreshing wine-based drink flavored with sugar, fresh fruit, and soda. Often red as sangre means blood in Spanish

15. Agua fresca (ah’-goo-ah): Literally fresh water, this non-alcoholic drink is a light blend of fruit and water. Perfect for a day at the beach.

16. Tres leches cake (trays lay'-chayes): A cake soaked in evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. The name is literally three milks cake.

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17. Helado frito (ay-lah’-do free-to): Fried ice cream. Ice cream is rolled in something crunchy, usually corn flakes, then doused in potent liquor and set on fire. Cinnamon sparks as it is sprinkled over.

18. Pepitas (puh-pee-tuhs ): Pumpkin seeds.

19. Queso fresco (kay’-so fres’-co): A mild, cow's milk cheese that does not melt. Similar in texture to feta cheese, but milder.

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20. Chipotle (chi-poht-ley ): Smoked jalapenos. Other types of chiles to keep an eye out for: pasillo, guajillo, chile de arbol, ancho. Beware the super-spicy habanero.

21. Nopal (noh-pahl ): Prickly pear cactus (yes, you can eat cactus).

22. Papas Fritas: French fries; literally fried potatoes.

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23.Frijoles (free-hohles): Beans, as in frijoles refritos, the ever popular refried beans.

24. Arroz (ar-roth’): Rice is a staple in Mexican cooking and arroz y frijoles (rice and beans) is served with nearly every dish.

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