12 Things You Must Eat in Mazatlan

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There are so many great things to eat in Mazatlan. Food in Mazatlan is different but also similar.

Having spent some time on the West Coast of Mexico I have realized again that this country is massive.

While dishes may be similar to other parts of Mexico, they are still very different from what I eaten in the Yucatan, food in Colima or Oaxaca

Mazatlan is known as the shrimp capital and while food tends to be a little less spicy here but there is a lot of great stewed meat.

Food in Mexico

I did not love everything; I suspect it may have been due to some of the restaurants that seemed to cater to foreigners.

I need to spend more time with locals eating on the street and in the cenadurias like at La Copita.

But what I loved about Mazatlan was that many traditional Sinaloan foods are prepared in a caldo or large pot.

It is then served in small bowls so people can serve themselves and I was able to do it at El Meson de los Laureanos.

This means you can try a lot of different things.
I’m in heaven.

bacon wrapped shrimp

Shrimp stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon

A fantastic Mexican antojito, I first had this at Pedro y Lola and I thought it was their genius creation but this is a dish typical to the area.



A great shrimp cocktail where seafood is marinated in green chili and lime and then served with red onion and cucumber.



I have eaten this in a few places around Mexico, including Playa del Carmen.

Pozole Recipe

It is a soup made from hominy, which is related to corn and can include different meat with onions and cabbage.

I liked it the most here in Mazatlan.


Drinks: jamaica, horchata, agua de cebada

I love juice in Mexico and these are found everywhere in large jugs on tables.

Jamaica is made from boiled hibiscus flowers which are then mixed with sugar, lime and exotic fruits and is like a natural Kool-Aid.

Drinks in Mexico

Horchata is made from rice but then mixed with sugar, vanilla and sometimes cinnamon.

When I visited the Casanovas in Campeche they used coconut milk as well and it was heavenly.

While I had jamaica and horchata before, I had never heard of agua de cebada.

It is made of barley and very similarly prepared as horchata and it turned off most people in our group until they tried mine.



A meat stew which is usually made with beef but it can also be made with goat or lamb. 

Mexican Birria Recipe

The meat is simmered for hours with onion and coriander and is perfect on a tortilla.



Seafood cooked by the acid of citrus, it is one of my favourite foods in Latin America.

Learn how to make Mexican ceviche.



This is tongue and I had to force Cailin O’Neil to try it, she claimed she did not want her food to taste her back.

Sikil Pak

I first had this at a bus station in Colombia and it’s now one of my favourite Colombian food.

It is incredibly tender meat and one of my favourite parts of the cow.

If someone offers you lengua do not turn it down.



A thicker tortilla that is fried and loaded with meat and onions and topped with cheese.

cactus pear

Tunas aka prickly pear cactus fruit

If you are in Mexico when these are in season grab them and eat them whole. Otherwise you can find them in jam and other preserves.

EASY RECIPE: Chocobananos
shrimp boat

Shrimp Boat

No joke, they serve buckets of shrimp in Mazatlan with shrimp prepared every way you can imagine.

shrimp quesadilla

Shrimp Quesadillas

I told you this was the shrimp capital.

I could name a million other shrimp dishes: cooked in tequila, beer…whatever you do make sure you try the shrimp in Mazatlan.

Disclosure: I was a guest of the Mexico Tourism Board. They did not request that I write a favourable review or harass waiters to recommend food that was typical of the region.

Join the Conversation

  1. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    I would never turn down lengua, it’s so good!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      This is why I badgered her into trying it, she had no idea what she would be missing out on.

      1. It wasn’t horrible in taste… but just the idea of eating tongue grosses me out.. blech haha

  2. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Yum X a billion!!!!!!

  3. Emily in Chile says:

    My one-word reaction to this would have to be “nom.”

    We have tunas in Chile, but they’re melon green – the color of the ones in your photos is beautiful!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ve also had them in Peru and they were much different, almost like kiwi if that makes sense.

      1. Ayngelina, I thought what we had was pitaya not tunas?

        1. I’m pretty sure the ones in the picture are indeed pitayas and not tunas. Tunas have a much harder and pearl-like seed.

  4. I love this line: “she did not want her food to taste her back” HAHAHAHAHA.. but tongue is gooood! VERY TENDER when cooked in the right way! We use it a lot in Indonesian cooking. And I think I’ll feel like I’m in heaven if I go to Mazatlan. I LOVE SHRIMP!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Tongue is so tender I think most people would have no idea what they were eating; if it were served to them I’m sure they’d think it was tenderloin.

  5. Since Tenerife was conquered by Spain at around the same time as Mexico it’s not surprising that many of these dishes are very similar to ones here, but I am intrigued by the prickly pears! You eat them whole? A friend of my son promised to bring me some this week, and I laughed & said I’d never touched one without getting a spine in my fingers. He told me his mom can get the spines out really easily, and he’ll show me how! They grow wild here, so I’m thinking good, free source of Vitamin C!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      They are delicious, I had my first one while hiking in Colca Canyon well that was before I turned around and gave up on hiking. But one of the guys with us took out his knife and just cut it off the cactus. You don’t eat the outside but the inside is delicious.

  6. It looks like dining out in Mazatlan is a unique experience. The next time I visit California, I will have to combine a trip to Mexico.

  7. Nick from LetsBeWild says:

    I tried Lengua for the first time last year, with some hesitation, but it really is excellent! Thanks for making me hungry with all this food.

  8. Yum! I would love to try all of the shrimp dishes on here!

  9. Leah Travels says:

    I’m not quite sure why I decided to read this at lunchtime. Bad decision #1 for today. I just have to say, I wish I was on that shrimp boat right now. {sigh}

  10. This all looks SO good – I’ve never heard of some of these dishes. You had me at stewed meat, anyway =)

  11. I’ll take everything with shrimp including the ceviche! mMmm..

  12. Yum yum yum is all I can say! Everything looks scrumptious indeed 🙂

  13. The shrimp stuffed with cheese looks delicious. I agree. You gotta eat shrimp when in Mexico.

  14. As always, you’re the best person for spotting good food. 🙂

    I do hate restaurants here who alter their dishes because they’re afraid it might be too hot for foreigners.

  15. Just One Boomer (Suzanne) says:

    “Sinoloan” food as in the same Sinoloa as the drug cartel?

    1. Yes, the same state of Sinaloa. Just as the “Chicago” in Chicago-style pizza” is the same “Chicago” as in “Chicago’s record-setting murder rate.” And just as much connection between the two.

  16. No mention of zarandeao-style seafood? That’s a quintessential Mazatlan dish! The best shrimp I’ve ver had is the camarones zarandeado served at any of the restaurants on the 2nd level of the Mercado Pino Sauarez. My #1 food destination every time I visit Mazatlan.

  17. Things happen for a good reason.

    I came across your article “12 things you must eat in Mazatlan”. I enjoyed your brief and simple presentation about the food in Mazatlan with photos. Also, I enjoyed the response of your followings.

    I am a regular visitor of Mazatlan since 2007. I was not aware of some of the foods you mentioned. I will be trying some of these when I visit next week, August 12, 2015.

    Also, If you permit me, I will be glad to share some of my experiences and the great things about Mazatlan in the near future. That includes the recent classification, published by US News, of Mazatlan as the 2nd most visited place in Mexico compared to 9th place for Cabos San Lucas. I am sure Shrimp among other things played a factor.

  18. You forgot no. 9. I’m on my way to Mazatlan in 2 days so I will try some of these dishes that I haven’t tried yet.

  19. Paul Costello says:

    Find the “Shrimp Ladies” downtown Mazatlan a whole street of ladies selling shrimp, the freshest & best prices.

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