Food Words

plato de frijoles con arrozThe following words are those you might see on an eatery's menu or cardboard sign. Even if you're pretty good in Spanish, it may be worthwhile to print out this list and carry it with you, for some words are peculiarly Mexican.

abulón: abalone fish
acamaya: a kind of crayfish living in rivers
aguacate: avocado
ahumado: smoked
ajolote: a kind of salamander cooked entire in tomato-based stews and tamales
aleta: fin (aleta de tiburón = shark fin)
almeja: clam
almendrado: with almond sauce
almuerzo: lunch
ancas: legs (ancas de rana = frogs' legs)
antojito: snack
apozonque: along southern Pacific coast, a kind of bean soup
arroz: rice
asado: roast
atepocates: in central Mexico, frog egg-masses cooked with tomato and chili, boiled in corn leaves
avena: oats (hojuelas de avena = oatmeal)
atún: tuna fish
bacalao: codfish
barato: cheap
barbacoa: barbecue
birria: either goat or sheep meat, or a combination of both
bistec: beefsteak
bocol: a small gordita
borrego: lamb
botanas: snacks
bote: same as churipo
burrita: wheat tortilla folded over various items such as beef jerky, ham, or cheese
butifarra: a kind of sausage
c/: the preposition "with"
cabeza: head (cabeza de res = cow head)
cabra: goat
cabrito: kid goat
café: coffee
caguama: a kind of sea turtle; some species are endangered so be careful about the source if you want some
calabaza: squash
calamares: squid
caldillo: a light broth, in northern Mexico typically made from dried meat and green chili
caldo: soup, broth
camarón: shrimp
caña: sections of sugarcane on which one chews to extract the sweet juice
cangrejo: crab
capón: in southern Guanajuato, a chicken stew with a spicy sauce based on tomato and cactus fruit
caracol: snail
carne: meat
carnero: mutton
carnita: pieces of fried pork
carpa: carp fish
casero: homemade
cazón; a small shark
cazuela: in Sonora, a stew made of crumbled, dried meat seasoned with tomato, green chili, onions and spices
cebollado: an adjective meaning "cooked with onions"
cecina: dried, salted meat
cebiche or ceviche: marinated raw fish
cerdo: hog
chalupa: a thick corn tortilla garnished with chili sauce, pulpy chicken or pork meat, aged cheese, and lettuce
champiñones: mushrooms
charal: a species of lake fish
charikurinda: in Michoacán, a large tamale of bean paste and colored corn
chicharrón: crisply fried pig crackling
chilacayote: a greenish, spherical squashlike fruit of the gourd family
chilorio: in Sinaloa, a stew with chili and chunks of pork
chito: in central Mexico, dried, salted goat meat
chivichanga: In Sonora, a taco made with a wheat-flour tortilla wrapped over meat, beans or cheese, and fried in oil
chivo: goat
chorizo: red pork sausage
chuina: in Nayarit, a very thick beef stew seasoned with corn paste and chili
chuleta: cutlet, or chop
churipo: in west-central Mexico, a spicy stew with chunks of beef, chicken, and pork
clayuda: in Oaxaca, a giant tortilla
cochino or cochinito: pig
cocina: kitchen
con: the preposition "with"
consomé: meat stew
corunda: a tamale, especially from Michoacán, typically containing a certain amount of firewood ashes
costilla: ribs
cuajada: curd
cucharada del mar: a lobsterlike crustacean of the Pacific
cuitlacoche: corn smut (a fungus)
elote: ear of green corn, can be boiled or toasted
empanada: wheat tortilla folded over nearly any ingredient, then fried in oil
enchilada: corn tortilla prepared in a variety of ways, for instance dipped in chili sauce, filled with cheese, meat, or some other ingredient, sprinkled with chopped onion or cheese, fried in oil, maybe topped with sour cream
espinazo: backbone
filete: fillet
flor: flower (flor de calabaza = squash flower)
fresco: fresh
frijoles: beans
frío: cold
frito: fried
fundido: melted (queso fundido = melted cheese)
gallina: chicken
garbanzo: chickpea
gordita: an especially thick corn tortilla stuffed with nearly any edible, fried in oil, and garnished
guajolote: turkey
guisado: stew
haba: lima bean
harina: flour, especially wheat flour
hígado: liver
hongos: mushrooms
horno: oven (al horno = baked)
huachinango: red snapper sea fish
corn foodshuarache: a large, oblong corn tortilla stuffed with bean paste, or sometimes another ingredient, fried in oil, and garnished
huauzontles: greens
huevo: egg
jaiba: name applied to several crablike marine crustaceans
jamón: ham
jugo: juice
langosta: lobster
langostino: crayfish
leche: milk
legumbres: vegetables
lentejas: lentils
lisa: a fish of Mexican rivers
lobina: striped bass fish
lomo: loin, back of animal
machacado: spicy dish based on dried meat
machito: fried, bite-size portion of beef or pork tripe
mariscos: seafood
marlín: marlin sea fish
mazamorra: crumbs of pig crackling
menonita: in Chihuahua, a cheese produced by the Mennonites
menudo: animal entrails; chitterlings
michi: around Lakes Pátzcuaro and Chapala, a popular stew
mochomo: in Chihuahua, finely macerated meat thoroughly fried
mojarra: a kind of sea fish
molleha: gizzard; also, sweetbread
molote: in central Mexico, small, very greasy quesadillas
mondongo: tripe stew
morcilla: blood sausage
nacatamal: in Michoacán and Guerrero, a tamale containing pork, or chicken with chili sauce, wrapped in corn shucks or banana leaves; nacatamales blancos have no stuffing; nacatamales dulces contain candied citron and raisins
nixtamal: corn kernels boiled in a limewater solution until the seed coats come off, and the kernels are large and soft; ground into corn paste from which tortillas are made
nólochi: in Chiapas, a corn tamale containing bean paste
nopalitos: edible prickly pear cactus
obispo: stew of pig stomach stuffed with aromatic herbs and dried chili
omelete: omelette
ostión: oyster
pan: bread

Panucho in the Yucatanpanucho: ( a version shown at the right) in Yucatán, small corn tortillas filled with bean paste and hard-boiled egg, fried, and garnished with macerated chicken breast and marinated onion strips
panza: intestines
papa: potato
papadzule or papak-tsul: in Yucatán, tortillas bathed in pumpkin-seed sauce rolled around boiled egg and smothered with tomato sauce
pargo: porgy fish
paste: a crusty empanada stuffed with meat, potato, onion, and parsley
pato: duck
patita: small foot or leg (patita de puerco = pig's foot)
pavo: turkey
pescado: fish
pez espada: swordfish
pez sierra: sawfish
pez vela: sailfish
pibil: in Yucatán dish called cochinita pibil, a serving of pork, usually wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a pit in the ground (or an oven) in a sauce concocted of achiote (bright orange-red dye with slightly hot taste), juice of bitter orange, and salt
picadillo: ground beef or pork in spicy tomato sauce
piltamal: in the mountains of Hidalgo, a small tamale stuffed with sweet corn
pinole: toasted ground corn, often flavored with sugar, cinnamon, anise, etc.
pipián: stew based on pumpkin seed or colored corn, with chili or achiote; often poured atop beef and poultry
pollo: chicken
potze: in Tabasco, a tamale of meat and rice, wrapped in aromatic leaves of hoja santa
pozole: in north-central Mexico, a stew of pork head, corn, and chili
puchero: meat stew with several vegetables
puchero vaquero: in Yucatán, a stew of beef jerky, pumpkin, squash flowers, and spices
puerco: pig
pulpo: octopus
quesadilla: a taco with cheese and, usually, any combination of a wide variety of other ingredients
queso: cheese
quesillo: melted cheese
ranchera: country style
refrescos: drinks, especially soda drinks
refritos: refried (frijoles refritos = refried beans)
repollo: cabbage
requesón: curd, cottage cheese
relleno: stuffed (chili relleno = stuffed chili pepper)
renacuajo: tadpole or polliwog
res: beef
robalo: sea bass
salbute: small, Yucatán-style taco, basically a panucho, stuffed with meat, fried, and then richly garnished
salchicha: sausage
salsa roja: hot sauce made with red chili peppers
salsa verde: hot sauce made with green chili peppers
sardina: sardine
seca: dry (carne seca = dried meat, jerked beef)
semilla: "seed"; street vendors often sell salted seeds, such as those of calabaza (pumpkin), chilacayote (a squash), and capulín (a kind of cherry)
sesos: brains
sopa: soup, broth
sope: basically a panucho but garnished with ham and cheese.
surtido: an assortment
taco: in its most simple state, a tortilla wrapped around almost any edible ingredient, and fried in considerable oil or grease
tamal: a tamale -- corn past made into a quadrangular bag, usually stuffed with some ingredient such as beans or fried chicken, then wrapped in corn shucks or banana leaves, and steamed
tamal de judas: in Mexico State, during Easter Week, a special bean or pea tamale
tamal nejo: in Morelos and Guerrero, a tamale made of corn paste in which the corn has been softened in a solution of ashes and water, not lime and water
tatema or tatemado: in Sonora, salty, spicy meat wrapped up and prepared like barbecue
: tea
ternera: veal
tiburón: shark
tinga: a spicy stew; one recipe calls for chicken meat or pork, tomato, chili, and the liquor called pulque
tlacoyo: in central Mexico, like a huarache, but usually smaller
tlatlapas: in central Mexico, toasted and crumbled, or ground beans cooked with nopal cactus and herbs, especially epazote
tocino: bacon
tortilla: tortilla -- traditionally made of moist corn paste but nowadays sometimes wheat flour, this most basic of Mexican breads is a pale, white, flat, about 1/16th- inch-thick, circular disk about six inches in diameter, baked without oil
tortuga: turtle
trucha: trout fish
uchepo: in Michoacán, a tamale containing fresh sweet corn
verdolagas: cooked greens of purslane, Portulacca oleracea
xochitl: in Yucatán, caldo xochitl is a chicken soup flavored with avocado
yuca: cassava root, also called manioc and tapioca-plant
yuyo: edible herb

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