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How Delicious Food Can Help You Learn Spanish

June 10, 2021

It’s no secret that the best way to learn a new language is by immersing yourself in the culture and spending time with people who speak it. There are many reasons to choose Mexico as the country to perfect your español, but the most convincing one? The food.

Chile Pasado

Mexico is a foodie’s paradise.

Pozole. Tequila. Tacos al Pastor. Churros. Tostados. Foods ranging from sweet and decadent to spicy and acidic, Mexico really has it all. On top of the variety available, food in Mexico is generally affordable, and so you can really go all out and try everything!

Of course, eating out when abroad can also help you practice your Spanish language skills!

So, while you’re eating your way through Mexico, keep in mind the following tips on how to maximize the experience of eating out to practice your Spanish.

Study and practice vocabulary of typical foods

Mexico is a large country, and each region has their own regional dishes, so do some research about common or traditional food in the area you are staying in. Not only will this help develop vocabulary and pronunciation, but helps you order something new off the menu!

Here are some common Mexican foods to add to your vocabulary (and your must-try list!):


  • Tortillas – made with either corn or flour, these are the perfect vehicle for all the delicious flavours Mexico has to offer.

  • Mole – a generic term that refers to a sauce that is served with many meals. It is made of fruit, chiles, spices, and sometimes even with dark chocolate!

  • Tamales – this staple Mexican food is made from corn-based dough and stuffed with a variety of fillings. They are cooked through a steaming process and served wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves.

  • Carne Adobada – this term refers to marinated meat, often pork, and is so flavourful and delicious!

  • Sopa Azteca – this tomato soup is topped with fried tortilla strips and sometimes referred to as “tortilla soup.”

  • Chilaquiles – this is a traditional breakfast food with corn tortillas, salsa, scrambled eggs, beans (frijoles) and cheese. It is decadent and rich and the perfect start to your day!

This just scratches the surface of amazing food to try in Mexico!

Practice common phrases so you can order in Spanish

Sure, you can always just point to something on the menu at random, but isn’t actually ordering it in Spanish even better? That’s why we recommend going through a typical ordering scenario and practice common phrases in Spanish. Some of these phrases might include:

  • ¿Cuál es el especial del día?

    What is the special of the day?

  • ¿Cuál es el especial del día?

    What is the special of the day?

  • Me gustaría ordenar ___.

    I would like to order ___.

  • ¿Puedo tener un poco de agua por favor?

    Can I have some water, please?

  • ¿Podemos tener el cheque?

    Can we have the bill?

  • ¿Que hay en este plato?

    What is in this dish?

Just like learning new vocabulary, it’s important to practice these phrases out loud to ensure you are pronouncing them correctly. If you don’t have someone to practice with, the Belatone App will connect you with a native Spanish speaker 24/7 in real time, so you can partner with someone to role play with and practice these phrases.

It can be a little nerve-wracking trying to order in a new language, but it’s a great opportunity to practice. The server will appreciate your effort and you will be rewarded with some delicious food!

Visit small establishments and food carts to connect with locals

Corn on the Cob

If you want to go a step further then basic vocabulary and phrases to order, visit a food cart or small family establishment. It's the perfect opportunity to practice some of your conversational Spanish in an informal environment. Here are some ways to make the most of it:

  • Make friendly conversation with the owners and inquire about where they are from, if they live in the city, and how their day is going.
  • There are likely to be other customers waiting for their food near you, so strike up some small talk in this relaxed, informal environment.
  • Grab your food and go sit in the city square. There, you can sit and listen to people around you and pick up on the informal and casual language.

Make sure to try elote (corn on the cob), which is available on every street corner or town square in Mexico. It’s usually boiled and covered in salt, chili powder, lime, cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream. It’s served on a stick to eat and so, so good!

Ready, Set, Eat!

There is so much delicious and flavourful food to try in Mexico, and you are guaranteed to spend a lot of your time immersed in the food culture there. So, why not turn it into an opportunity to practice Spanish! We hope these tips are helpful so you can practice and perfect your Spanish while eating your way through Mexico.

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