This Delicious Mexico City Street Snack Is Making Its Way North

A tlacoyo made with blue corn masa
A tlacoyo made with blue corn masa | © bionicgrrrl / flickr

NYC Food & Drink Editor

Tlacoyos, bean-filled masa patties typically topped with salsa, cheese, onions, and more, can now be found everywhere from deep-Brooklyn street carts to swanky high-end restaurants.

Food lovers know that Mexican cuisine is white-hot worldwide at the moment. Cosme in NYC joined the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list this year, and good luck trying to get a seat at its more casual sister restaurant, Atla, during prime times. Topolobampo, in Chicago, won this year’s James Beard Award for “Outstanding Restaurant.” Noma chose Tulum as the site of its recent pop-up. And Mexico City and Oaxaca have become dining destinations for self-proclaimed foodies in recent years. So it’s no surprise that even the most obscure of Mexican street foods is starting to pop up on plates in America’s larger cities.
Tlacoyos are a popular antojito (literally, “little craving,” or snack food) in Mexico. They’re oval-shaped corn masa patties, filled with beans (or, occasionally, cheese), and crowned with a variety of toppings—usually cheese, salsa, onions, and some sort of meat; anything else is fair game, too.
A post shared by N.J. Soler (@eatingwithnj) on Jul 3, 2017 at 8:17pm PDT
In Mexico City, you’ll find them being cooked by women alongside the streets, where they’ve set up comales (griddles) over portable stoves. The women form each oval-shaped patty one by one, from a bucket of corn masa (usually you can choose between blue, white, and yellow), and add toppings to order—often a combination of salsa, cheese, and nopales (sliced cactus).
But if you can’t make it to Mexico City, it’s increasingly easy to find tlacoyos north of the border. In New York, you’ll most often catch them in slightly less humble settings. You may have seen them on the menu at the popular Tacos El Chicken food trucks in Kensington and Ditmas Park, or at Rosie’s, or Papatzul, or Fonda, or, the most recent addition, on the breakfast menu at buzzing restaurant Atla, the newest place from chef Enrique Olvera.
Tlacoyos- black bean filled masa, charred poblano rajas, tomatillo salsa, queso. Rainy day, no problem. #masa #snack #appetizers #more
A post shared by Rosie’s Mexican By Marc Meyer (@rosiesnyc) on Apr 26, 2017 at 2:02pm PDT
Elsewhere in the country, you can find them at Casa Verde in Boston’s neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, or at Gracia in Seattle, or plenty of other places across the nation, especially in the Southwest. At Chilam Balam in Chicago, the menu changes frequently, but time your visit right and you might be able to taste the chorizo and green papaya-topped tlacoyos that charmed the Michelin Guide’s inspectors enough to earn the restaurant a spot on the Bib Gourmands list for 2017.
And if you’re like most other people who’ve encountered them on a menu, you probably wondered what the heck a tlacoyo is, and then ordered something else. Bad move; these snacks are too delicious to be ignored. A server at Atla confirmed the other day that the tlacoyos are not a popular order there; diners, it seems, don’t know what the dish is, and stick to more familiar fare. Which is unfortunate, since the tlacoyos are among the very best things on the menu there.
You don’t need to make that mistake, however; go enjoy that bean-stuffed, salsa-topped tastiness. You know better now.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Holiday Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article