Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Eating Customs in Mexico


Eating in Mexico is definitely inspired by Spanish customs, in terms of time. Mexico is a big country, so the food you eat and the customs can vary depending what region you are in.

Breakfast, or “El desayuno,” is served between 7:00 AM-10:00 PM. Some Mexicans choose to eat during breakfast, while others just enjoy a cup of coffee. It depends on the person. A more complex breakfast could be something like “huevos rancheros,” which is fried eggs on a tortilla, with some salsa, corn and onions. Some lighter choices include things like fruit, toast, yogurt and pastries.

Lunch, or “La comida,” is served between 1:00-4:30 PM, and it’s the largest, most important meal of the day. Mexicans spend a lot of time relaxing at lunch, and like to take their time chatting before, during and after the food being served. You will generally eat an appetizer before the main course, like soup or salad. Then the main course will usually be something with seafood, chicken or meat, perhaps with rice and beans. Hot tortillas are served with lunch.

In more rural places, people do not eat as much meat, but more rice, beans, corn and corn products, like tamales. Sometimes, in the countryside, people have it set up where all of their food is in a single pantry house separate from the sleeping arrangements.


Dinner, or “La cena,” is served between 8:00-9:00 PM. It is a light meal that can be something like soup or tacos.

When you are eating at a table, it is proper to keep your hands visible, rather than under that table. Sometimes it’s a good idea to keep your wrists wresting on the edge. If you are invited to someone’s home in Mexico, you should show up later than the given time, like 30 minutes. Many find it rude to show up early. Wait to be seated, and wait for the hostess to begin eating. It’s polite to leave a little food on your plate after the meal, so you don’t have to finish everything. Only men toast in Mexico. When you are done with your meal, it is customary to put the fork and knife across your plate, handles facing right, fork prongs facing the plate.

When you eat out at a restaurant, they will automatically leave on a 15% tax on the checks. However, the tip is not included, and you’re expected to leave one. Generally, 15% is a good amount to leave for your waiter.


4 thoughts on “Eating Customs in Mexico

  1. I get asked to give people tips on the proper etiquette for dining in Mexico and I appreciate the information you have given. I recently found out it is rude if you don’t hand your charge card to the cashier or waiter, Never just toss on the counter.

  2. i second the comment about men being the only ones to make toasts…. that is both incredibly incorrect, and a bit insulting.

  3. For dinner its not all ways about soup and tacos. we can also have enchilladas, gorditas,tortas,caldo, and even much more.

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