Chilaquiles: Mexico City’s Favorite Hangover (and Breakfast) Food

There’s Mexican food, and there’s Mexican food in Mexico City. Trust us, those two aren’t always the same thing. The D.F., as Mexico City is known, is a culinary wonderland of exotic flavors, ingredients and dishes. Many recipes have been handed down from the Aztecs, while others incorporate cultures and peoples who settled in the country at one time or another. Today, we’re saying good morning to chilaquiles!

Chilaquiles is one of the most popular and iconic breakfast foods in Mexico City. At restaurants all across the D.F., you’ll find this humble and addicting dish of leftover, fried tortilla triangles, salsa, crema fresca and crumbled queso fresco or cotija. For most Mexicans, it beats any bowl of cereal!

They also happen to one of Mexico’s go-to post-hangover foods. There’s just something about this dish that revives you and puts you back on your feet, so after a particularly long night of bar-hopping or partying, you’ll find many Chilangos (Mexico City locals) hunched over a heaping plate of their favorite remedy.

Stuck In A Chile

What does “chilaquiles” mean? We’ve heard two origin stories. According to some experts, the name comes from the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs and is derived from the nahuatl words chi-l (“chile”) and aqui-lli, which means “being stuck in” or “being placed in.” Others say it’s nahuatl for chile, atl (agua), and quilitl, an herb. Thus, the name would translate as “chiles in water and herbs.” Either version works!

There’s no one way to make chilaquiles. They can be served plain or with your choice of protein or vegetables. Perhaps the favorite topping is eggs, either fried or scrambled. They are also typically drenched in either a tomatillo-based green sauce or a red sauce. Our intrepid reporter Andrea Eraso has her own favorite version: chilaquiles divorciados, named for the use of both sauces split evenly down the middle.

Join Andrea as she travels the streets of the D.F. in search for her favorite breakfast chilaquiles!

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