If you're familiar with chilaquiles, what about cemita poblanas, enmoladas, and posole? If "nada," you're not alone.
Mexican restaurants in the US don't serve many of these regional specialties. However, you should study these classic foods so you know what to order when you visit a real restaurant.
Enmoladas, rolled corn tortillas from Oaxaca, are filled with shredded chicken and cotija cheese, covered in black mole, and topped with sesame seeds and crumbled cheese. Like the enchilada's more complicated relative.
This substantial soup is made with hominy (hulled corn kernels, also known as maize), red chiles, aromatic spices, tomatoes, pork shoulder, shredded cabbage, chopped onions, sliced radishes, and lime, and served with warm corn tortillas. The Aztecs considered maize sacred, therefore posole is reserved for special occasions.
Mexican tortas are usually grilled or pressed but can be eaten cold. The fillings—usually meat and vegetables—vary, but the roll is always a bolillo or telera. Bolillos have a crusty surface, tapering ends, and resemble baguettes, while teleras are softer and rounder.
Chiguacle Sabor Ancestral de Mexico in Los Angeles and La Encantada in Chicago serve chiles en nogada year-round, even though it's normally made in September for Mexican Independence Day. The meal has stuffed poblanos with picadillo, a pork, fruit, and spice mixture, topped with walnut cream sauce and pomegranate seeds.
The heart of Mexican cookery is salsa. Chiltomate, a centuries-old Yucatecan staple, fits that description. The Mayans of the Yucatán Peninsula were the first to make this roasted tomato and chile salsa. Chiltomate is a staple of modern Mayan cuisine due to its simple ingredients, rustic cooking, and sweet-spicy flavor.
Papa tacos are packed corn tortillas with mashed cumin-spiced potatoes and cooked till crispy. They're garnished with crumbled queso fresco, shredded cabbage, salsa verde, sour cream, and pico de gallo in the US and Mexico.
Yucatecans have their own kind of chicken soup, and it's called sopa de lima. Made with chicken, corn tortillas, avocados, habaneros, and lime, it's essentially a large bowl of comfort food.
This Puebla sandwich (southeast of Mexico City) is not a torta. Even the bread is great—a soft, eggy, sesame-studded roll like a brioche bun loaded with meat (beef or breaded and fried pig cutlets), queso blanco, onions, sliced avocado, pápalo (coriander and arugula), chipotle peppers, and salsa roja.