​Crowd Pleasing Dishes for Cinco de Mayo Celebrations

In America, Cinco de Mayo has a lot in common with St. Patrick’s Day. Both holidays are rooted in authentic celebrations of ethnic and cultural heritage. People of all cultural backgrounds have embraced both occasions with open arms over the years, turning them into mainstream celebrations with the ability to appeal to everyone.

Of course, no true celebration of any kind would be complete without a menu full of occasion-appropriate foods. This Cinco de Mayo, honor Mexico’s victory at the Battle of Puebla and forgo the typical frozen margaritas or ground beef tacos, neither of which you’d find on an authentic Puebla table. Try one of the following guaranteed crowd-pleasers, instead. They’re not just delicious and festive, but each respectfully honors the spirit of the occasion.
  1. Chalupas

When it comes to truly iconic street food, it doesn’t get much better than a chalupa. Chalupas are similar to tostadas or nachos in that they’re tortilla based. However, they’re far more authentic while remaining just as satisfying to a hungry crowd. Simply fry a thick corn tortilla and then top it with slow-cooked shredded meat, fresh salsa, and—if you like—queso fresco.

Although no one is exactly sure who invented chalupas, the dish dates back to Colonial times. Spanish women in the area spent quite a lot of time washing their clothing by the river and carried the clothes in large, wooden baskets called chalupas. Upon rushing home, they’d fry up corn tortillas and top them with salsa and shredded meat—the perfect dinner after a long, hard day.

  1. Mole Poblano

In most American homes, the only mole anyone’s familiar with is guacamole. However, authentic mole poblano is perhaps the most iconic and popular dish to serve for Cinco de Mayo. For those not in the know, mole is simply a sauce made from various ground-up ingredients. It can be just about any color or consistency, depending on the ingredients, but it is the rich and dark mole poblano that’s made the biggest impression on the food world.

According to legend, the very first mole poblano came to be in the Puebla convent of Santa Rosa. A nun named Sor Andrea de la Asuncion invented it and prepared it for the viceroy of Spain himself. True mole perfectly marries old and new traditions with a long list of ingredients, many of which must be roasted or toasted to bring out their flavor. In other words, a really good mole poblano requires a little work and a lot of love, but it’s well worthwhile.

Serve your mole over rice, meat, or enchiladas for a tasty treat your guests won’t soon forget. Alternatively, you can simply let your mole shine by serving it alongside fresh tortillas.

  1. Chiles en Nogada

Another well-loved and authentic dish of Mexico, chiles en nogada also owes its invention to a convent. This time, it was the convent of Santa Monica in conjunction with Agustin de Iturbide’s 1821 visit to Puebla. After Mexico won back its independence from Spain, de Iturbide became the first emperor. It’s said that he enjoyed chiles en nogada on his way back to Mexico City after signing the Treaty of Cordoba.

That said, it’s not hard to see why the dish is so strongly linked to Mexico’s independence and unique culture. It even resembles the Mexican flag with its red, green, and white color scheme! Stuff poblano peppers with savory picadillo, dip them in egg batter, and fry them to a perfect golden brown. Top them with walnut sauce, parsley, and pomegranate seeds to finish.
  1. Other Dishes and Options

Not sure authentic Puebla cuisine is right for you or your guests? Looking for more options capable of feeding a hungry crowd? You can also serve any one of the following dishes. Remember to keep it authentic.
  • Tamales
  • Pan dulce
  • Chile Rellenos
  • Flautas

Round out your menu with crowd-pleasing staples like homemade corn chips, shrimp ceviche, homemade guacamole, refried beans, and fresh salsa.

You can honor the spirit of Mexico even further when you read up on Mexican-American history. Learn about the influence of Mexican culture on your region, explore the backstories of Mexican communities across the country, and get even more ideas for celebrating Cinco de Mayo authentically and respectfully. Explore the possibilities today!