Fiery, flavourful, fabulous: Mexican cuisine guarantees non-stop excitement for your taste-buds. Our California correspondent Kristen Cashman has picked her favourites from the region’s cornucopia of culinary delights – you could try these too.

Guacamole and tortilla chips

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A scrumptious mash-up of avocados, sea salt, tomatoes, onions, lime juice, and cilantro, guacamole is most commonly served with tortilla chips. Tortillas — flat, disc-shaped breads made from corn or sometimes flour —form a mainstay of the Mexican diet. When deep-fried, they become a crispy vehicle for dips and salsas.

Fish tacos

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Top a tortilla with deep-fried or grilled catch of the day, pile on some condiments, fold it in half, and voilà! The condiments include shredded cabbage or lettuce, lime juice, diced onions, and a variety of sauces — known as salsas — of chiles, tomatoes, tomatillos, avocados, sour cream and/or mayonnaise.

Mole

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With dozens of regional varieties, mole is considered a national treasure. This rich, complex sauce of chile peppers and spices can contain up to 30 ingredients, including chocolate, and it takes a whole day to prepare by hand. Usually topping poultry or pork, mole has a deep flavour that enlivens any meal.

Huevos rancheros

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This breakfast masterpiece consists of fried corn tortillas topped with fried eggs and a salsa of tomatoes and chiles. When pierced, the runny yolks ooze into a sublime union with the refried (that is, cooked and mashed) pinto beans and rice that fill the rest of the plate.

Nopales

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As you survey the Mexican desert, it’s hard to imagine eating a prickly pear cactus, but when peeled and de-spined, the plant becomes a unique delicacy. Commonly served in salads or with eggs or meat, nopales have a tart flavor and a texture reminiscent of grilled bell peppers or overcooked green beans.

The article was published in Travel Secrets magazine's July - August 2013 issue. 
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