Tamaulipas Culinary Route in the Northeast of Mexico

This tourist route connects Tampico, Villamar, and Laguna Madre to the capital of Tamaulipas, Ciudad Victoria, which has two tourist centers located on the outskirts of the city, both of which are purely natural.

Tamaulipas Culinary Route in the Northeast of Mexico
A man on the horse is seen in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico. Photo by Luis Hinojosa / Unsplash

Welcome to Tamaulipas! The Gastronomic Route "From the Sea to the Lagoon" joins the municipalities of Tampico, Villamar, and Laguna Madre to the capital of Tamaulipas, Ciudad Victoria, which has two tourist centers, located on the outskirts of the city, purely natural and national importance: Cañón del Novillo and Los Troncones. In addition, the Sierra Madre Oriental offers other wild sites for rest and recreation.

In the city, you can appreciate architectural and historical monuments, as well as beautiful plazas, the Tamatan Park, and the Lienzo Charro. Tamaulipas is the region that sleeps peacefully on the banks of the Laguna Madre. In its rich, abundant, and varied gastronomy, seafood is a legacy and meat is a tradition.

Tamaulipas cuisine often brings together in a single dish the aromas of the sea and the tropics, combining the acuyo, avocado, parsley, and cilantro with shrimp, which is just a sample of good eating in northeastern Mexico. The art of cooking is one of the qualities of the people of Tamaulipas. Its magical towns like Mier and Tula will captivate us with the beauty that adorns its streets, where folklore and gastronomy of this beautiful state coexist.

Tamaulipas is located in the northeastern region of Mexico. Its extension is 79 thousand 384 km2. The climate is a minimum of 10° C, a maximum of 23° C. Population in Tamaulipas is 3.528 million inhabitants.

Gastronomic resources


This product has passed from domestic kitchens to industrial food plants, and thus more and more frequently forms part of the formulation of new products for industrial and common use, perpetuating the millenary friendship between man and peanut. Its oily fruits are used in various preparations and occupy a prominent position in the gastronomy and traditions of Mexico.


The banana is considered one of the most important crops. Its production occupies the first place in the group of tropical fruits and is fundamental in the Mexican diet due to its low price, availability all year round, the multiple culinary combinations it accepts, the feeling of satiety it produces, and its nutritional value in potassium, iron and vitamin K. In the kitchen, due to its delicious flavor, it is an accompaniment to various desserts and main dishes.


The onion is the purplish yellow-red bulb-shaped subway part of a small plant, whose round green branches are hollow inside. White onions are harvested at the end of spring and colored onions are harvested at the end of summer. Tamaulipas production supplies the entire nation.


Tilapia, also known as mojarra, is part of a group of fish of African origin belonging to the genus Oreochromis, which mainly inhabits tropical regions of the world, where conditions are favorable for its reproduction and growth.

Typical dishes and drinks in Tamaulipas


Semi-fried tortillas wrapped and stuffed with cheese and chicken and dipped in red or green pipian and served with cecina and beans. They are a typical regional dish of Tampico.


Corn gorditas fried in lard and then opened to be stuffed with meat, cheese, chicharrón, or different stews; they are commonly eaten as lunch or at dinner time.

Stuffed crabs

Crabs are crustaceans that live in shallow waters and sometimes bury themselves on the seafloor. They use their claws or chelipeds to eat and break snails and other small invertebrates, with the other legs they throw the pieces into their mouths. They are used in many preparations with different types of accompaniments. Its flavor is very mild, so it goes well with any food with which it is combined. The classic local recipe consists of stuffing the crab shell with its own clean and seasoned meat and preparing it in the oven.

Shrimp Huatepe

A stew made with various condiments and spices that is thickened with corn dough, which gives it body. The flavor is given by the seafood that accompanies it and gives it a unique aroma.


Wheat flour bread with piloncillo. Its name is a deformation of gingerbread, the gingerbread brought by the English who came to exploit the oil industry. Today ginger is no longer used; the pieces are rectangular or in the shape of a piglet, with a dark, slightly spongy dough.

Tortas de la barda

This cake originated in Tampico and it is said that its creator was Mr. José María Bracamontes, who sold sardine cakes with pico de gallo sauce in the center of the city, mainly to the workers of the docks or "alijadores", so he gave the cakes that name. Later, his sons Francisco and René continued selling the tortas next to the fence that limited the railroad yards, the docks, and the port Customs, from where they finally got the name they are known by today.


This is a very traditional and simple but very tasty sweet: popcorn is made and then honey is prepared with piloncillo, which should be very thick but should not "stick", that is, it should not harden or break. This honey is poured over the popcorn, from which fists are taken to form balls that barely fit in the hands, trying to squeeze a little so that the popcorn sticks to each other.

Huapilla (drink)

The huapilla is a plant similar to the maguey but a little smaller; water is extracted from its fruit, which is cream-colored and ball-shaped and is combined with pineapple peels, peppers, and cloves, among other ingredients.


It is made with offal such as beef or veal tripe, garlic, onion, cooked ham, chorizo, chickpeas, lard, roasted tomatoes, ancho chiles, vinegar, and cumin combined to obtain a stew that can be served as a main dish.

Beef in Tampico style

The dish has a symbolic meaning: the cut of the beef resembles the Pánuco River crossing Tamaulipas, it is accompanied by a garnish of refried black beans that represent the state's oil boom, and the flora and fauna are represented by a side dish of guacamole and chilaquiles. The grilled white cheese is an attribute that recalls the purity of the people of Tamaulipas and the spicy touch gives its place to Mexican cuisine.

Tamaulipas Tourist Activities

Tampico's tourist attractions include the Historic Center. Places to visit in Tampico are the Plaza de la Libertad, Pirámide de las Flores, Plaza de Armas, Carpintero Lagoon, Customs House, Tampico Cathedral, Metropolitan Park, and Waterfront. Playa Miramar is 4 km (2,5 mi) from downtown Tampico. A typical festival is the International Autumn Festival in October.

In Altamira try a raft trip on the lagoon. Madero has a Historic Center and the Old Customs House.  Freshwater sport fishing awaits you in Laguna Madre. Tula offers an Artisan Center. In Ciudad Victoria you should visit Siglo XX Recreational Cultural Park, El Chorrito, and the Planetarium.

During the tour through the state of Tamaulipas, you will have the opportunity to listen to the legend of carne a la tampiqueña, while this exquisite dish is prepared for you at the Fundadores de Loredo restaurant. Meanwhile, at the pier of El Rey Mar a boat trip awaits you where you will be taken to sail the seas to catch your fish and have them prepared in the kitchen of this delicious restaurant.

You can't miss the famous "tortas de la barda" next to Tampico's Customs House; we recommend Yoya's. In the center of Ciudad Madero, you can visit the main square with an air of the Porfirian era, influenced by French aesthetics. It is also essential to see the old Customs House, the Municipal Palace, and the House of Culture.

If experience is your thing, you have the opportunity to practice sport fishing in both fresh and saltwater. The former is done in the numerous dams of the state such as the Vicente Guerrero, the Emilio Portes Gil, the Ramiro Caballero, the Real de Borbón, the Pedro J. Méndez, and the República Española among others. The 420 km of coastline that delimits the border to the east of Tamaulipas offers the opportunity to practice marlin and tarpon fishing as well.

Also, as the Museum of Huasteca Culture and the Regional Museum of Aldama in Tampico. Municipal Museum of History and Archeology in Gonzalez. Casa Mata Museum of Regional History and Museum of Contemporary Art of Tamaulipas in Matamoros. Regional Museum of History of Tamaulipas and Museum of Natural History of Tamaulipas in Ciudad Victoria.

Gastronomic activities

Gastronomic activities in Tampico are Fundadores de Loredo Altamira and fishing and seafood consumption. In Madero eat at Rey Mar and Tortas de la Barda. In Laguna Madre, fishing and food preparation from the lagoon awaits you. In Tula it is advisable to visit Tequilera El Chinaco.


Because it borders the Gulf of Mexico, Tamaulipas has numerous rivers, dams, and lagoons where a great number of species can be fished, such as tarpon, marlin, snook, bass, wahoo, wahoo, jacks, and skipjack. Among the main dams in the region are El Sombrerito in the municipality of Aldama, Emilio Portes Gil, located in the municipalities of González and Xicoténcatl, and Ramiro Caballero. There are also campsites on the banks of the Tigre River in Barra del Tordo, and all the dams have boat ramps and bait for sale by the inhabitants of the nearby towns. In the metropolitan area of Tampico, Madero, and Altamira, sport fishing is a traditional activity.

El Chinaco Tequila

Founded in 1972, Tequilera El Chinaco is a producer that enjoys international recognition and awards. It offers a 100% agave and double distilled liquor that has an exceptionally smooth and legendary flavor. Tour of the company and tasting where you will appreciate the distillation process of this beverage with Denomination of Origin.

Rey Mar

Near Tampico's Old Customs House is the Rey Mar restaurant, which in addition to a wide and rich gastronomic offer, promotes boat tours to observe the fishing process and has freezing systems for fish and seafood. Tourists can board the boat to witness the capture of seafood and how it is processed so that it is ready for sale and consumption.

Fundadores de Loredo

Specialty cuisine in downtown Tampico with a wide menu of dishes that will undoubtedly delight the palate of every diner. You will learn about the history of this beautiful state through its famous Tampico-style meat in the Tampico-style meat preparation workshop and learn about its legend, origin, and meaning.

Services offered

Premium hotels in Tampico are Fiesta Inn and Hotel Inglaterra. Family hotels in Tampico are Tampico Inn, Hotel Rio Vista Inn, and Club Maeva Miramar. Premium restaurants in Tampico are El Porvenir, Fundadores de Loredo, and Jardín Corona. Family restaurants in Tampico are El Lindero, La Tripa, Antojitos "Los Magueyes", Rey Mar, Tortas de la Barda "Yoya", Elite Restaurantes y Helados, and El Itacate.

Restaurants in González include El Pastor, Jacks, El Globito, El 7 Mares, and La Jirafa. Hotels with restaurant and other attractions in Gómez Farías are Hotel Casa de Piedra and Hotel El Palmar. Restaurants in Tula include Restaurante Cuitzios, Restaurante Méson del Mollinedo, Restaurante La Pesca, Restaurante El Tulteco, Restaurante Las Parrillas, and Restaurante Los Generales.

Restaurants in Ciudad Victoria include Las Viandas, Don Quijote, Las Enramadas, La Norteñita, Plaza Gallo, and Los Bigos. Hotels in Ciudad Victoria include Hotel Panorámico, Sierra Gorda, La Villa, Fiesta Plaza, Hotel Royal, Victoria Inn Express, and Hotel Scala.