When you think of Mexican food, which proteins come to mind first? You may think of beef, chicken, or maybe carnitas — a flavorful, shredded pork. But Mexico does have a long coastline, and as such, seafood and fish are quite common in the cuisine, too. Here are some fish dishes to consider ordering if you see them on the menu at a Mexican restaurant.

Dzik de Pescado

This dish usually shows up as an appetizer on the menu, but you can certainly order it as an entree if you desire something light and fresh. Dzik de pescado consists of diced white fish that has been seasoned with chili peppers, orange and lemon juice, and various spices. The dish also contains radishes and onions. You might describe this dish as a fish salad. It's very refreshing and flavorful, and certainly, a healthier choice than something cheesy fried.

Huachinango a la Veracruzana

If you like tomatoes and tomato sauce, this is a great dish to try. It's a filling lunch or dinner option, too. The dish starts with a red snapper, which is usually roasted and served whole on the plate. Then, the fish is topped with a red tomato sauce. This may look like an Italian tomato sauce, but it tastes very different because it has been seasoned with lots of peppers, coriander, and other Mexican spices. Huachinango a la Veracruzana is usually served with a side of rice, which is delicious when dipped in any extra sauce.

Pescado Zarandeado

This is a fish dish that really makes a statement. Any medium-sized fish — but usually a red snapper — is halved, flattened, and cooked over a hot charcoal grill, using a brick to keep it flat. The fish develops a crust on its outside and a wonderful smoky flavor. Some restaurants season the fish with a blend of spices and chilis, and others use a more traditional mixture of salt and garlic. Pescado zarandeado looks amazing on a plate, especially when garnished with marinated peppers and slices of lime, as is common.

If you love fish, then Mexican cuisine is a great option. The fish dishes above are all unique and delicious, and there is something for every appetite. These dishes are quite different from the typical tacos and burritos people think of when it comes to Mexican food, which allows you to experience the breadth of the cuisine.