I was standing in the park in front of La Ciudadela Market in Mexico City the first time I ate finger-sized slivers of fresh coconut squeezed with lime and dusted with chile. I hadn’t asked for the snack– it was given to me by a vendor with some surplus inventory as she was winding down her sales for the day– I wouldn’t have even thought of it.

It was a serious culinary a-ha moment: Chile is not simply for savory foods.

Since then, I’ve been keeping a running photographic record of all the Mexican food I’ve seen (and eaten) that’s “enchilada’d.” From candied pineapple and mango dipped in chile powder to potato chips doused with hot sauce and margaritas served in chile-sugar rimmed glasses, I’ve documented many–but still not all– of the ways chiles star in Mexican dishes.

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9 ways to enjoy hot chiles in Mexico

Often served in a plastic bag and doused with a liberal squirt of hot sauce, this was the first time I'd seen potato chips served on a stick with a ribbon of hot sauce, a presentation that was a bit too artisanal for my taste.

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9 ways to enjoy hot chiles in Mexico

Don't let the diminutive size of this shrimp caldo (soup), served as a shooter, deceive you. This daintily sized shot glass packs a serious punch.

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9 ways to enjoy hot chiles in Mexico

A good number of my photos were taken at Xochimilco, often referred to as Mexico's Venice because of its system of canals. As you float down a canal in a trajinera boat, vendors glide past, offering corn with chile and cheese...

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9 ways to enjoy hot chiles in Mexico

chayote (pear vegetable) with a dusting of chile powder...

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9 ways to enjoy hot chiles in Mexico

candied apples (with or without chile)...

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9 ways to enjoy hot chiles in Mexico

and micheladas to wash it all down. Matador's Sarah Menkedick describes a michelada as, "A squint-and-tear-inducing combo of chile sauces mixed with beer."

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9 ways to enjoy hot chiles in Mexico

If it's a fruit and it can be dried (as in these mango strips), then it can certainly be enchilada'd.

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9 ways to enjoy hot chiles in Mexico

Chiles work their way into any number of Mexican cocktails, both classic and contemporary; this mango margarita is just one delicious example.

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9 ways to enjoy hot chiles in Mexico

But so far, my favorite food where sweet meets spicy is this nieve, a shaved ice doused with, you guessed it, dribbles of hot sauce.

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