There’s no denying that the popularity of Mexican cuisine has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks in no small part to a new generation of boundary-breaking chefs that are spreading the thousand-year-old traditions and complexities of the cuisine to far corners of the world — from the Mexican-American chef Rosio Sánchez, Rene Redzepi’s protégé at Noma who recently branched out with her own spot in Copenhagen; to Enrique Olvera, one of Mexico’s most famous chefs whose restaurants in Mexico City and the US have received critical claim as some of the world’s best. Whereas Mexican food used to be synonymous with frozen margaritas and cheap tacos, the exciting and complex nuances of the country’s culinary traditions have spread and evolved to ignite a global gastronomic movement around the world.

While you can now have great Mexican food in culinary capitals from Europe to Asia, there’s still no beating a trip to the country’s capital, Mexico City, to discover the beating heart of Mexican food, whether you’re devouring al pastor tacos on the side of the street, tucking into spicy mole sauce at a colourful outdoor market, discovering the “Mexican truffle” called huitlacoche, or even dipping into Mexico’s emerging wine scene, which is stepping out from under the shadow of local spirits, tequilas and mezcals.

Jet off to Mexico City aboard Japan’s award-winning airline, ANA.

For Hongkongers, this 19-hour journey used to require a fair bit of pre-planning, with flights including a compulsory layover in Los Angeles or San Francisco. Fortunately for us, Japan’s award-winning airline ANA — consistently rated 5-stars by Skytrax and ATW’s 2018 Airline of the Year — is making that journey a whole lot easier, having recently launched direct flights from Tokyo to Mexico City, thus easing the journey to this dynamic cultural and culinary wonderland.

All travellers can enjoy the award-winning service and comfort aboard the Boeing 787-8 aircraft, with each seat including a universal power port, USB port, and touch-panel TV screen stocked with the latest movies and video programmes. Premium Economy travellers will also get access to the ANA Lounge, enjoy a selection of fine Western and Asian dishes in-flight, and relax in the lazy boy-style chairs complete with reclining functions, leg rest and foot rest.

With a good night’s rest, you’ll be able to hit the ground running as soon as you touch down in the culinary mecca. Here are six stand-out restaurants that should serve as your first introduction to exploring Mexico City’s vibrant dining scene.

For more information on Hong Kong to Mexico City flight times and departures, visit ANA’s website here