Everything You Need to Know About Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo is a Spanish term that literally means “beak of the rooster.” The dish, however, has nothing to do with roosters or any other bird. It’s a Mexican dip that is popular with nachos, tacos, or quesadillas. You can eat it alone or as a topping for another dish. It also pairs well with Hispanic dishes because of its thicker consistency and similar flavor. 

Whether you’re a fan or have yet to try it, read on to learn all about this Mexican staple!

Salsa vs. Pico de Gallo

Snacking tortilla chips with a bowl of salsa or Pico de Gallo is a memorably delicious combination. Salsa, the Spanish word for sauce, refers to both cooked or fresh mixtures, which gives them an open-ended definition. However, most salsas are cooked, which gives them a more savory tomato flavor you won’t find in the always-fresh Pico de Gallo.

Pico de Gallo is a traditional Latin American dish that is a staple in Latin restaurants and homes worldwide. It comes from a rich cultural and culinary history. Pico de Gallo, or salsa fresco, is a fresh, uncooked version of salsa. It’s a mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, fresh chilies, lime juice, and salt. Unlike salsa that can take on many variations, Pico de Gallo has the same ingredients and cooking style and is always fresh.

Although these two Mexican dips have a lot in common, here are two things that set them apart:

Texture and freshness: Most ingredients for salsa and Pico de Gallo are nearly identical. It’s the texture of cooked or uncooked ingredients which sets these condiments apart.

Consistency: Traditional salsa has a thinner consistency with more liquid, whereas Pico de Gallo is chunky as it has a lot of chopped ingredients which are distinctly visible.

The easiest recipe

It’s one of the healthiest additions to any authentic Latin American cuisine and adds flavor to other foods as well. There are many recipes, but an authentic Pico de Gallo must have:

  • Chopped onions
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeños
  • Salt
  • Lime Juice
  • Seasoning like chili powder

The tomatoes are always the base, and you must use them in quantities four times as much as the other ingredients. If you are going to pair this dip with spicy Mexican food, use more jalapeños and seasoning. It’s an excellent strategy to add a little at a time and taste after each addition, so you can achieve a spiciness level that matches your taste buds.


You can chop the vegetables into smaller chunks or larger chunks, change the quantity of any ingredient, or add modern ingredients that don’t traditionally go in Pico de Gallo. 

Here are some contemporary Pico de Gallo ideas:

  • Without garlic and onions: You can use the green part of scallions to get the delicious onion taste and garlic-infused olive oil to toss the salsa.
  • Mild Pico de Gallo: Bell peppers or serrano instead of jalapeños. You can also switch to tricolored sweet peppers to add color and sweetness. 
  • Mango Pico de Gallo: A fruity version with mango, tomatoes, red onions, lime juice, and cilantro. 

About Surf N Turf Tacos

If you want to try healthy Mexican food in Honolulu, order from Surf N Turf Tacos. We serve mouthwatering and healthy Hawaiian/Mexican food in Honolulu. We also offer a wide selection of dishes made from fresh, locally sourced produce. Our restaurant is in the heart of Waikiki. You can call us at 808.922.8226 or drop an email at  info@surfnturftacos.com to know more.

1 1 vote
Article Rating

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x