Getting ready for your next trip to Mexico City? Is street food on your list to try? Here’s everything you need to know!
Visitors are sometimes surprised when they see all the variety of street food in Mexico, especially in Mexico City. Some people are brave and adventurous and are willing to have a teste of everything. Others would rather watch.
The truth is that even Mexicans don’t eat all the street food around Mexico. For example, I won’t eat sea street food in Mexico City. Personally, I’d rather have fresh seafood in a beautiful beach town. However, there are a few options I’ll eat at least two times per week and I suggest you try them as well during your visit.
But first, I’ll share with you how I choose a street food vendor.
First: How to choose a good street vendor
First, the vendor should be around a clean street with good drainage and no bad smells.
Second, the vendor should always have people around (this means the food will be good!).
Third, if the street food are tacos or quesadillas, ask for hand sanitizer or clean water for washing your hands. If they don’t have either, don’t eat there.
And fourth, always remember to ask ¿Cúanto cuesta? (how much is it?) first. Their prices should never be more than $3 USD.
Once you’ve followed those four steps, you can get eating! Here the best street food to look for in Mexico City:
Papas con limon y chile
Chips with lemon and hot sauce
I love street chips, and luckily, you’ll be able to find them in most parks. My favorite spot is in Coyocan Park.
These chips have a completely different flavor in comparison to commercial bagged ones because they’re made fresh, usually just a few hours before, and have no preservatives. I recommend adding lemon and hot sauce. If you decide not to, you’ll enjoy them, but trust me, it’s so good.
Elotes / Esquites
Corn / corn salad
In my opinion, the best time to eat an elote or esquites is at night because they are served warm. In fact, you will often find the vendors out around 5 or 6pm.
The difference between elotes and esquites is the way they are served. Elote is a whole piece of corn (which can be a little bit messy to eat). Esquites is made by scooping the corn kernels into a takeaway cup.
To get the best Mexican corn, make sure you pick a soft elote (don’t let them give you one that is already out of the pot) and do it full Mexican style with added mayonnaise, crumbly cheese, lime juice, and chili. If you need to skip an ingredient, that’s no problem. I sometimes avoid mayonnaise and it’s still so good.
During the day, you can get the healthiest snack in the street — fresh fruit. There are tons of vendors with fresh fruit cups all over the city and, yes, we Mexicans add chili to mango, cucumber, watermelon, orange, and all sorts of other things.
If you want to try something really Mexican, try a jicama, a golden brown root vegetable with a white interior. The flavor is sweet and juicy, and adding lemon, salt. and chili makes it much better. You can also find vendors who sell fruit on a stick like a lollipop — we call it jicaleta.
I am not a huge fan of sweet desserts, but from time to time I have a craving for churros. Everyone will tell you that the chain dessert store El Moro is the place you have to go — there are a few of them around the city. However, my favorite local vendors are in Coyoacán, where you can buy a churro for $20 Mexican pesos (equal to $1 USD). I particularly like those because you can add an extra flavor like chocolate, strawberry or blackberry marmalade, cream cheese, and even Bailey’s.
Tacos / Quesadillas
The quintessential Mexican street food. For me, the best tacos and quesadillas are the ones you’ll find in the street, not in a restaurant. It’s difficult to tell you which are the most amazing tacos. Personally, my favorite are tacos al pastor, but tacos de suadero, campechanos, carnitas, and mixiote are also spectacular.
Also, don’t forget to try quesadillas de chicharron (pork skin) and tinga (chicken prepared in tomato sauce and chipotle, with some other secret ingredients) — they are so yummy!
Mexico City is full of all kinds of meat tacos and quesadillas, but if you want to avoid meat while you’re here, you can find mushroom, huitlacoche, and squash blossom options.
There are many other street food options around Mexico City, like tamales, burgers (I recommend the Hawaiian burger), pancakes, strawberries with sour cream, raspados (shaved ice), tortas, flautas, and more. I’m sure will love more than one.
I hope you enjoyed this information! Comment on this post the next time you’re in Mexico City and tell me which street foods were your favorite, or maybe we can grab something to eat together.