Mexico is known for many things from mariachis to mezcal, not to mention the ancient civilizations which resided in the North American country. Beyond all of this however Mexico is known for its cuisine and more importantly for its street food. Whether you find yourself in a pueblito or a major city in Mexico, you can bet your bottom dollar that you are going to have your nostrils filled with the scent of vendors cooking some delicious food from their portable grills and ovens. Mexico City in particular is a paradise of street food and here are some tips on how you can best enjoy it all.
Simply because there are may options for where to eat on the streets of Mexico, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all high quality. Sadly there are some vendors who just don’t make nice snacks and meals and the last thing you want to do is get caught out. A simple trick for going to the very best street vendors is to follow the crowds. Street food is not a tourist attraction, it forms a key part of culture here and locals know the very best places. If you see a crowd, then this is a great sign.
The famed Moctezuma’s Revenge is what often happens to tourists who eat on the street and end up with a few days of their trip stuck in the bathroom. This of course is something you have to avoid and more often than not the issue comes from poor storage of meat at the stands. If you see a crowd then it is likely that they are selling healthy food, if you don’t however then hang around for a little while just to see exactly how that meat is being stored. Always remember that if you are in any doubt at all, it is better to avoid the vendor.
There is an abundance of street food options here and when you are asking you may feel under pressure to order, so you end up ordering something you don’t know about, or sticking to your safe bet. This means you’ll end up with something you don’t like or you will restrict trying new things. My buddy Javier Burillo gave me the best advice here and that was to learn what options there were first, so that you don’t freeze up when it is time to order. Learn what separates your huaraches from your gorditas, and understand what choices you have as to what goes on them.
If you are someone who loves spicy food then this won’t apply to you, to those of you who are in the middle or who don’t, you have to be careful with that salsa. Mostly you will find a red and a green salsa, but there is no rule as to which is hottest, this varies by vendor. Ask them if the sauce is hot before diving in, or have a little dip with your finger, some salsas may very well blow your face off.