If you’re one of those, whose idea of Mexican food revolves around Tex Mex, the American butchered interpretation of Mexican cuisine, then I guess a lesson on Mexican street food is what you need at the moment. One of the most exciting cultures in the world, Mexico never fails to surprise you. Street food is a way of life in Mexico city. From dawn to dusk, thousands stalls and carts across the sprawling city are busy feeding the demanding crowds. Cheap, authentic and tasty, Mexican street food has a lot to offer other nachos, fajitas and burritos. Just the sheer variety is enough to drive any foodie crazy. With plenty of options to choose from, the gastronomic landscape will invade your senses and satiate your appetite. Here’s a little cheat sheet on what not to miss out on while navigating through the Mexican capital.
Well, breakfast couldn’t get any better. More commonly a savoury dish, tamales are the ultimate comfort food. It consists of masa, a dough made from corn is wrapped meat and vegetables and packaged in banana leaf or corn husk. The dessert variation is stuffed with dry fruit and sweetened by adding sugar to the dough. With a recipe that has been passed from generation to generation, tamales can be found everywhere in Mexico but there are slight variations in the recipe according to the region. The most popular versions are the ones stuffed with pork and chicken with an accompaniment of salsa or mole sauce. But tamales do come with their own terms and conditions. Well, to be honest, there’s only one prerequisite. Since the best ones are usually gone by 10AM, you need to be up early. But if being an early riser can get you freshly steamed tamales then it isn’t a bad deal after all.
The fatty greasy Gorditas are the most satisfying street snack in Mexico city. Well, what else do you expect from a dish that literally translates to ‘little fatty’. The golden chewy stuffed masa is truly a messy beauty. Stuffed with chicharron, beans, cheese and meat and topped with salsa and cream, corn dough disks are fried up, sliced up and stuffed with the filling. Quite similar to sopes, the only difference is that the toppings in the latter actually go on the top instead of being stuffed inside the dough.
The quintessential Mexican street food, you must have had several variations of tacos. Made of corn tortillas, they are topped with tender meat and salsa of choice. Mexican street food is still known to strike fear in the hearts of many. Well, we’d like to believe that tacos are an exception. You can either go for the spicy option or stick to the smooth guacamole. A cilantro and diced onions and you’ve got yourself a complete meal.
We can go on and on about empanadas. Apt for breakfast, lunch and dinner, empanadas make for a full and satisfying meal. With a scrumptious filling inside a flour dough casing, which is then deep fried, empanadas might look like Indian gujiyas. But that’s where all the similarities come to an end. Usually filled with savoury fillings like minced meat or fish, empanadas contrary to popular belief can be had as dessert too. Just add a fruit filling and top it with powdered sugar, and empanadas can satiate all your sugar cravings. Served with a variety of dipping sauces, empanadas just upgrade your meal game.
The classic grilled corn cob topped with chilli powder are a true staple of Mexican street food. When in Mexico city, one can find an elote vendor at every nook and corner. Grilled elotes with a flavour of smoke and lime, are nothing less than an explosion in your mouth. While the traditional variation is generally lathered in butter one can use seasonal vegetables like carrots and kale as toppings. But you’ve got to agree, it’s the buttery flavour coupled with a dash of fresh lime that makes elotes completely irresistible.
If you thought Mexican street food was synonymous with spicy and tangy flavours, think again. While exploring the streets of Mexico City, you might encounter elote vendors and taco stalls at every corner, but churros are Mexico’s hidden gem. However the origins of this street snack are quite debatable. While Mexicans believe that it’s their creation, the Spaniards have the contrary opinion. Regardless of where it was created, it’s still the most popular snack around the globe. Well, let’s not get into these complexities of its origins. For us this freshly fried goodness, covered in cinnamon sugar, chocolate syrup and dulce de leche is nothing short of a guilty pleasure. With each region boasting of its own signature recipe, the flavour of churros is enhanced by its exotic feeling.
If there’s one thing that we envy Latinos for it’s Tostilocos. This bizarre concoction is sure to drive you loco! This snack will probably completely transform the way you eat chips. Served in a bag of Tostitos, it is topped with cucumber, lime juice, chamoy and is served with hot sauce, tamarind candy. Well, mind you the spice is not for the faint-hearted. There’s a reason why the snack is called ‘crazy chips’ in Spanish.
We can’t stop drooling. What about you?