|Ready to devour the tacos al pastor at El Huequito|
What a shame.
I cannot imagine walking by all of the glorious stands filled with beautiful tacos, papas, tortas, tlacoyos, and more - and not ever tasting one single thing. And I don't think you can get a true culinary picture of the city and its vibrant culture without experiencing the joys of street eating. Now, I am not suggesting that you eat anything you please, from any stand that strikes your fancy. Just like anywhere else, in Mexico City most food providers adhere to acceptable or even exemplary standards of hygiene, while a minority of others most definitely do not.
Some of it comes down to research. Nicholas Gilman's book, Good Food in Mexico City, as well as his blog of the same name, are fabulous resources to the street foods (and restaurants of all types) of the city. You also need to exercise common sense. Before chowing down, ask yourself: Does the place look clean? Good. Is it busy? Great - locals know a good thing, and that means there's a lot of turnover on the food. Is the person who is cooking the food also handling the money? Not so good - best to move on. I also read somewhere that squeezing liberal amounts of lime on everything can help keep stomach upset at bay. No problem, as lime accompanies just about everything, and is muy rico!
But know that no matter how much due diligence you perform, eventually something may not agree with you. I'm not going to lie - I had a day of tummy tumult near the end of the trip. But so what? It was worth it, and supposedly travel is about trying new things and broadening your horizons, right? I wouldn't have missed any of these food experiences for twice the tummy trouble - and I think by the end of this post you'll see why.
One of my favorite street foods were the tacos al pastor from El Huequito. We went multiple times. Tacos like this make me want to cry for the people who think that those hard, bright yellow, crispy/hard corn tortilla shells they get in the "Mexican" section of the grocery store have anything to do with actual Mexican food.
Get them "con todo," i.e., with everything
Whatever the meats were, these tacos were amazing. As always, get them con todo. Look how colorful!
The perfect snack after a night watching the luchadors at Lucha Libre!
We also had blue corn quesadillas. This one was stuffed with flor de calabaza, or zucchini flowers and cheese:
One afternoon on the way to the Mercado San Juan, I developed a sudden and intense need for a torta, and we liked the look of this place:
But never fear - that's not all we ate! Stay tuned. Until then ... buen provecho!