No, there is no typo in the title, I intentionally wrote ‘EAT MEXICO’ and not ‘EAT MEXICAN’. It is, because I went out to taste every street food in Mexico City.
Like India, Mexico’s street food is some of the best in the world. And like us, they add chillies in every possible food, even they eat ripe mango with chillie powder, like we drink chilli water, filled in a ‘GOLEGAPPA’.
Little has changed over the centuries and street food still plays a huge part in daily Indian and Mexican life. Let me share my experience about what Mexican Food, specially street food is, what I tried and liked.
On the corner of Río Lerma and Río Danubio in Cuauhtémoc I tasted, a tamale. These traditional Mexican breakfast snacks, literally meaning ‘wrapped in a leaf’. Pockets of masa (a type of starchy corn dough) are stuffed with sweet or savoury fillings, wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed. Vendor, fortunately, tells to remove the wrapper before eating.
I give No. 2 to a tortillería. Tortillas, a type of thin, unleavened flat bread made from finely ground corn, are a staple of Mexican cuisine and have been for hundreds of years.
Jugo (Fresh Juice):
I order a ‘Jugo Verde’ (green juice), a combination of Apple, Celery, Parsley and the Ubiquitous Mexican cactus Ornopal.
Alongside is a food cart where quesadillas and tlacoyos are cooked on the spot. Quesadillas traditionally always contain cheese (which explains the quesopart of the name) but Mexico City is the one place in the country where you can order one without. Even tastier, however, are the tlacoyos.
These are flattened masa pockets filled with cheese, fava beans or refried
beans and then topped with a variety of trimmings including nopal, sour cream.
Tacos de Canasta:
My next port of call isTacos de Canasta, La Abuela, further along Río Lerma on the corner with Río Rhin and run by the most convivialseñorin the capital. He tells me that he’s been selling tacos for the last 18 years and shifts over 800 a day. At M$8 pesos a taco, business is good.
Literally meaning ‘tacos in a basket’ these are another favourite snack.
Fortunately there’s some walking to be done before my next stop, although I do pause briefly to share a cup of freshly sliced mango along the way at a fruit stall on the corner of Havre and Hamburgo streets in Juárez. As with much of the fruit and vegetables in Mexico, my mango is doused liberally in lime juice and chilli powder.
“Why?” I ask.
“Because it tastes good,” replies fruit seller. And it does.
My Next Street stand makes Burritos, one of the few of its kind in the capital.
Traditionally a food of northern Mexico (and far more common place across the border in the US), it’s an unusual roadside food to find in Mexico City. A large flour tortilla filled with mushrooms, peppers and cheese. Cook says that the sign of a good street food stand is the salsas that they have on offer, and this place, on the corner of calles Liverpool and Niza, has dozens of them of varying degrees of heat.
So, when are you guys going there to taste Mango soaked in Lemon Juice and Chilli Powder.
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