So we’ve frequently mentioned how many places (and ways) that there are to eat here. From restaurants and pubs-like we have in the U.S.-to the many open-air comida corrida kitchens, taco stands, and food carts, you do not need to look far to find a satisfying meal or snack. Often where there’s a recognizable establishment, there’s also an antojito place of some kind nearby and food carts surrounding it.
The longer we stay here, the more adventurous that we get (with limits, of course) in trying different eating establishments, open-air markets (we recently had barbacoa, much different than BBQ), and street vendors. As a general rule of thumb, if a place looks clean, it usually is. If an open-air establishment has a hand washing station with soap, then you’re good-to-go. If a cart or stand that serves meat has a small refrigerator or ice-packed cooler, that is also a good sign. You can never be sure, but if you trust all of your senses, then you’ll typically make out just fine. Usually you can watch the food being prepared, and although some carts are small and simple, others are large and intricate operations with fryers, griddles, etc. Even smaller people cooking food on the street cook on simple grills. You can argue about the food quality or the freshness of the raw materials, but the preparation is hot and fresh off the grill. Juice is fresh-squeezed, fruits and vegetables: fresh-sliced, etc.
There are also lots of places to pick up rotisserie cooked chicken on the street, either to take home or to enjoy right there, with fresh tortillas and salsa. One of our favorite chains to get rotisserie pollo and cebollitas (onions) is Pollos Ray, which I’m sure is some evil conglomerate, because they’re all over the city.
You can get all kinds of fruits and vegetables on the street from corn in the form of elotes (on the cob) or esquites (cooked corn, different from creamed corn or chowder), fruits or veggies prepared with chili powder and lime juice, even Beets!!!
We also enjoy browsing all kinds of dulces (sweets, both traditional and processed), nuts (spiced or plain), paletas/nieves/helados (ice pops, ices, and ice cream), flan and gelatinas, and papas fritas (fresh potato chips) that are often covered with this gooey, mysterious substance called Chamoy! There is also a traditional Mexican food called chicharrón, which is kind of like a pork rind, and fairly ubiquitous in Mexican cuisine. Although we do not enjoy it, there is a processed brand of chips called Pake-Taxo, made by Sabritas (aka Frito-Lay) which is basically a mixture that contains fake chicharrón, made with like popped corn or rice or something similar fried, fattening, and delicious. The chips and dulces are interesting because you can buy them from vendors that are essentially homemade, from various food carts (made on the premises), from supermarkets or chain convenience stores, or from various alternative convenience stores called tianguis, which apparently evolved from Pre-Hispanic markets that were prevalent in the area. A lot of the snacks are drinks here are more savory than sweet, including fruit of the Tamarind.
So we’re keeping our eyes open at markets, events, areas surrounding big, busy buildings or public transportation stations, and so forth for great places to EAT THE STREET!