Enjoy traditional Mexican food while walking around town
Many foods are commonly sold at tables on streets throughout Mexican markets or designated streets.
One common street food are churros, or long fried dough sticks with grooves coated in granulated sugar (pictured).
Elote or corn on the cob is common. It is smeared, all over, with mayonnaise; coated with grated aged cheese called anijo (parmesan could be used if you can’t find it); sprinkled with chili powder and lastly a squeeze of lime juice is added (optional). It’s both zesty and creamy, and is one of my favorite street snacks! Be careful because it can be quite messy and is, often, served with a stick to hold it. Asking for extra napkins couldn’t hurt either.
Want to eat breakfast while walking around? Tropical fruit salads and fresh squeezed juice can usually be purchased on many corners, as well as in many juice stores. Atoles, or porridges, such as arroz con leche (soft rice with hot milk, sugar, and cinnamon) and champurrado (creamy masa or cornmeal and chocolate) can be found. Other atoles available are made with fermented corn or oatmeal.
Oftentimes, atoles are sold alongside tamales, which is a dense masa (cornmeal flour similar to cornbread in texture) stuffed into a corn husk and steamed. Tamales come in many varieties, such as a mole poblano type, a type with shredded chicken and peppers, an adobo sauce type, and a red sweet type called tamales dulce.
Thirsty? Drinks such as fresh coconut milk and coconut water can be purchased (this is usually sweetened with sugar) from stands on the street. Usually Agua de Jamaica (not like the country), pronounced ha-my-ick-a; a hibiscus iced tea; and horchata, a chilled sweet rice water drink, can also be purchased. Another type of agua is tamarindo (pictured) made from cooked tamarind pods. You would be surprised how cooling these aguas can be, especially the Jamaica! Fresh juices and aguas are sold in plastic cups or the juice is poured in a clear plastic bag that is tied in a knot around the straw, which may look funny at first.
Crave a light dessert? Flavored gelatins are really popular and can be found sold on the street at different stands.
Care for a healthy snack? Mangos are cut into flowers and served on a stick with chile powder and a squeeze of lime. Also popular is cut up jicama (a round vegetable sort of like an apple in terms of crunch, but not sweet) or cucumber wedges with a sprinkle of lime and a generous dash of chili powder, of course!
Maybe a vegetable or fruit snack is not your thing, and salty flavors are calling your name, instead. Crunchy, salty and fresh, potato chips are made in giant vats of oil and served in clear bags with optional toppings of hot sauce and fresh squeezed lime. You can also get crunchy fried plantain strips from the potato chip guys.
Have a sweet tooth but not in the mood for churros? Sometimes handmade candies are sold in the streets. Some vendors set up stands and others prefer to walk around with their goods on a tray, yelling out what they are selling, such as “Dulces!” for candy, or ringing a bell. Mexican-style empanadas (individual folded pies) are sold, sometimes filled with a sweet creamy rice filling or other fillings.
Whatever your Mexican street food craving, you can usually find it at a cheap price walking around near the zocalos (town squares) of Mexico.