Mexico City’s Historic Center is filled with remnants of the city’s heritage, and while its museums and landmarks are definitely educational to explore, you will also not be able to ignore the tantalizing aromas that waft over from the area’s many street food stalls. From tlacoyos to tamales, these are some of the street foods that you simply have to try.
Tamales and Atole
If you are seeking a street food snack to start your day with, then look for a stall that serves up tamales and atole. This is one of the most popular of street food dishes, and features steamed, corn husk pockets of masa that have been stuffed with a meat or cheese. Atole is a hot corn-based beverage that has been sweetened with unrefined sugar and flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, and perfectly balanced out the tamale to result in a fresh and filling breakfast.
Believed to have been created by the original inhabitants of Toluca, a town that lies 40 miles west of Mexico City, tlacoyos are a snack that has barely changed since Aztec times, making this a truly authentic street food snack. These eye-shaped discs of blue corn masa are stuffed with a filling of your choice, whether this may be braised pork belly, mashed fava beans or fresh Mexican cheese, before being cooked on a large, open-air griddle. The crispy cakes are then topped with either wild spinach or grilled cactus paddles, before being drizzled with cotija cheese and red or green salsa.
Mexico is home to quite the selection of fresh produce, and the juice bars that you will find all over the Historic Center make the most of these, while providing a refresher from the sun’s intense heat. Whether you opt for a single fruit or a more elaborate, mixed blend, these juices never fail to hit the spot on a hot day in the city.
Tostadas are deep-fried corn tortillas with a delicious topping, and while they may sometimes be quite simple and humble, many street food stalls are now putting their own spin on this Mexican staple. Many stalls in the Historic Center will serve up dozens of varieties of tostada toppings, with everything from fresh shrimp, tomato and chilli to pork in mole.
Tacos al Pastor
While you may come across several delicious street eats in Mexico City, the majority of these have usually originated elsewhere. However, tacos al pastor is one of the only dishes to have actually originated in the capital itself, and were hugely influenced by the city’s Lebanese immigrants in the 1950’s. A variant of the Middle Eastern shawarma, this dish features marinated grilled meat that is thinly sliced, before being topped with onions and coriander, and then rolled up in a tortilla.
You will find a street food stall parked on just about every street corner in Mexico City, but this is, without a doubt, one of the highlights of the city. From freshly fried tlacoyos to flavorful tostadas, you should definitely not leave the city without tasting these foods at least once.