Mexico has one of the most extensive street food cultures in Latin America, and the capital, Mexico City, has been named as one of the foremost cities on the world in which to eat on the street. Yet, regardless of where you are based in the country, Mexican street food is available to all – and in large quantities!
Street food in Mexico is called “antojitos” (literally “little cravings”), is prepared by street vendors and at small traditional markets all around the country. Street foods include world famous snacks like tacos and tamales, but also fresh fruit, beans, and plenty and plenty of corn! Street food is typically available throughout the day, but mid-afternoon is the time for the main formal meal of the day in Mexico. So let’s take a little look at a dozen of the best street foods from Mexico (excluding corn)!
Tostada usually refers to a flat or bowl-shaped (like a bread bowl) tortilla that is deep fried or toasted. It may also refer to any dish using a tostada as a base. It can be consumed alone, or used a base for other foods. Corn tortillas are usually used for tostadas, although tostadas made of wheat flour may occasionally be found.
Tamale is a traditional dish made of a starchy dough (usually corn-based), which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. The wrapping is discarded before eating. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned. They also eat these in Peru.
Nachos are a dish from northern Mexico. The dish is composed of tortilla chips covered with cheese or cheese-based sauce, and is often served as a snack, sometimes with sliced jalapeño peppers.
Gordita is a small cake made with masa and stuffed with cheese, meat or other fillings. It is similar to a pasty and means “little fat one”. A gordita is typically fried in a deep wok-shaped pan and prepared like a thick tortilla.
Bolillo is a type of savoury, shorter in length than a baguette, and is often baked in a stone oven. Brought to Mexico City in the 1860s, the bolillo is about 6 inches long, with a crunchy crust and a soft inside. Unlike other breads, the bolillo is heavily salted.
Tacos are composed of corn or wheat tortillas that are folded around a meat filling, including beef, pork, and chicken, but also seafood and vegetables and cheese. Tacos are perfect Mexican street foods that are eaten without utensils and accompanied by garnishes such as salsa, avocado or guacamole, cilantro, minced meat, and onions.
Chicharrón is a popular Mexican street food that generally consists of fried pork belly or fried pork rinds; chicharrón may also be made from chicken, mutton, or beef. They also eat this regularly in Spain.
Frijoles Charros (similar to the American dish known as “cowboy beans”) is a traditional street food in Mexico, named after the traditional Mexican horsemen, or charros. The dish is characterized by pinto beans stewed with onion, garlic, and bacon. It is served warm, and is usually of a soupy consistency.
Pambazo is the name of a Mexican white bread. The bread used for pambazos is white and lacks a crispy crust. Pambazo is tougher and drier than the similar bolillo (also used for sandwiches), which allows it to retain its shape while being soaked in sauce. Pambazos are one of the most common Mexican street eats.
Burritos are possibly the quintessential Mexican street food, consisting of a wheat flour tortilla wrapped into a cylindrical shape to completely enclose the filling (in contrast to a taco, which is generally folded, leaving the semi-circular perimeter open). The flour tortilla is usually lightly grilled or steamed, to soften it and make it more pliable. In Mexico, brown rice and refried beans are the most popular fillings – along with the meat, of course!
Quesadilla is a tortilla filled with a savoury mixture and cooked on a griddle. It is then folded in half to form a half-moon shape, much resembling a crepe or a chapati from Indian cuisine.
Mangonada is a delicious fruit drink, typically made with chamoy sauce, mangos, lime juice, and chili powder, then finally decorated with a tamarind straw. The Mangonada is also very popular in California and other southern American states.
Mexico sure has its fair share of great tourist attractions, but now I know it also has a large array of fantastic street foods! I fancy a burrito already! Anything here that is making you drool?!