Traveling from place to place often means sleeping in dorms and hostels and eating in small bars or just from food stalls. As backpacking is our favorite way of traveling, local street food is our main source of energy and also a great way of sampling something really local. Night markets, morning markets, local vendors, people selling their homemade products - that is all the best you can experience in the visiting country.
We wondered what kind of a street food could we get in Mexico. We expected it to be corn served in some form, cooked?, baked?, grilled? maybe chicken, potatoes and beans. We knew red and black beans were so popular in Mexico, so expected it to be on stalls too (if fried beans were not served with the main meal, it was not sold alone :) ). Guacamole, tostadas, tacos, tostas, queasadilla - that are Mexican classic foods, that you can order in many restaurants. But what could you get while exploring the city?
Mexican street food varies from state to state. Is really good and doesn't have to be spicy. It is usually warm or hot, bases on variations of tortillas and include meat, cheese or potatoes. Apart from that, you will find also juices, bananas, and rarely anything including seafood. but still, bear in mind that all that depends on the region. However, most of them you will get almost everywhere. Only ceviche was the meal you could get at the seaside. But there, there was a plenty of local vendors selling it. You didn't have to do much. Ceviche would, sooner or later come to you, so don't worry.
The list of best Mexican street food was made during our whole stay in Mexico. We were trying different meals, different ways of serving and with different salsas. But that list shows our real preferences. Didn't matter in which state we had them, they were good and couldn't disappoint us. If you want to find out more about best dishes in Mexico, check our post '19 Best Mexican food to try in Mexico', where we describe our tops. Some of these dishes are duplicated, but Mexican street food is really good, and it is not strange that should be tried.
A flat tortilla (should be made of a corn dough) stuffed with different kind of a meat and beans. That is more or less the original recipe. However, right now the local burrito includes also corn, vegetables and pickles. The stuffing is wrapped in tortilla. Then, it is grilled or fried. Add to that some spicy salsa and your meal is ready. Easy to eat, easy to take away and tasty. It is crunchy, with a nice, soft filling that makes a good composition. That is a street food you cannot miss.
Small, grilled or fried tortillas with meat or fish topping. Usually they are served in three or four. Are topped with chicken, pork or some seafood - prawns are the most popular. on top of it, you will usually get fried or fresh onion, cilantro and pineapple and sometimes slices of avocado. Eaten as a snack and accompanied by beer can do for a meal too.
Empanadas are traditional Mexican fried dumplings. Stuffed with cheese, meat, bacon, potatoes, mushrooms and much more, can be bought both in the Southern and Northern part of Mexico. Mexican way of serving these fried dumplings doesn't differ much from the one we know from other countries. The main difference is the size of a dumpling - palm-size. Often the selection is wide, however these you can get almost always are empanadas con queso, empanadas con carne and empanadas con champiñón. It is worth trying local dumplings with cheese, as the cheese varies from state to state. These dumplings might be served alone, with additional salsa - salsa roja or salsa verde or sprinkled with fresh cheese. Finally, you might get a serving of a white cabbage and topped with cream.
Corn Tortillas with melted cheese inside and also some other ingredients. Fillings include meat, additional cheese, potatoes, sausages, bacon or Tinga - chicken, beef or fried pork mixed with onion and spices. That Quesadilla from Mexico City was filled with perfectly mixed ingredients and topped with a hot sauce.
Quick, warm, local and satiating. What to need more form a meal or quick snack. Elotes are cooked or grilled corns served with lime juice, chili and salt. Sometimes they might be served with mayonnaise and cheese too. Cooked corn on the cob is a corn served by vendors from a big, hot pot. Fried corns are prepared on a small wooden grill, what makes these corn taste in an unknown way. That delicious elote from central Mexico City was topped with a spicy sauce and generously sprinkled with lime juice.
Polatanos fritos - deep fried bananas we knew from Asia. Golden, sweet and sometimes with coconut shreds. Here, in Mexico, platanos fritos are made of different kind of bananas. Known as platanos mujeros, these bananas are bigger than these regular ones we knew. Their diameter is bigger, and the color of the flesh is yellowish. What was interesting for us, was that these bananas didn't look well for the first glance. Their skin was mostly black, but inside they were untouched. No bruises, no darker spots, nothing like that.
Streets are full of stands with Espiropapas - fried, spiral potatoes. Usually sold on local markets or just as a snack. the whole spire is made of only one potato that is spirally cut. Espiropapas are fried and might be compared to chips.
If you are at the seaside, you will have that unique possibility of eating ceviche the whole day long. You even will not have to move or change your position while sunbathing :) Local vendors are walking along the beach and selling sets of ceviche that is cooled, fresh and colorful. Ceviche with fish and seafood - prawns, squid and octopus. Served with half lime, red salsa, onions and tomatoes is the most popular one. Add to that a hot sauce, share it with friends and enjoy its freshness.
Apart from these Mexican street foods, there is much more you could get. These were selected by us, as we liked them the most and wanted to skip packed and international foods. To all of them don't forget to grab a freshly squeezed juice!