You’re about to dive into one of the world’s tastiest, most traditional, and spiciest culinary: Mexican.
Enjoy the wide variety of food in Mexico City, surrender to new flavours, and understand why Mexicans experience the pleasures of life through food.
Taco al pastor
The taco you mustn’t miss! It is easy to find because you will see, outside the taquerias, a vertical rotisserie slowly cooking the pork meat. Trust me when I say it has been marinated in a delicious mix of chillies, spices, and axiote seed, which gives it a distinctive colour.
Watch the taquero master the knife; he will wisely choose perfect crispy slices, place them on the tortilla, cut a pineapple piece, and finish with onion and cilantro. It is mouth-watering choreography.
Tacos de Canasta
You can take a bike and turn it into a taqueria in Mexico; this is part of the charm of these tacos! Spot the bike-riding taqueros – during lunchtime – they go around the city carrying them in a big wicker basket (canasta) strapped to the back of the bike. Salsa inside buckets is tied to the cycle – if you’re looking for a spicy kick.
Once a hungry customer hails the driver, many more will follow like flies to honey!
You will find some typical taco flavours: potato with chorizo, green mole, mashed beans, or chicharron en salsa (pork skin stewed in salsa).
Expect them to be moist because of the steam inside the basket, and a bit greasy. However, you won’t believe such a cheap meal (one taco is .75 USD) can be that tasty!
The so-called “Mexican sandwich” is a feast of ingredients. Let’s start with its foundation: telera or bolillo is the traditional bread used for this food. Then comes the fixins; a layer of mayo, refried beans, slices of avocado, tomato, onion, and serrano or chipotle chilli. And that’s just the beginning of more ingredients to come.
- Start with ham & cheese – the tried and true combination. However, that’s for the newbies!
- Step up your game with the combination of cheese and milanesa de pollo o res (breaded chicken breast or beef, then pan-fried).
- And when you feel ready – for a ticking taste bomb – go big with the Cubana: ham, two types of cheese, sausage, chorizo, and milanesa de res o pollo.
Tamales are one of the most common dishes made out of corn in CDMX because they are the go-to breakfast for citizens who need a full belly to start the day off right.
In the morning, bikes with a tamalera, an aluminium designed to steam and carry tamales (tuh+mah+les), offer salty or sweet flavoured tamales.
- Salty: mole, red or green salsa with chicken
- Sweet: pineapple or raisins
Other less common and regional flavours, like cochinita pibil, zucchini with cheese, chocolate, or Nutella, are sold in restaurants.
For a super fulfilling breakfast, I advise having it with a cup of atole (Uh+toll+A), a thick sweet beverage made from corn and milk (or water).
Elotes and esquites
This must be one of the most cherished antojitos (snacks) for Mexicans, and they are found at street stalls in parks and squares.
Elotes (Corn Cobs) are boiled in water with epazote herb. When the grain is soft, it’s time to spread every inch of it with mayo, shredded cheese, drops of lime, salt, and chilli powder.
Esquites would be the version in a cup – if that seems a bit messy for your tastes – the vendor can provide generous spoonfuls of corn kernels prepared with the above ingredients. Don’t worry; they’ll make sure you get plenty of them!
Barbacoa is a method of slowly cooking different types of meat; sheep barbacoa is the most popular in CDMX.
The prehispanic technique, preserved to this day, consists of slowly cooking the parts of the sheep inside a hole in the ground that’s heated with wood embers and hot stones. The meat is covered with maguey leaves and left there for long hours.
This gives the meat a very juicy texture that is ready to be served as tacos. Exceptional barbacoa must have an extremely spicy salsa borracha, fresh onion, and cilantro.
This antojo (snack) is simple yet so tasty. Imagine a thick tortilla pinched upwards at the edges. And on top, a guisado (A Mexican-style-ragout or stewed meat). Some options for your sope are shredded chicken with a non-spicy tomato sauce, chorizo with potatoes, ground beef with potatoes, or the most traditional one: refried beans (frijoles) with cream and shredded cheese on top.
Check out our post on the best neighbourhoods to stay in for Digital Nomads in Mexico City.