How To Eat Mexican Street Food Safely

How to eat Mexican street food safely is a challenge confronted by tourists every  year. Why not sample outdoor Mexican food from those rustic street carts with its appealing array of whole roasted jalapenos or the Mexican flank steak shish kabob? Mexican street food carries a notorious reputation. Learning how to eat Mexican food safely does not have to automatically entail repeated trips to the bathroom, or a run for a drugstore for an over the counter remedy. Following common sense can go a long way in learning how to eat Mexican street food safely. With proper precaution, whether it is lime basted corn roasted over open coals or even golden mango flowers carved on a stick, learning how to eat Mexican street food safely can lead to a celebration of outdoor Latin culinary adventure.


  1. Know your local or neighborhood street vendor. Identifying local street vendors from transients will increase your chances to eat Mexican street food safely. Whether good or bad, a regular street vendor will have developed a town reputation which pays to heed in learning how to eat Mexican food safely. It’s more a roll of the dice to bargain with your belly with an unknown travelling food concession that’s just strolled into town.  
  2. Notice the traffic at local vendors. Is it a popular vendor with a line that is brisk, fast paced, and moving? Or is it slow with only a few sporadic stragglers? Meat such as beef or poultry in the tacos wagons can be exposed to germs if left out too long in the sun. If a stall does fast moving business, the food has less outdoor shelf life as opposed to a vendor with uncooked chicken setting in the sun.
  3. Word of mouth matters. If a stall is popular, there’s an excellent reason for return business and recommendations for new patrons. It probably is more than just that the goat tacos are particularly tasty, it’s likely also that no one is getting sick.
  4. Who is handling the money? Who is handling the food? Mexican money can carry germs. If the person who is cooking is also simultaneously handling currency that may be a good sign to move on to a vendor who has separate divisions of labor for food and money.
  5. Don't drink the water. Specifically do not drink water that's not from a bottle. Just don't. If you are serious about learning how to eat Mexican street food safely, please note, this a time honored basic even Mexican citizens take note of.     
  6. Do not eat uncooked fruits or vegetables from the carts unless you peel them, first. Adios to salads.
  7. Using a bleach bath is one way to eat Mexican street food safely. If you find an apple, cucumber or other such fruit and vegetable irresistible from a street vendor, make sure to soak it. Use one part bottled water with a capful of liquid bleach for the raw fruit soak if you want to eat Mexican Street food safely.
  8. What you see, may not be what you get. Eat only what is prepared and cooked in front of you. Anything else is suspect.  
  9. A burning hot Mexican sun and raw oysters on the half-shell served from an outdoor vendor along with any other shellfish is a recipe for disaster. Make sure the vendor and food has more than adequate refrigeration and cooling so that the seafood is not spoiled and your stomach won't be either.
  10. Be aware of your own hygiene. Are your hands clean? Nowadays there's no excuse. The small bottles of personal hand sanitizers have become so popular you can get them in assorted sizes, scents, gels and  liquids or suds. They have one important function and that is they serve as a disinfectant.  Always carrying a small purse or pocket sized sanitizer can be an important ally in your arsenal in learning how to eat Mexican Street Food safely.
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