If you’re traveling south of the border for any reason, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with all your dining options as far as Mexican street food. Despite the country’s awful reputation, the food vendors have to offer is, in fact, quite good. Keep reading to find a short list of some of the more commonly-found street food items in Mexico.
We think this one kind of goes without saying, but tacos are to Mexico what hamburgers are to America. This is pretty much the one street food that is always associated with Mexico. A taco is a tortilla (soft or crunchy) stuffed with a filling, and just about anything can become a potential filling for a taco. You must try a real taco at some point in your life; Americanized tacos don’t even compare. How about the ugly cousin of the taco: the chalupa? These look sort of like unfinished tacos—they’re lightly-fried tortilla shells with filling piled on top, and the tortillas are not rolled up or closed. Much like tacos, these are “filled” with meat, vegetables, cheese, and maybe cream … and also much like tacos, they are amazing.
Maybe try the simple quesadilla while you can. Here’s another street food item you can get at the Bell of the Taco, and also one that tastes terrible if you don’t get it from a traditional vendor. Basically, it’s a tortilla filled with cheese, but often there will be other things added to the filling for taste.
Check out this very common dish, even in this country: enchiladas. This is most likely the only item on this list that didn’t change much once it reached America. Originally, enchiladas were just corn tortillas with no fillings dipped in hot sauce. Now, though, they are often stuffed with some kind of meat and topped with salsa and cheese; regardless of where you eat these, they’ll probably still taste good.
Let us not forget tostadas either! Tostadas, like most other Mexican street munchies, are made with a corn tortilla base. This time, the tortilla is deep-fried in boiling oil until crispy and then topped with all manner of meat, cheese and vegetables. A popular way of eating these crunchy treats is when the tortilla becomes a bowl and is filled with extra foods.
Hot tamales, anyone? This word might sound familiar to you, but maybe you aren’t sure what exactly it means. A tamale is a dried corn husk or plantain leaf stuffed with a corn flour dough and then steamed, and this is the most basic form. Tamales are incredibly versatile and can be filled with just about anything (usually beef, pork, or chicken). This is probably one of the healthier kinds of Mexican street food since it’s not deep-fried, but we recommend trying one regardless of your diet status. These are also often very spicy, so if you get heartburn easily, be sure to bring a keg of Pepto with you.
Nothing says edible versatility in Mexico like the torta, which is, simply put, a sandwich. As in America, you can put just about anything on a sandwich … same goes for Mexico. There are countless combinations for meat and cheese fillings in a torta, so what you get just depends on what you want on your sandwich. And finally, need to sate your sugar craving? That’s where churros come in. These are long, thin bits of deep-fried dough coated with cinnamon and sugar. And they are absolutely heavenly. Why must everything delicious be so bad for you? If you’re on a diet, cheat at least for the churros—you’ll thank us for it
You’ve likely had many of the aforementioned items if you live in the US, but since we are America, we have a tendency to totally bastardize foreign food … meaning all American-made tacos and enchiladas are a far and disappointing cry from authentic, fresh-made Mexican street food. If you ever have the chance to try bona fide Mexican food, take advantage of that chance. You will not ever regret it.