Headed south of the border this summer? Here’s our guide, Mexico City Street Eats, Part 1 which gives you insight into breakfast and snacks. Now that summer is here, we at El Chubby’s in Aurora hope you have the opportunity to take a trip to Mexico, specifically Mexico City and take in the local cuisine via the wonderful street food the city has to offer. Today, we will walk you through breakfast and snacks as part 1 of our 2 part series.
A Part of the Culture
In Mexico City, the street vendors are a serious part of the local culture. Some say that over 75% of the city’s population eats street food at least once a week. It is really no wonder that street food is so popular. The vendors are everywhere—street corners, stalls, under umbrellas, on bicycles, small trucks, in makeshift windows set into buildings. A trip to Mexico City demands at least one meal of street food—though probably more once you try it.
Now, Here’s how to eat the street – breakfast and snacks. First, you can typically find a tasty Mexican breakfast starting at around 7 a.m. until around noon. The times will depend heavily on the neighborhood. Some neighborhood areas are bustling much earlier!
Let’s look at what’s on the menu for breakfast:
Fresh juice, often orange and grapefruit juice, is sold from small stands or supermarket carts. Carrot juice may also be offered and for a few more pesos, you may be able to try a “combinado” of orange juice and a splash of carrot juice. On average, a regular cup of fresh juice is 10 to 15 pesos – that’s less than a buck in the U.S.
These stands will generally have large glass jars of chopped fruit displayed. A licuado is a type of fruit shake using evaporated milk as its base. Often, you can find strawberry, chocolate, mamey (an orange fruit that has a texture that is kind of like an avocado), or banana-chocolate. You can also get a lighter version of this drink called an aqua fresca, which includes the same blends of fruit but uses no milk as its base.
This is one of the more popular breakfast street foods and one of the more representative foods of Mexican cuisine—every state generally has a version.
The tamal is generally made from corn masa that surrounds a filling. It is then wrapped, often in a corn husk, and steamed till done. A tamal stand usually includes a large steel bucket of hot tamales and pots with atole in them. Atole is a sweet breakfast drink that is thickened with starch and generally comes in rice, chocolate, and strawberry flavors. Another great option is the champurrado, which is thickened with masa and flavored with chocolate. It is water based as well as delicious.
Types of Tamals
There are several different tamales that you can find. Here are a few of the more common ones:
- Oaxaqueño: This tamal has a banana leaf wrapper instead of the usual corn wrapper. The masa used for this tamal is generally heavier and sweeter than the average tamal.
- Corn tamal: This tamal uses a corn flour dough that includes corn grains and is wrapped in a corn leaf. These are usually eaten with sour cream and cheese.
- Dry corn leaf: This is a very popular tamal style in Mexico City. They are spicy or sweet. Flavors include strawberry, pineapple, green salsa, chili pepper with a tomato sauce, or mole.
- Deep fried tamal: This tamal is often a day old tamal, but don’t let that scare you. This tamal is deep fried, making it additionally tasty and is frequently offered in a bread roll.
- Guajolota or tamal torta: This is considered to be an iconic street food of Mexico City. A bilillo, or bun, is opened as it is ordered and is stuffed with a tamal of your choosing.
Frequently sold from small bicycle carts, the fruit is frequently a cocktail of papaya, strawberries, and watermelon. The fruit is covered with honey, whipped cream, and granola. You can also choose shredded cucumber, carrot, or jicama which is then seasoned with salt, chili, lime, and in some cases, chamoy, which is a savory, sweet and sour fruit sauce.
Tortas de Chilaquiles
Chilaquiles are considered a traditional Mexican breakfast. Chilaquiles are deep fried triangular tortillas that sometimes include eggs, steak, or chicken. They are served in a green or red spicy sauce and are frequently covered with cheese, sour cream, and onion. When this is all stuffed inside a bolillo, you have a torta de chilaquilles.
Pastries and Coffee
Pastries are well loved in Mexico and are seemingly everywhere. Conchas, moños, and rebanadas are so delicious, you shouldn’t skip them. Such pastries are often sold from the same vendors who sell coffee.
Now, let’s look at what you can find if the munchies strike – snacks!
Our guide to Mexico City Street Eats, Part 1 wouldn’t be complete without the most important meal of the day. Snacks! You should be able to find snacks available from around noon till dusk. Depending on the area, you may be able to find them into the night.
The small carts that carry chips are often found in parks and plazas. The chips come in different varieties. Common flavors include chili and salted. Usually, vendors offer lime, salt, and salsa on the side as well. Some vendors only carry packaged chips.
The carts that carry chicharrónes often have clear sides so you can see the crispy, deep fried pork skins. You should know that the chicharrónes in some carts are not actually pork products, but fried corn or flour concoctions. If you’re looking for a specific version be sure to inquire first.
Very similar to the American snow cone, raspados are shaved cups of ice flavored with syrup. However, in Mexico, you can get a spicy version, which is often flavored with chamoy, lime, and chile powder. Other flavors include rompope (Mexican eggnog), lime, tamarind, chamoy, mango, strawberry, lime, or grapefruit.
Are you really hungry and planning a vacation now? Well, we hope you enjoyed our guide, Mexico City Street Eats, Part 1 focusing on breakfast and snacks. If you want a taste of Mexico City but can’t find the time to travel, stop by El Chubby’s in Aurora instead. We offer an amazing array of breakfast favorites, as well as tamales, snacks and so much more.