Today, El Chubby’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Aurora presents, Mexico City Street Eats, Part 2. We hope you have an opportunity to visit Mexico City and enjoy its wonderful and varied street cuisine. As part 2 of our look into the city’s street cuisine, we’ll walk you through tasty ideas for lunch and more.
Who doesn’t love a great taco? The taco options on the streets of Mexico are many and varied. Usually, the base consists of a corn tortilla, which can be stuffed with a wide variety of fillings. Fillings can consist of various parts of cows, pigs, and chickens. Sometimes these are stewed, such as a guisado, or barbequed like a barbacoa. These fillings can be roasted on a vertical spit called al pastor or fried on a griddle (a la plancha).
Seafood tacos, tacos de mariscos, and fish (pescado) tacos are also among the popular options. Additions to your taco of choice can include cheese, rice, beans, and nopales (cactus). Every taco stand will have a red and green salsa for you to choose. Those stands which are particularly good will also have an avocado based salsa on hand, along with one made from roasted chilies, as well as limes and French fries or potatoes which have sautéed.
Here are some further details about your taco options:
De Cabeza: This dramatic taco is made from cow’s head. The meat is carved from a steamed cow’s skull. Though it is highly unusual for an American palate, this type of taco is popular at lunch and is a popular nighttime snack.
A la Plancha: This taco is usually filled with grilled chicken or steak and is often called “carne asada” which is then placed on a corn tortilla. Guacamole and red salsa are popular options for this taco.
Guisados: Every stand will have their own guisado or “stew” specialty, often with daily varieties. A guisado is a traditional Mexican dish that is generally pre-made such as chicken mole, chicken in a green pumpkin seed sauce, pork in a spicy sauce, etc. This is then combined with a portion of rice and beans for your taco.
Carnitas: This is the taco for pork lovers. This taco is made of lean pork meat that is slowly cooked in pork fat. It is quite similar to duck confit. There is a variety of carnitas and the meat will be varied in color depending on the way that the pork fat is seasoned. We recommend a raw red salsa or a guacamole salsa as the best toppings for your carnitas of choice.
Al Pastor: In Mexico, a chilango is an object of extraordinary obsession. This taco is really a classic chilango taco. The pork is cooked much like gyros are cooked on a vertical spit layered with pork. This is due to the taco’s Arabian origin. The pork is layered vertically on a spit while it is slowly cooked. Every taquero is protective of their own special al pastor taco flavor. These tacos of obsession are frequently served with onions and cilantro and sometimes a little bit of pineapple.
Barbacoa: This iconic Mexican taco is made with long-braised sheep meat, a method that was developed in Pre-Columbian times. Weekends are the best time to track down barbacoa because vendors come from the countryside to sell their homemade barbacoa in the city. The soft barbacoa taco is often flavored using salsa borracha, which is a pulpe-based salsa.
Campechano: Beef and chorizo are blended together into a spicy, meaty filling that is, of course, delicious.
Mixiote: Seasoned lamb is wrapped in parchment and either pit roasted or steamed very slowly. This is often topped with a mix of habaneros and purple onions or chopped radishes.
Canasta: Basket taco can be found on bicycles with little baskets containing plastic bags, hence the name meaning “basket taco”. Tortillas are filled with chicharron, beans, or potatoes. The basket is carefully filled and seasoned hot oil is poured over the tacos. Then they are covered with a plastic bag. The combination makes the tacos soft and mouth-meltingly good. They do not have a long shelf life, so the earlier you find them, the fresher they will be.
Tortas: Tortas have just as many varieties as tacos, so your options are close to endless. The buns of a torta are often a bollilo or a telera stuffed with various options to choose. One highly popular torta, the torta ahogade, is a Jalisco version that is stuffed with potato and chorizo soaked in a light but spicy tomato sauce. These tortas are generally topped with sour cream, cheese, and shredded cabbage.
Quesadillas: For Americans, quesadillas means cheese and maybe more on a flour tortilla. In reality, quesadillas are much more complicated and don’t always include cheese. Quesadillas in Mexico are very similar to tacos—tortillas filled with variety—though usually larger in size. Often quesadillas in Mexico are stuffed with chicken, beef, mushrooms, chorizo, or potatoes in a guisado.
Deep-fried quesadillas: fresh corn dough is made and rolled out on the spot. It is stuffed with guisado and then deep-fried.
Gordita de chicharrón: Corn dough is shaped into a circle and filled with chicharrón. After it is cooked, it is sliced open and salsa, onion, and cilantro are added on top.
Tostadas: A crisp corn tortilla is the plate on which just about anything is served. Top it with a bit of sour cream and salsa to complete a delicious meal.
Huaraches: This thick tortilla is oval shaped and covered with meat, beans, cheese, and lettuce. Sometimes the toppings are cooked inside the dough instead, producing a savory filling. The round version of huaraches is the sope.
So there’s Mexico City Street Eats, Part 2. Now that you know some of the ins and outs of eating the street food in Mexico City, it is time to book a trip, if you haven’t already. If you can’t make the trip, come see us here at El Chubby’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Aurora for a taste of Mexico without the expense of a vacation.