There cannot be a definite guide for what the streets of Mexico City, aka CDMX, have to offer when it comes to food. From sweet to salty, the options are enough to make the indecisive go crazy. For me, growing up visiting CDMX yearly + having lived there on and off for 2 years, I personally have must-have cravings every time I’m back to visit. Luckily, all of these can be satisfied in virtually every neighborhood and around every corner of town.
For those seeking to satisfy your street food cravings, I’m sharing a few of my favorites with you with 100% proclamation that you must absolutely try at least one of the below as you make your way through this city. This EAT + DRINK Guide is specially curated with my meat-loving foodies in mind. Not a fan of the carne, do not despair. A veggie edition is in the making. In the meantime, get ready to salivate as you scroll through a slice of heaven often only found throughout the calles of Mexico.
DE DESAYUNAR: QUESADILLAS + PAMBAZOS
Quesadillas indeed hold a worldwide connection to Mexican food for the average traveler. Yet, you have no understanding of what a quesadilla can be unless you’ve had one made with a freshly handmade tortilla, filled with goodness other than cheese. Potato, picadillo (ground beef), carne enchilada, nopales (cacti), chorizo, flor de calabaza (squash blossom), huitlacoche, or a mix of any two. These are a few options of this style of quesadilla that is a Mexico City classic found here and in its neighboring state Hidalgo.
Typically, wherever quesadillas are served there are also pambazos. Traditional sandwiches like nothing you’ve ever imagined. The torta-style bread is dipped in a guajillo pepper salsa and grilled on both sides just before being prepared with guisado (braised-dish) of potatoes and longaniza (spanish sausage). The pambazos are finished with spreads on the bread and then topped with lettuce, sour cream, cheese, and salsita.
HORA DEL LUNCH: TIANGUIS TIME
A tianguis can be described as a weekly gathering of vendors and cooks with their close neighbors. The best way to know when or where exactly a tianguis “happens” is to ask a local.
These are my favorite tacos, which you’ll likely find at every tianguis:
Bistec con Papas: A glorious combination of carne asada and french fries made into a taco. Ask for a “campechano” (chorizo + bistec) for an even more eclectic combination of texture and flavor. Don’t forget to top with a squeeze of lime juice + fresh salsas.
Taco de Mixiote: Mixiote is a type of Mexican barbecue, often made of lamb meat. It’s mild on its own without much spice, but exceptionally delicious when chile + onions are added. Add a few drops of lime juice to finish and enjoy.
EN LA NOCHE: “LOS DE SUADERO”
This is one of my favorite styles of tacos ever. Thanks to the late night food carts, they are also very popular in the after-party scene. When I was in the city, I had them for dinner almost every day. And while this came with consequences and an advisory that you do not do the same, you definitely must try them at least once.
Suadero is the meat found on the part between the belly and the leg of a cow, cooked and then fried with salt. Its texture is super smooth in comparison to other meats. Tacos are normally served topped with onion, cilantro, and even salsa. To order, ask your taquero for tacos “con todo” which means with everything on them. Don’t leave without trying “tacos campechanos” which comes with half suadero, half longaniza meat.
You can find these on almost every block of the city. And they will all be good, but I have been lucky enough to discover the best which can be found at Tacos Rubens. Worth a trip to Condesa or Napoles area of CDMX all on their own.
Y DE TOMAR: LOS REFRESCOS
If you ask me, all of the above foods pair to perfection with a “Coca bien fría,” a very cold Coca-Cola (and I mean it, in Mexico the temperature of your soft drinks is nothing to be played with). But other local choices are not short of offering an authentic pairing and delicious companionship to your meal. Jarritos is a Mexican company founded in the early 80s offering 6 different flavors, out of which Tutifruti (all the fruits) is the one to try. If you are into juice, Del Valle will be your go to. The apple and orange juices are the most popular, while they also offer other flavor nectars. Sidral Mundet has been Mexico’s favorite apple soda for over 100 years. This soda is believed to have medical benefits; as in, your Mexican grandma would buy you a Sidral if you are feeling under the weather.