Carts, bicycles, trucks, shanties and stalls steam and bustle with the making of fabulous street food throughout Mexico. More than half of the country’s population indulges in al fresco offerings, because they are deliciously irresistible. In fact, in Spanish, this roadside fare is dubbed antojitos, meaning «little cravings.» The message is clear: These tasty bites hit the spot so satisfyingly well, that you’ll be left with a craving for more. From tacos, tamales, sandwiches, and even hearty stews to pastries, popsicles, and fresh fruit juices—Mexican street cuisine earns its acclaim as one of the best street-food scenes in the world. But you don’t have to cross the border to enjoy these dishes. Make one of these authentic street food recipes!
A refreshing blend of fruit and water, agua fresca has its roots in Aztec civilization, when travelers between rural farms and the capital Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) muddled fruit and water to stay hydrated on the long journey. Today, it’s a staple of Mexican street food, coming in all manner of fruity flavors, like tamarind—a popular ingredient throughout the country, beloved for its tart yet sweet flavor.
Street vendors sell this healthy breakfast dish of fresh fruit topped with crema, a mixture of Mexican crema, yogurt, and sweetened condensed milk. «They originated in street food carts in Guadalajara, Mexico, and are commonly topped with shredded coconut, raisins, and granola,» says Yoly.
Writings from 16th Century Mexico City document the Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernando Cortes, treating European captains to a taco feast. Now beloved across the world, tacos are perhaps the most famous Mexican street food. «Tacos al pastor is a quintessential Mexican dish with tender pork and pineapple marinated in a savory and aromatic chile sauce,» says docmancito, who suggests serving in warm corn tortillas with tomatillo salsa.
Tamales originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 BC and were considered a sacred food of the gods by the Aztec, Maya, Olmeca, and Tolteca civilizations. Masa dough is filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables or chilies and steamed in a corn husk. «This authentic red pork tamales recipe comes from Jalisco, Mexico,» says Mega. «The tamales are filled with pork shoulder and a spicy tomato sauce.»
A staple of Mayan cuisine, corn has been enjoyed for centuries. But across Mexico these days, the choice corn is known as elote, which is grilled or boiled corn on the cob smothered in butter, mayonnaise, cotija cheese, and lime juice. Some eloteros, or people selling elote from carts, also throw salt and spices for an added kick and click here!