Blogger Mal eating street food in Mexico City.
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Best Street Food In Mexico City: Where & What To Eat? – By Locals

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If you’re looking to bite into the best street food in Mexico City, you’ve come to the right place! The capital is a great place for people who like to eat, no matter if you’re a red-blooded meat eater or a conscientious vegetarian.

Over the past few years, we’ve eaten our way through all the most famous delicacies in the capital, from tamale to elote. While our go-to is still tacos, there’s been enough room left in our bellies for us to try the beloved tortas at La Esquina del Chilaquil as well as the enormous gordita at El Chulo.

In this Mexico City street food guide, we’ll take you through some of our fav types of roadside delicacies, as well as revealing the best places to go for authentic mouthfuls of tlayudas and tostadas.

Forks at the ready, it’s time to tuck in!

⚠️ 10 Survival Tips For Your Trip To Mexico City. We live here and know both the amazing and the ugly sides of the city. ➡️ ➡️ Get your FREE Guide here.
🌟STREET FOOD TOUR🌟
Blogger Mal during the best street food tour Mexico City.

TACO TOUR IN ROMA NORTE

Prefer to explore on a Mexico City street food tour? This tour is a super fun way to learn about the taco culture and taste some of the most famous tacos in CDMX. One of the best evenings we’ve had! 🌮 😋

12 Must Try Foods In Mexico City

Many of the most popular street foods in CDMX are variations on the theme of tortillas. Some are small and some are large, some are soft and some are crispy, some are covered in gooey cheese and some are stuffed with Poblano chilis, but each one is a delicious experience in its own right!

#1 Tacos – The Most Famous Street Food In Mexico City.

Tacos are one of the most famous foods of Mexico City
Our favourite cochinita pibil taco

You can’t discuss the best street food Mexico City has to offer without talking about tacos. These little gems are a CDMX staple, coming in many different flavours and styles.

One of our favourite versions is probably tacos al pastor, made with marinated pork meat that’s been roasted on a vertical spit. It’s among the most common types you’ll find in the city, along with suadero (a specific cut of the cow) and cochinita pibil, which is spiced with achiote and tenderised with citrus juices.

Not all tacos have to be meaty, with several places in CDMX specialising in seafood tacos (like El Pescadito) as well as meat-free tacos (like La Pitahaya Vegana).

For something super cheap and a little bit different, try a taco de canasta, aka a basket taco. These very local bites are filled with stews of different descriptions and then placed inside a lined basket, where they are steamed until soft and chewy.

Since they are premade, you often see people selling them not at a stall but off the back of a bike.

#2 Quesadillas

Quesedilla is one of the best traditional food in Mexico City

Quesadillas are another famous food in Mexico City that is widely sold at street-side stands. They’re often made with the same kind of tortilla as a taco but are larger and oval shaped.

Chicken tinga (shredded chicken stewed in a tomato-based sauce), longaniza (a spiced sausage like chorizo), and rajas con crema (Poblano peppers in cream) are all common ingredients. We like to have a handful of squash blossoms thrown in for some added texture and flavour if they’re available. 

CDMX’s quesadilla quirk is that they aren’t automatically sold with cheese as they are in other parts of Mexico and around the world. Instead, you have to request your tortilla ‘con queso’ (with cheese).

#3 Tamales – One Of The Traditional foods of Mexico City.

Bloggers Robin and Mal making tamales, one of the traditional street food in Mexico City.
Tamales

If you’re after a hearty breakfast, tamales are the best street food in Mexico City for you! 

Made from corn dough that’s been mixed with pork lard, a variety of fillings can be thrown in, before it’s all sealed up inside a corn husk and steamed.

Some of our favourite tamales come from Dona Emi, where they sell traditional fillings like pollo con verde (shredded chicken with salsa verde) and rajas con queso (Poblano chilis with Oaxacan cheese).

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll also find tamales that have been sugared up with honey, raisins, or more exotic fruits like pineapple.

#4 Gorditas

street food Mexico City
best street food in Mexico City

Another great breakfast option to eat on the go, gorditas are basically like corn dough pockets. You’ll see them on the streets of CDMX stuffed with things like frijoles refritos (refried beans), carnitas (slow-cooked pork), and chicharron.

Gordita literally means ‘chubby,’ and these fat handfuls live up to their name by being the best street food in Mexico City for when you feel like pigging out. 

We sometimes go to this place in Roma Norte called El Chulo where they sell huge gorditas that are big enough to share between two hungry people.

#5 Tostadas

Mal in the market in Coyoacan
foods of Mexico City

A crispy take on the tortilla, tostadas are usually about taco size but fried. 

You can basically put anything on a tostada – and a lot of street food vendors do! Chicken, pork, beef, and prawn are all common, topped off with chopped lettuce, beans, some grated cheese, and (quite regularly in CDMX at least) avocado.

Some of the best tostadas we’ve had in the capital were at Coyoacan Market, where there’s a stall that specialises in them. The octopus is an easy win for your stomach, but if you feel adventurous, how about a tostada with cow’s feet? Let us know how it is!

#6 Tortas – Fav Street Food In Mexico City For A Quick Breakie.

Blogger Robin eating a torta in Condesa
Street food torta in Condesa Mexico City

The Mexican version of a doorstop sandwich, a good torta must be made with fresh bread, otherwise the whole thing’s a waste of time.

You’ll see this traditional food in Mexico City filled with melted cheese, fried chicken, cochinita pibil – the variations are endless, but the best ones look like they’re ready to explode!

Our absolute favourite torta place is La Esquina del Chilaquil (more details further down the page), but for something historic, La Texcocana has been servings tortas since 1936.

Their tortas are a little more modest in size than you’ll see elsewhere, but they stick to tradition by slathering their bread with smashed avocado, before topping it off with your choice of hams, cheeses, or carnitas, then garnishing it with chipotle chilis.

#7 Tlayudas

Tlayuda is the best street food in Mexico City for vegetarians.

Imagine a tortilla the size of a large plate, lightly charred and generously covered with meat, refried beans, cheese, radishes, and salsa. That’s the beauty of a tlayuda.

Although this street eat originally hails from Oaxaca, it’s also become a famous food in Mexico City, where it has developed a thriving following among the Chilangos.

Traditionally, tlayudas come with one of three kinds of meat topping: cecina enchilada (dried strips of seasoned pork), chorizo, or tasajo (cured slices of beef). 

We sometimes treat ourselves and order a tlayuda topped with all three meats at Xaachila. This bustling joint offers authentic toppings like quesillo (Oaxacan cheese) and chapulines (fried grasshoppers), which are surprisingly good!

#8 Elote

Elote - vegetarian street food in Mexico City.

Arguably the most popular vegetarian street food in Mexico City, elote is another name for the humble sweetcorn, grilled whole and stuck on a stick. It’s then smeared with mayo, coated with cheese, and finally dusted with chili powder.

It’s hard to describe just how good this simple street snack is – plus it’s a lot easier to eat than most of the other common foods of Mexico City.

You’ll often see elote sold from carts alongside esquites, another sweetcorn-based eat. With esquites, the kernels are scraped off the cob and into a little container before being accessorised with condiments. You can then just stick a spoon in and scoop the corn into your mouth, although we never find it as satisfying as tearing in elote!

#9 Sopes

The sopes we made on our cooking class in Mexico City

Another variation on corn dough, sopes are a bit like a tostada, but thicker and therefore, less crispy after being fried.

You’ll mainly be able to tell the difference because sopes should have turned up edges, almost like the lip of a bowl, designed to hold the toppings in – often unsuccessfully, in our experience!

There’s a great place we discovered as part of a tour around the lesser-visited area of Santa Maria la Ribera called Quesadillas y Sopes Lupita, which does some of the best sopes in town.

#10 Chilaquiles

famous food to try in Mexico City

Chilaquiles is a classic brekkie option that’s often unfairly ignored when it comes to discussions about the best street food in Mexico City. 

Admittedly, we are guilty of mostly ordering it at brunch spots like Milo’s, a cute restaurant not far from our apartment in Condesa. That being said, we’ve also had excellent versions at simpler joints like Doña Judith y Don Chava, a great stop-off if you’re in the Juarez area.

The basic ingredient of chilaquiles is leftover tortillas, torn up into chip-sized pieces and fried until crispy. They’re then topped with salsa roja or verde (or both) and crumbled cheese.

We usually get ours with frijoles and fried eggs as well.

#11 Churros – Fav Street Food In Mexico City for Desert Lovers!

Blogger Mal eating churros
Street food in Mexico City

Probably the most famous sweet treat Mexico has introduced to the world, churros are incredibly more-ish fried fingers of dough that are dusted with cinnamon and sugar.

Although you can find plenty of holes-in-the-wall that sell these delicious morsels, there’s really only one place to go for a classic indulgence: Churrería El Moro. A chain with branches in Centro, Condesa, Polanco, and other heavily frequented parts of town, the brand has been in business since 1935.

They sell their perfectly made churros with a choice of dips, including the ever-popular chocolate, as well as condensed milk, hazelnut, and cajeta (caramelised goat’s milk).

#12 Nieves

Nieve ice cream is one of the best street food in Mexico City.
Bloggers Mal and Robin trying our nieves - best street food Mexico City for gelato lovers.

Literally meaning ‘snows’, the term ‘nieves’ covers a whole range of frozen dessert sins, from rich ice creams to fruity sorbets.

Most stalls you come across will sell flavours like lemon and orange, but quite a few have also jumped on the modern bandwagon with things like Nutella.

If you want to try the old-school style, there’s an easily missed place called Nieves 100% Artesanales, not far from the Zocalo. The flavours get funky, but the style of the nieves is true to tradition.

Where To Find The Best Mexico City Street Food?

Now you know about some of the best street food in Mexico City, the next step is to find it! We’ve already mentioned a few places where we go for our ‘antojitos’ (literally ‘little cravings’), but here are some of our most reliable, regular hangouts.

📍Mercado Roma – Best For Trendy Street Food.

Blogger Robin at Mercado Roma.
Mercado Roma Food Court

This stylish but laidback food court has a mixture of stalls selling an international smorgasbord of street eats, complemented by a couple of bars.

You can find most of the Mexican classics here, including tacos, tamales, quesadillas, and chilaquiles. 

As it’s very much aimed at the younger crowd, there’s something for most dietary types. You can go down the traditional tacos carnitas route or try the vegan-friendly tacos at Gold Taco, which sells a ‘chicharron’ made from seitan.

Who says that the vegetarian street food Mexico City offers has to be healthy?

Where: Google Location

📍Mercado Medellin – Best For Comida Corrida.

The Medellin Market is filled with local stalls selling fruit, veg, flowers, homewares – and, of course, street food!

We first came here as part of a cookery course that included a visit to the market so that the chef could show us where he shops for his ingredients, but it’s perfectly navigable on your own, especially compared with other Mexico City markets such as La Merced or Sonora.

There are quite a few casual fondas here that do a ‘comida corrida,’ which is basically like an affordable set menu that covers common Mexican dishes, served up in double-quick time. You might not be visiting on your lunch hour like some of the other patrons, but that’s no reason not to indulge in the tasty savings!

Where: Google Location

📍La Esquina del Chilaquil – Best For Tortas.

torta street food
Blogger Robin eating a torta in Condesa

This place is well known in foodie circles for having some of the best street food in Mexico City under its roof – or, more accurately, its pop-up tent. 

In particular, La Esquina del Chilaquil specialises in tortas. There are only a couple of options, but you can’t go wrong with anything from these super chefs.

Judging from our highly unscientific data-gathering method of staring at what other people order, the most popular option seems to be the milanesa, which is essentially a breaded chicken cutlet. Our fav, though, is the saucy cochinita pibil. If you can’t decide between breaded chicken and conchinita pibil, simply ask for “una torta con todo” (a sandwich with everything), which is always a good option.

Whichever one you choose, it comes served loaded with chilaquiles, salsa rojo or salsa verde, cheese, and a healthy dose of refried beans.

Where: Google Location

📍Jenni’s Street Quesadillas – Best For Quesadillas.

Jenni's Quesadillas is a great spot for street food in Mexico Ciy

This is the place to get quesadillas in the capital. Run by a lady named Jenni; this stand has some of the best street food in Mexico City if you’re after big tortilla wraps made from blue corn masa.

Considering it’s just a pop-up stall, there’s quite a bit of choice on the menu. Huitlacoche (a kind of corn fungus that’s a bit of a Mexican delicacy) is something you definitely need to try as a quesadilla filling at least once, although our go-to is the flor de calabaza (aka zucchini flower). 

Where: Google Location

📍Corner Of Insurgentes & Alvaro Obregon

street food places in Mexico City

A buzzing little corner of street food stalls, this place is a great location to embark on your very own self-guided tour of CDMX’s most popular antojitos (treats).

There’s a place doing tacos de guisado (stewed meats and veggies), a place doing tacos al pastor, a place doing tortas, a fresh juice place – essentially, a little bit of everything.

Our recommendation? Buy one thing from each stall and try them all!

Where: Google Location

📍Mercado de San Juan Pugibet – Best For Unusual Eats.

Mercado San Juan is a great place to try street food in Mexico City
street food at Mercado San Juan Mexico City

Many a Mexico City street food tour stops for a bite in the Mercado de San Juan because it’s filled with out-of-the-ordinary delicacies. 

There’s a particularly extensive number of edible creepy-crawlies to try, as well as a rather good selection of cheese and cured meat.

Depending on the stall, you can try chapulines (grasshoppers) served over tacos or tostadas topped with crocodile meat, as well as slightly more pedestrian fare like tortas with serrano ham and lightly flavoured nieves made with local fruits.

Wash it all down with glasses of wine, tequila, or mezcal, which are abundant.

Where: Google Location

📍Plaza de Santo Domingo – Best For Tacos.

Taco El Puma is our favourite street food place for tacos

El Puma, off the Plaza de Santo Domingo in the Centro Historico, does some of the best street food Mexico City has to offer at a bargain price.

It’s our favourite place for tacos al pastor, but they also do tacos with suadero and campechano (a mishmash of beef steak, longaniza, and chicharron).

El Puma isn’t the only great contender for best street food in Mexico City that we’ve tried around Santo Domingo Square. Right beside it is El Huarache Loco, which does a booming trade in quesadillas, sopes, and gorditas.

A few more doors down, there’s also a very basic-looking place that does some tremendous tlacoyos (a kind of thick corn masa tortilla).

Where: Google Location

Best Street Food In Mexico City: FAQs

Is it safe to eat street food in Mexico City?

Can you eat street food in Mexico City? Absolutely! We regularly eat at roadside stands and holes-in-the-wall without ill effects, including our fav neighbourhood taco joint, El Kaliman. The key is to choose busy places, especially where a separate person handles cash.

Best Street Food In Mexico City: Final Word

Writing this post about the best street food in Mexico City has been one of the hardest things to do – mainly because it’s made us so darn hungry! While we’ve tried to provide a steer on places to go and things to try, don’t feel like you can’t be a bit spontaneous. 

As long as you obey the basic rules of street food sampling that we mentioned above, you shouldn’t encounter anything worse than a tingling tongue from too much chilli!

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