1001 Ways to Eat in Mexico City and not Die Trying
Hungry? A young man asked me while crossing attentive Madero Street in the heart of Mexico City (CDMX), immediately in my mind I answered “of course man, very”. That day I left home super early and of course, I didn’t have time to eat breakfast or even take something with me to eat. It was now 4 pm and here I am still without eating anything, not even a snack. Like me, many are in a rush and find themselves with little time to eat, the problem, in time we start to have health problems. It is precisely this lack of time that often forces me to seek out something fast to eat on the street.
A few days ago I promised a friend from Germany that I would make for him a map that would help him to find places to eat, safe places, where he wouldn’t get a serious stomach ache or even a small one. But when I thought about this, I had to explain to him that mostly this is a matter of stomach
Toughen your Stomach First
You could say that it’s a gamble to eat in a place that you would find on the street and is cheap, it must be in your DNA to have that adventure spirit and although it’s a risk, there is nothing like finding that delicious place. I mean, personally I have never had a serious stomach infection, I think my stomach has adapted to my hectic lifestyle of running from place to place. For over 10 years I have learned some tips that you will not find on the cover of a food magazine.
First of all, one needs to not let anxiety take over, I know it’s inevitable sometimes, but one has to try to overcome that, because if you want a place that is fast because you are in a hurry, you will gobble down the food which is never good.
Take the necessary time to find a good place to eat, the opportunity to try different and new things. I ate at the same place for 3 years until one day it was not open anymore and I had to find another place. So attachments and sentiment are useless. Later on I discovered another good place to eat and that was very rewarding.
Fast Food Options
What to eat in Mexico City (CDMX)? There a lot of options, especially what we call “Antojitos” (traditional Mexican food) and they are delicious. There are all kinds of these that serve dishes like pork gorditas, sopes, tlacoyos, pambazos, quesadillas, tacos, tortas and tamales. Of course, I would not recommend these for your daily diet since they are not as healthy and balanced as we need, but you can get them all around this city and you can enjoy them for a very affordable price, especially on one of those days that you couldn’t eat at home. But literally in order to have a healthy diet it’s better to prepare something at home, and If you cannot then there is always the option of “Antojitos”. However, be careful where you are eat because it might not be the cleanest and safest place, so ask your close friends or a local if they are familiar with certain places.
When you arrive take a look before ordering and see how the food is prepared, are they are careful when they take the money, is it the same person that is preparing your food? Check too that the plates and tables are clean, this will give an indication if they take the time to properly wash the vegetables and other ingredients. Before deciding it is good to pass by several times to see if many people come and go, a busy restaurant is always an good indication. One thing that has become clear to me is that taxi drivers know where to eat and usually it is a great option, their recommendation is the best option most of the times.
There are also the so-called “Fondas” or economic kitchen where you can get a whole meal for a small price. These ones start to offer food after 12 pm, in my case I frequent these places once or twice a week, and I could say it’s the best option when you are very hungry. Something that I personally always look for besides the price is the decor of the place, how the tables look and and how the the staff look.
The truth is that years of experience have given me a good eye to to know where to eat and where not too. Hopefully one day I can tell you that I no longer need to eat on the street and that time I have enough time for all the things I have to do, but right now I can’t.
On average, eating on the street is about $100.00 pesos every day, if you compare this with what you would spend eating at home, then common sense tells us that we are throwing away good money. But since it is so hard to change our habits, the best thing is to train our sense of smell to eat on the street. This is what I have told to my friend from German and he has visited some places but he is not so convinced. In time I hope he will find those places to be a delight to eat in.