By Jade Arroyo
The true culture of a place is in its markets and streets. In Mexico, street foods are known as antojitos, meaning “little carving,” and can be casual eats or actual dinners, depending on the occasion. Get to know San Miguel local flavors by trying the street food options. We have selected our favorite street food stands for your delight.
Elotes and esquites
The market is probably the best option for buying corn. You can get your elotes (corn) boiled or roasted and seasoned with lime, salt, chili, mayo, or cheese, or all these ingredients together. Esquites are one of our Mexican favorites; they are a cup of boiled corn kernels mixed with mayonnaise, ground cheese, and chili powder. They’re super cheap and a healthy snack.
The ultimate Mexican food and street bite is the taco. A tortilla (usually made from corn) forms the base of all tacos, which can be filled with anything: every part of the pig, cow, and chicken, stewed (as in a guisado), barbecued (for barbacoa), roasted on a vertical spit (al pastor), cooked atop a griddle (a la plancha), or campechano (a mélange of chopped meats).
People here seem to love the tacos made at the stand on Insurgentes and Hidalgo, open in the afternoon and through late morning hours. You can have basic beef with cilantro, onion, and, lime and also quesadillas, adding hot sauce if you’re fearless. Also, try the breakfast tacos on Calle Nueva; they’re mostly made for guisados. You can grab a freshly made juice at the nearby cart.
Small tin carts sell fruit cocktails of papaya, watermelon, and strawberries covered with whipped cream, honey, and granola. If you want a more savory breakfast, they also sell generous portions of cucumber, jicama, or carrot seasoned with lime, salt, chili and, in the best cases, chamoy —a sour-salty-sweet fruit sauce. These carts are all over town, but our favorite ones are those located at the markets and the one on the corner of Canal and Hernandez Macias. They sell a whole coconut with a straw, just like on the beach.
Tamales are a succulent choice for both breakfast and lunch. They’re made from corn dough, filled, wrapped in corn leaves, and steamed. You can find these all over, too. We love Tamales Doña Ali at the Ignacio Ramírez market because of the large variety of fillings.
For a healthy take on tacos, gorditas, and tamales (vegan ones!), go to the Organic Market on Saturdays, open from the morning until about 2:30pm. The corn used for dough and the vegetables used for cooking are organic, plus they’re cooked without the extra fat and cholesterol you find at the classic street stands.