TOP 5 THINGS TO TRY IN MEXICO CITY’S FOOD MARKETS:
1. ESQUITES ASADO:
If you ask any of my friends, they will tell you I’m weirdly addicted to grilled corn on the cob. There is nothing better than eating charred corn on the cob in the summer surrounded by friends. And if you’re like me, then you know that corn off the cob can never even come close to tasting quite as good. That was my adamant opinion until Rocío recommended that I try Esquites Asado, which is essentially grilled corn off the cob tossed with a medley of spices and served with a squeeze of lime on top. Oh my goodness—this was honestly one of the best things I have ever tasted. While you can find corn—both on the cob and off—at nearly every street stall, I had never seen or tried esquites asado until now. Sweet from the corn, slightly charred from the grill, and spicy from the chili, served by locals to locals in one of the largest food markets in Mexico City, esquites asado is a must-try for every foodie visiting Mexico City.
2. CANDIED MANGO WITH CHILI:
Yes, it sounds gross, but mango pieces coated with chili spices are actually ridiculously delicious! As we wandered through our second food market, Rocío pulled us over to a stall selling every snack you could think of—from gummy worms and spiced almonds to garlic peanuts and dried fruit. I was a little weary of trying the chili-coated candied mango, but as soon as it hit my tongue, my taste buds rejoiced. It’s typical to find fresh mango cut into ornate shaped, covered in lime juice and chili spices at street food stalls around Mexico City. Yes, these are tasty, but they do not hold a candle to the bite-size snack I enjoyed in the food market. While I’m not sure I could navigate this labyrinth of a market to find this exact stand without Rocío by my side, these chili-covered candied mango treats could be reason alone to come back to Mexico and eat my way through Mexico City once again.
Side Note: The garlic peanuts mentioned above are DELICIOUS and would probably be #6 in the top things I’ve eaten in Mexico City’s food markets. Going with the theme of unlikely combinations, these garlic peanuts are to die for!
3. GREEN CHORIZO TACOS:
When I first saw the green chorizo, I was reminded of Dr. Seuss’s green eggs and ham and was a bit skeptical. However, this chorizo made green by the addition of lots of cilantro and served in a taco with guacamole, lime, and even more cilantro is delicious! Tucked away in the corner of the food market, it seems that green chorizo tacos are one of the best-kept local foodie secrets in Mexico City. Team up with Rocío and you, too, can experience the amazing flavor of green chorizo in the heart of one of Mexico City’s best and largest food markets!
Click here to link up with Rocío for your own foodie tour of Mexico City!
4. THE MAMEY FRUIT:
One of the best parts of visiting Mexican food markets with Rocío was spending time trying just about every fruit this market had to offer. While all of them were mouth-wateringly delicious and fresh, the mamey fruit took the cake. Covered by a dusky brown skin, the oblong mamey has a deep salmon-colored flesh that tastes exactly like a roasted sweet potato with sugar. The similarities in taste are uncanny—if I had tried mamey while blindfolded, I would have told you I had just eaten a roasted sweet potato or a had a bite of delicious sweet potato pie! I am salivating right now just thinking about it!
Side Note: Be sure to also try Granada China. A Mexican fruit, it tastes just like passion fruit, but even sweeter and more delicious! If you can get past the slimy texture, this is a must-try in Mexico City.
5. TACOS DE CHICHARRÓN:
Chicharrón is a delicious Latin American delicacy, typically served on tacos in Mexico City, and there is no better place to try tacos de chicharrón than in the middle of one of the busiest food markets in the city. Chicharrón refers to pork rind that has been seasoned and, occasionally, deep fried. In Mexico City, it is served atop tacos and covered in salsa verde, avocado, and onions. If you’re a meat-lover like me, then tacos de chicharrón are a must-eat before leaving the city! Just be sure not to get sucked into a tourist trap restaurant when you try them—the best and most authentic tacos de chicharrón are made fresh to order in the middle some of the most amazing and well-hidden food markets of Mexico City.
3 WEIRDEST THINGS TO TRY IN MEXICO CITY’S FOOD MARKETS:
It’s important to keep an open mind while traveling, especially when it comes to trying new foods. While the majority of the dishes I ate when venturing through some of the many food markets in Mexico City with Rocío were delicious and relatively normal, there were certainly quite a few instances when I was pushed out of my comfort zone to try something strange. But thanks to my trusted guide, despite their oddness, each one of these weird foods actually tasted good!
1. MAGUEY WORMS:
These are arguably the grossest sounding but most delicious of the bunch! Crunchy from the fryer and then lightly salted, these maguey worms *almost* tasted like potato chips—just with some added protein. Coming up to the stall that sells maguey worms by the handful, you can see a wide variety of different bugs to try, each still maintaining its natural shape and identity—something I had to take a minute to get over. Thankfully, Rocío was able to give me the low-down on what to try, saving me from choosing poorly and motivating me to actually put that crispy worm in my mouth.
As Rocío puts it, get your revenge on those pesky mosquitos by eating them! And I must say–I feel satisfied knowing that I exacted my revenge on the blood-sucking nuisances that know just how to ruin a good bonfire or camping experience! As for the taste, the mosquitos didn’t taste like much, just a little salty. But next time I see an annoying mosquito, I will smile knowing that I sought out retribution in Mexico City!
Side note: Flying ants and crickets are also available at the same stand. They are definitely worth trying, but I’m not sure if I’d eat them again.
This one might not be so weird or foreign for some people, especially those with more travel experience than me, but this was my first time eating tripe—the edible lining from the stomach of a cow. The tripe was served in a brothy soup, where each of the four types of cow stomach were included—rumen beef tripe, reticulum beef tripe, omasum beef tripe, and abomasum beef tripe. The soup broth was tasty as was the tripe itself, but being a very textually-sensitive eater, I had a hard time getting past the rubbery texture of each type of tripe in my bowl. For those of you who have never tried tripe, it is certainly worth eating just this once. And for those of you who already know you love it, dig in because this brothy tripe soup is delicious!
Whenever I go anywhere new, whether for three days or three months, I always try to remain a traveler and not a tourist. A tourist comes and sees what she wants to see while a traveler opens herself to new experiences and sees and experiences what the host city and country desire to show her. Linking up with Local Guide Rocío was the perfect way to explore Mexico City like a local. We visited hip coffee shops, cute cafes, and a number of bustling hidden markets that were truly a labyrinth of delicious food, fresh flowers, colorful piñatas, and raw meat. After 7 hours of eating, exploring, and chatting, I walked away from my time with Rocío stuffed, happy, and with a much better knowledge of Mexico City from a local foodie’s perspective. Check out Rocío’s tours here so that you, too, can eat like a local in Mexico City!