Street Food in Mexico City – MOTW2

Mexican cuisine is so important that it is on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Its basic elements include maize, beans, chilli peppers, tomatoes and avocados, which all existed here before the Spanish conquest. The colonial period added rice, meat and cheese to the mix. This episode is all about food sold on the street in Mexico City, or what some people call garnachas.


Tamales are maize dumplings filled with sauces and meat or white cheese. You can usually find rajas, verdes, mole poblano and sweet ones such as chocolate or pineapple.

Tacos de Canasta

This means “tacos in a basket” and will usually include fillings such as re-fried beans, chicharrón and potato.

Tlacoyos & Gorditas

Tlacoyos are oval-shaped maize cakes fried or toasted and gorditas are round maize pastries fried or baked, but they have similar ingredients such as re-fried beans, fava beans and chicharrón.


Barbacoa is mutton cooked in a pit and covered with maguey leaves.


Carnitas are pork simmered in oil or lard and served up as tacos.


Sopes look like a very thick tortilla with pinched sides, holding re-fried beans, crumbled cheese, red or green salsa, lettuce, onions and sour cream.


Quesadillas are folded tortillas containing a huge variety of fillings, with or without cheese.


Tortas are bread roll sandwiches fried on a hot plate. You can get combinations of beef, chicken, and varieties with suggestive names of different nationalities – Cubanas usually include everything. Pambazos are a kind of torta dipped in sauce with chorizo and lettuce fillings.


Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) – a novel by Laura Esquivel that weaves recipes and fiction together in a magical realist style. There is also a film of Como agua para chocolate directed by Alfonso Arau.

Chef – a film directed by and starring Jon Favreau, which is a delicious meditation on creative freedom and the Cuban sandwich.

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