Top 5 Mexican Street Foods
to Try on Your Next Vacation

Written by
Reviewed by Gloria Tsang, RD
Published in December 2010

( As winter approaches and the wet, cold, snowy weather sets in, many people start to plan vacations in sunnier locations. If you're planning a trip to Mexico this winter, keep an eye out for street food vendors. You'll find them in every Mexican town, and their food is some of the cheapest and tastiest you can find. Plus - unlike your hotel restaurant - street food offers you an authentic taste of real Mexican favorites.

Top 5 Street Foods to Try in Mexico

When dining on Mexican street food, don't expect to find giant burritos and nachos swimming in cheese, like you'd find in a Mexican restaurant back home. Instead, look for small servings (and matching prices), intense flavors, and fresh ingredients. Here are our top 5 picks.

  • Tacos

    TacosIn Mexico, tacos are served on soft tortillas, rather than the deep-fried crunchy tortillas we have at home, making them much lower in fat. Pick up a pair of tacos filled with thin-sliced meat with a side of pickled onions for about 10 pesos, less than $1.00. Pile on the free, fresh, hand-cut salsa to up your veggie intake.

  • Tamales

    TamalesTamales are made of corn dough, sometimes with added meat, steamed in a corn husk. The corn dough can be heavy, but steaming means no fat is added in the cooking process. One tamale costs about 15 pesos (just over $1.00) and is enough for two to share.

  • Shrimp or fish skewer

    Shrimp or Fish SkewerOften served on the beach, the seafood on these skewers is as fresh as you can get. The shrimp are served in their shells, and the fish have the heads attached, so these are not for the squeamish, but for those who brave the work involved, there's not much better than seafood this fresh. Served with slices of lime, these skewers go for about 10 pesos (less than $1.00).

  • Fruit cup

    Fruit CupWhen we hear "fruit cup," we think of unidentifiable canned fruit cut into tiny pieces. Not in Mexico, where it's actually large slices of fresh fruit like pineapple, mango, coconut, and watermelon, peeled, cut, and served in a plastic drinking cup. These are often found in tourist areas, making them among the more expensive street food options, but at around 30 pesos (about $2.50), it's a great way to load up on some incredible tasty fruit.

  • Agua fresca

    Agua FrescaAgua fresca literally means "fresh water," but in street food lingo, it's actually a fruit drink made by mixing fresh, blended fruit with water to create a fruit drink with the consistency of juice. Street versions are served in small plastic bags (the size of a sandwich bag) with a straw, for 10 pesos (less than $1.00). Try the watermelon or cantaloupe for a really surprising taste experience

The Bottom Line

When traveling, part of immersing yourself in your destination is eating the local food. Experience the real tastes and flavors of Mexico - and get a full meal for two for less than $10 - by indulging in these top Mexican street food picks.

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