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Self-Guided DIY Food Tour: Mexico City

Self-Guided Street Food Tour in Mexico City – Why DIY?

We arrived in Mexico City and were awed by the food scene. Colourful markets, tacos on every corner and street vendors wafting cinnamon aromas from their churros stands. We were sampling the fantastic food every day, but wanted to make sure we didn’t miss anything – cue a food tour.

After watching and loving Somebody Feed Phil – Mexico on Netflix, we were inspired to do a food tour in Mexico City. We wanted to experience some of the more outlandish and quintessential dishes that he showcases on the program. There were some fantastic options for food tours online (Eat MexicoSabores Food ToursMexican Food Tours). All of these had good reviews, and they seemed to cover several types of Mexican food over the course of a three hour tour. So, we thought we were sorted.

Unfortunately not.

When we scrolled down and saw the cost of these Mexico City food tours, ranging in price from $65 US to $85 US per person, we thought again. This may seem like a reasonable price, but we’d become accustomed to street food for a fraction of this. A whole plate of tacos at a street stall costs about 65 pesos / €3 / $3.50 US.

So, we decided to challenge ourselves to plot out our own self-guided, do-it-yourself Mexico City Street Food Tour. Here are the results!

Planning our Mexico City Street Food Tour

First off, we did some research on what classic Mexican food and drinks we hadn’t tried yet, and made a list of everything we wanted to try on our self-guided food tour.

  • Tacos (because you can never have enough)
  • Tostadas
  • Gorditas
  • Pulque
  • Mezcal

To plan our DIY food tour, Google Maps, Tripadvisor and travel blogs were our friends. We got started by re-watching some of Phil Rosenthal’s show and marking off some of the places he visited on Google Maps. From there, we googled ‘best street food in Mexico City‘, ‘Mexico street food blog‘ and a host of other things, and continued to mark interesting spots on the map.

Next up, it was time to stitch these together. We wanted to walk for the most part, and didn’t want to have to take too many Ubers or race around different neighborhoods in the city, so we stuck to the centre.

Street Food Tour

We didn’t want to get started on the food tour first thing in the morning, so we had breakfast at the hotel and spent the morning exploring the Museo de Templo Mayor, right in the historic centre. Mike’s written more about this, and the other museums we visited in Mexico City in another blog post. This meant we were well positioned and ready for some tacos at about midday, which was ideal.

Stop 1 – El Huequito

El Huequito, Ayuntamiento 21, Colonia Centro, Centro, 06050 Ciudad de México, CDMX

We had a fifteen minute stroll from the museum to our first stop. El Huequito is famous for bringing Tacos Al Pastor to Mexico City. These are tacos made with marinated pork meat which is roasted on a spit, almost like kebab meat. El Huequito is a chain that has lots of restaurants in the city, but this is their original hole-in-the-wall location. We ordered the tacos from the stall and seasoned them with lots of spicy (picante) salsa. Delicious.

Stop 2 – Mercado de San Juan

Mercado de San Juan, Calle de Ernesto Pugibet No. 21, Mexico City, Mexico

Stop number two was just around the corner from El Huequito. No food tour in Mexico City would be complete without a visit to one of their famous markets. This is an indoor market, but is surrounded by streets that are also full of market goods. Everything was on sale here – fruit, vegetables, meat, chillis, spices, tea, herbal medicine, clothes and dodgy electronics. The meat stalls all had their produce out on trays on the counter in the heat, with flies buzzing around. Maybe not the best hygiene practices. We stayed away from those sections and got some papaya, mango and watermelon as a safer bet.

We also sat down at one of the hot food stalls in the market, and ordered a tostada and a gordita.

Gorditas use a made from corn flour (masa harina) that’s shaped into a thick dough, then deep fried, sliced like a pitta and filled with meat and cheese. And then fried again. So, the word gordita, meaning ‘little fatty’ is fitting for these twice-fried treats.

Tostadas are made using regular tortillas, which are fried on their own until they’re crispy and then topped with refried beans, lettuce, onion, cheese, coriander (cilantro in Mexico) and meat.

Thumbs up from both of us for both of these.

Stop 3 – Pulqueria Las Duelistas

Pulqueria Las Duelistas, Aranda 28, Colonia Centro, Centro, 06400 Ciudad de México

One of our aims on this tour was to sample some of Mexico’s classic drinks. Pulque (pronounced pull-kay) is made from fermented agave, which is also the first step in making tequila. It’s about 4-6% alcohol, similar to beer.

We didn’t know what to expect when we walked into the famous Pulqueria. Definitely not graffitied walls, loud juke box music and packed tables. It didn’t seem like a popular tourist spot, based on the stares we got when we walked in the door.

Mike went for the original flavour and I ordered strawberry and cinnamon. We decided to stick with glasses, rather than going for the 2L jugs that most of the local men were drinking from directly.

It was the strangest taste ever. The original flavour tasted sort of sour and musty, the strawberry one thankfully just tasted like strawberry. The texture of both was weird though, very viscous and gloopy. Overall, not the most pleasant drink we’ve ever had, but a cool place to try.

Stop 4 – El Moro

El Moro, Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 42, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX

Churros are made from dough that’s piped into tube-like shapes, fried and covered in cinnamon sugar. El Moro is a hugely popular churreria in Mexico City, serving top class churros and Mexican hot chocolate. Usually, there are very long lines but we were lucky and managed to get a table inside. We got a serving of four churros with chocolate sauce, and mini consuelos, which were round pieces of churros sandwiched with ice cream. We were getting pretty full at this point, so we didn’t manage the hot chocolate, but it looked great.

Stop 5 – Museo del Tequila y el Mezcal

Museo del Tequila and Mezcal, Plaza Garibaldi s/n, Cuauhtémoc, Centro, 06010 Ciudad de México, CDMX

We had a well needed fifteen minute walk to our final stop on our food and drink tour – Museo del Tequila y el Mezcal. The museum rounded up the tour very nicely. It wasn’t huge, but went through the full production process for tequila and mezcal, including the regulations that need to be followed before the spirit can be labelled ‘tequila’. There was also a glass case with hundreds of bottles of tequila and mezcal and history on mariachi dancing.

The tour ended on the top floor in the onsite bar, where our entry got us samples of tequila with a slice of lime and mezcal with a slice of orange. The bar was decorated brightly, with a great view over Garibaldi Square.

Alternative Stops – Self-guided Mexico City Food Tour

Unfortunately, there’s only so much food we can handle in one day, so five stops on our food tour was our limit. We had starred a few extra places in case of any mishaps, but didn’t get to these ones.

  • Taqueria Miranda (Calle Tres Guerras 27, Colonia Centro, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX) – This is a food truck style taco spot that’s open until four in the afternoon. It is renowned for serving great tacos.
  • Pulquería La Hija de Los Apaches (Claudio Bernard 149, Doctores, 06720 Ciudad de México, CDMX) – For any pulque fans, this place is meant to have a great selection.
  • Churros rellenos (street food vendors) – We ended up stumbling upon these a few times during our stay in Mexico City. Rellenos means ‘stuffed’, so these are basically a big churro that’s stuffed with chocolate, caramel or condensed milk. Yum.

The Cost Breakdown – Street Food in Mexico City

  • Tacos at El Huequito – 75 MX / €3.23 / $3.90 US
  • Fruit, Tostada and Gordita at Mercado de San Juan – 62 MX / €2.67 / $3.20 US
  • Pulque at Pulqueria Las Duelistas – 35 MX / €1.51 / $1.80 US
  • Churros, coffee and water at El Moro – 165 MX / €7.13 / $8.60 US
  • Entry to Museo del Tequila y Mezcal – 120 MX / €5.17 / $6.20

So the grand total was – 457 MX / €19.71 / $23.70 US. This was for both of us, so works out at less than 10 euro per person. Bargain.

The tour took us about four hours, and we were totally stuffed at the end – there was a lot of deep fried food included.

The organised, tour-guide led street food tours in Mexico City are a great option if you’re limited on time and want to see the street food highlights in the city without any headaches. But, if you’re on a tight budget (like us!), have a little more time to research and have offline maps downloaded on your phone, then a DIY tour is a great option.

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