A lifetime may be spent in Mexico’s Distrito Federal, where tacos and sudados are sold from bike baskets, large steamers of tamales are peddled from tricycle carts, and tempting aromas waft from simmering stovetop pots in small fondas. While the city is home to renowned chefs such as Enrique Olvera and Ricardo Muoz Zurita, there are fantastic culinary discoveries around every corner. No matter how difficult you try, you’ll never be able to consume everything on the street food scene.

Here’s a short overview to get you started.

1. Tacos al pastor

Lebanese immigrants brought this seasoned, spit-roasted pork to Mexico City, where it is now served into the early hours of the morning. Chefs masterfully shred pork and pineapple onto tiny corn tortillas, which you may then personalize with your choice of onions, cilantro, and salsas. El Vilsito, a daytime auto repair business that converts into a nightly taquera, and El Borrego Viudo are two lively late-night eateries serving delicious al pastor.

2. ChicharrĂ³nes

You may believe you know chicharrĂ³nes until you visit Mexico, where they appear to be on steroids. Vendors balance out slabs of the tasty, addicting, and impossible to inflate pig rinds, then tie off nopales (prickly pear cactus paddles) and salsa in small baggies if desired.

3. Frutas en tacha

Vendors hand out samples of fresh fruits like mamey and papaya to people walking through the DF’s tianguis (street markets). Look for frutas en tacha, which are fruits like figs, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes preserved in piloncillo syrup, a dark brown Mexican cane sugar.

4. Tlacoyos

Tlacoyos is an oval massa cake stuffed with cheese and beans, topped with chicharron, nopalace, or flor decabeza (pumpkin flower). The best option is to buy Tracoyos from an older woman who settles in Tiangis and shapes and grills to order.

5. Tlayuda

A large, thin cooked tortilla topped with bean puree, Oaxaca cheese, salsa, and toppings such as shredded pork, nopalace, chorizo, and avocado from this Oaxaca antogit (snack). Tlayuda vendors are usually found on sidewalks at night and in parks and bus stops during the day.

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