It would be wrong to travel through Mexico City and not get your hands a little dirty. That means eating at markets and testing the street food.
Mercado San Juan is a perfect example of shock value in all aspects food: exotic animals (including their eggs), bugs, fruit, tortillas and juice. Blue corn tortillas stuffed with beans and grilled on silver metal sheets. Ostrich eggs perched next to duck and quail eggs on display. Woven baskets of scorpions and platters of sautéed grasshoppers presented with four different salsas. Crocodile, lion and rattle snake are offered on one menu towards the back. Looking for something a little more tame? The produce is exceptional, especially the strange papaya/mango-like fruit called sapodilla, which some say tastes like honey, almond and sweet potato pie.
When you leave Mercado San Juan, you’ll spot a colorful wild-west-looking bar called Las Duelists, complete with swinging doors. The place is covered in colorful Aztec murals and has been around since the ’30s. This, friends, is one of those pulquerías you may have heard about. Pulque is an alcohol made from the same agave sap as tequila and mezcal, but its origin dates back to the Aztecs, who believed it was a gift from the gods. Typically a white milky coloring with 3-5% alcohol content, the substance can be consumed straight or added to fruit smoothies, which Las Duelists is known for. They have flavors like piña colada, mango, pineapple, mint, red wine and Oreo cookie.
Next, head over to the famous street vendors. For the equivalent of $1USD, purchase three el pastor (marinated pork) tacos with unlimited toppings like (extremely) spicy green salsa. (Luckily, water is included in the price, too.) Cross the street to the oldest churro restaurant in Mexico City, El Moro. Order a cup of café de leche (coffee with milk) and get the churros and chocolate sauce.
Make your way down the street to the Mariachi section of town and stop by El Museo del Tequila y el Mescal (AKA the Tequila Museum) for a mescal tasting. As you sip, ogle the hundreds of different brands of tequila and make friends with the Mariachi bands.
As you head back to your lodging, stop by one of the many popsicle stands you’ve been spotting all over the city and try on of the sixty or so fruit ice or ice cream popsicles on offer. But stick with just the one… after all, it is almost dinner time.
For more on Mexico City:
- Where to work out in Mexico City: On a bike, in a park, at a gym.
- And the local perspective: What it is like to live in Mexico City.
- What you need to know when visiting Mexico City.
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