In Mexico, an even quicker and cheaper alternative to comida corrida when eating out in a hurry, is a platter at the ubiquitous street-food stands: Mexican sandwiches (tortas), fried corn dough treats (sopes, quesadillas), even hot dogs (intriguingly, sometimes cooked on a waffle press) and, of course, tacos. When I was growing up in Mexico, these places generally looked dirty, smelled suspicious, and there was seldom a sign of a clean water supply around; I always thought one would need extreme resilience to venture having a meal on the street. Over the years, I think health units and sanitary regulations have somewhat improved in the country, and competition has made street businesses more conscious of their cleanliness and quality but, since I now live in Canada, there had been no opportunities for me to try street tacos.
Last fall that changed, first when I was in Culiacan, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, and my favourite nephew, knowing that my sister and I had not had a bite for several hours, thoughtfully went out in the middle of the night and got a generous portion for us (probably taco stands were the only joints open at that hour); he even brought us “tacos de asada” – grilled [beef] tacos, in spite of him being a vegetarian. What a sweetheart, thank you favourite nephew!
I thought that would have been an isolated event, and then, two weeks later, my sister and I were out and about on a Friday night in Guadalajara (capital city of the Mexican state of Jalisco), and she suggested venturing to a “tacos de asada” stand just a couple of blocks from our hotel, on La Paz Avenue (street view from the hotel at the top of this post.) The place looked well established, more like a food truck really, with electricity and a couple of tubs with clean water behind the counter, and a cooler for raw foods (I checked discreetly, hehe). The taco master (taquero) was friendly, and the servers were busy with patrons sitting at the foldable tables, or standing up by the counter (it is usually not a myth that a crowded place is a sign of good food):
Bowls of chopped cilantro and onions were available to top each taco to taste, as well as a good supply of lime wedges and a variety of salsas at each table; clockwise from top left (photo, right): very spicy de árbol, charred tomato, creamy green and cooked tomatillo:
I ordered one taco “de bistec” (steak) and one “de costilla” (rib); I topped them with a medley of their salsas (I wanted to taste all the flavours they had) and a generous sprinkle of lime juice:
Taqueros always chop the meat before placing a portion on pipping hot corn tortillas, so you will not end up with a huge piece being pulled or falling out of the taco. This turned out to be a very pleasant experience for my first meal ever at a taco stand!
In my next post, I will share my recipe for homemade Beef Steak Tacos.
NOTE: In Mexico, February 24 is celebrated as “Flag Day”; check some of my past posts on this theme: The Legend Behind Mexico’s Coat of Arms, and Picaditas – Corn Dough Appetizers fro Mexico’s Flag Day.
I am joining Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Roofs of Any Kind