Best eats are street on the

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASTE - Graeme Phillips

ALTHOUGH Mon­tezuma’s re­venge may lurk in ev­ery bite, the fun place to eat in Mex­ico City is on the streets. From first light to late at night, Amerindian and mes­tizo women at makeshift, mo­bile and hole- in- the- wall kitchens slap hand­fuls of yel­low or blue corn paste into shape and then grill, fry, steam, fill and fold them into ta­cos, tor­tillas, bur­ri­tos, que­sadil­las, gor­das, flau­tas, tosta­dos, to­ma­les and other vari­a­tions on the seem­ingly end­less taco/ tor­tilla theme with nary a corn chip or na­cho in sight.

In res­i­den­tial ar­eas, you find a few on the cor­ner of ev­ery sec­ond or third block where you might get to sit on a low stool and eat your food off a re­cy­cled plas­tic plate.

Else­where it’s stand­ing room and pa­per nap­kins only among a ca­coph­ony of spruik­ers shout­ing their wares as the kitchens and crowds pack the streets of the his­toric cen­tre, the mar­kets, tourist spots and parks.

Min­gle with hawk­ers and the masses to se­lect com­bi­na­tions of fill­ings run­ning from pork skin, and other parts of the pig, crisped in caul­drons of fat to hacked beef, sausages, stringy cheese, chopped onions, cac­tus leaf, pota­toes, to­ma­toes, av­o­cado, bean paste and co­rian­der moist­ened with a squeeze of lime and topped with your choice of a fiery- look­ing red chilli salsa or a pale, in­no­cent- look­ing one which, sucked in on the lo­cals’ sug­ges­tion and to their great en­ter­tain­ment, proved vol­canic.

All this to be washed down with fresh­ly­pressed fruit and veg­etable juices, rice milk flavoured with vanilla and cin­na­mon or a drink made from the flow­ers of a herb.

Then, as you can imag­ine with the US just over the bor­der, there are young kids with hot boxes on bi­cy­cles sell­ing hot dogs and ham­burg­ers with ketchup plus, of course, Coca- Cola. But they are far less pop­u­lar.

It’s all cheap, crazily chaotic and colour­ful, ev­ery­thing’s fresh and the flavours are great de­spite con­di­tions that would give a Ho­bart City Coun­cil health in­spec­tor a coronary.

And, in the world’s largest plaza in one of the world’s largest cities, how do they cel­e­brate the Dia de los Reyes ( the Three Kings or Wise Men), the day Mex­i­can chil­dren re­ceive their Christ­mas presents? With the world’s largest cake of course. Their tra­di­tional Rosca de Reyes, a lav­ishly- dec­o­rated cake large enough to feed the teem­ing thou­sands of kids and par­ents who pack the his­toric main square and form hun­dreds of queues for a free taste, the last piece be­ing served when we were just two from the head of the queue.

I can’t tell you what it tasted like, but it cer­tainly looked pretty.

FLAVOUR­SOME: Pre­par­ing a 40.9m taco ( left); adding sauce to the cre­ation ( top); queu­ing up for a slice of a tra­di­tional Rosca de Reyes ( above).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.