Mexico City will open your eyes. You might as well forget everything you know about Mexican food and Mexican culture. If you think that tacos mostly come with hard shells, or the Day of the Dead parades have been around for a long time, prepare to be surprised. The latter was actually inspired by a recent James Bond Movie. And the former, Ok, I dont know anyone who eats at Taco Bell regularly, but you get my drift. They are out there.
This city may also change the way you travel. We American city slickers, often lean toward smaller… villages, small towns, country side, places that are total opposite of where we live. Mexico City, the largest Metropolitan in North America, challenges that theory. I’ve been thinking about going back from the moment we left. You get a sense of unfinished business.
I’ve never had so much to write after a short trip. I have many useful tips, even though we just barely scratched the surface. I will offer more tips in no time, but today I will offer just one. I dont want you to think I’m lazy (I most definitely am, but I dont want you to think that), but this tip is a rather important one.
Take the half day Markets and Street Food tour with Eat Like a Local.
“But Ziggy, arent you a guide, or a former guide or something? And so, arent you biased?”. Good question Timmy! It’s true. But I only love to write about experiences I like. There are some tours I took in Europe and the US that I never mentioned here. And being a former guide, and someone who’s been taking tours all over the world, gives you a decent understanding of what a good tour should be.
Simply put, this is an outstanding tour. It’s a little more expensive than other tours in CDMX but you do get what you pay for and then some. Mainly you get the benefit of a limit of 6 guests, which is the lowest I’ve seen outside of private tours. It’s a female only, CDMX born group that focuses on responsible tourism including paying the vendors well. Judging by the smiles and hugs we witnessed, this is not a gimmick.
The focus is on Merced and Jamaica markets with some snacking in Condesa at the beginning and end. What you get is a brilliant array of street food including insects, tacos, fruits, sweets, huitlacoche (corn fungus), incredible corn in a cup, and a life altering green Chorizo taco that did not need any salsa or anything really. About 20 tastings but we never felt too full. Very good pace, and plenty of much needed rests for a drink when needed. With a small group (us and another couple) it was like a local showing us around. You get a better understanding and appreciation of local culture (see first two paragraphs).
Taking food tours anywhere is usually a good idea. In addition to the usual benefits there are the added intangibles like meeting other travelers, and spending time with a local. And so you are often at the mercy of the person you meet, and Panda, our guide (thats her nickname) is just the right kind you want to spend four hours with. They bill their tours for people who hate tours. You wont find too many tours out there that involve subway rides, and such small groups. But this is also for people who love tours.