Cheap Local Food In Mexico City

Mexico City is a vibrant cosmopolitan metropolis that boasts of a rich history, culture, and cuisine. The city’s culinary scene is diverse and dynamic, with an array of street food vendors, small eateries, and fine dining restaurants offering a variety of flavors and dishes.

For budget-conscious travelers or those looking to experience the local food culture without breaking the bank, Mexico City has numerous options for cheap and delicious meals. From savory tacos to sweet elotes (corn on the cob), Mexico City’s street food scene offers a myriad of mouth-watering treats that are both affordable and authentic.

The city is renowned for its traditional Mexican cuisine, which incorporates an array of fresh ingredients such as corn, beans, tomatoes, chilies, avocados, and various spices. In this article, we will explore some of the best cheap local foods in Mexico City that visitors can indulge in while immersing themselves in the vibrant local food culture.

Key Takeaways

– Mexico City’s food scene is vibrant and diverse, reflecting centuries of indigenous, Spanish, and international influences.
– Mexican street food is affordable and authentic, with over 50 types of taco fillings and vegetarian options available.
– Traditional snacks like elotes, tamales, and churros are delicious and easy to find.
– Bargaining at markets like Mercado de La Merced, Mercado de Coyoacán, and Mercado Jamaica is common practice, and food tours like Eat Like a Local Mexico City offer insights into Mexican culture and history through food traditions.

Introduction to the Vibrant Food Scene in Mexico City

The vibrant food scene in Mexico City is a testament to the cultural richness and diversity of the region. Mexican gastronomy has been recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, and it is easy to see why.

The city boasts an impressive variety of culinary offerings that reflect centuries of indigenous, Spanish, and international influences. Mexican cuisine plays a significant role in the country’s social and cultural identity. It goes beyond mere sustenance; it is intertwined with history, tradition, family values, and celebrations.

Every dish tells a story about its creators, their community, and their relationship with nature. Mexicans take pride in their gastronomic heritage and are eager to share it with visitors. The cultural significance of Mexican food can be experienced firsthand in Mexico City’s markets, street stalls, restaurants, and bars.

Tacos are undoubtedly one of the most emblematic dishes of Mexican cuisine worldwide. In the next section, we will explore how tacos have evolved over time into different variations that cater to all tastes and budgets.


Tacos are a staple of Mexican cuisine and offer a wide variety of fillings to choose from. Whether you prefer traditional options like carne asada or al pastor, or more adventurous choices like lengua or tripa, there is something for everyone.

To find the best tacos in Mexico City, it’s worth exploring local markets and street vendors where you can experience authentic flavors at affordable prices.

Try a Variety of Fillings

Various fillings are worth exploring when it comes to cheap local food in Mexico City, with over 50 types of tacos available to choose from. Different filling options offer a range of flavors and textures that appeal to different tastes and preferences.

Here are three creative topping combinations to try:

1. Al pastor: Thinly sliced marinated pork is cooked on a spit and served with pineapple chunks, onions, cilantro, and lime.

2. Tinga de pollo: Shredded chicken is simmered in a spicy tomato sauce with chipotle peppers, onions, garlic, and bay leaves.

3. Chorizo con papas: Spicy sausage is mixed with diced potatoes and topped with fresh salsa or guacamole.

These are just a few examples of the many tasty taco fillings available in Mexico City. Exploring different options can lead to new culinary experiences that showcase the diversity of Mexican cuisine.

When it comes to finding the best tacos in the city, there are numerous options depending on your preferences. From street vendors to high-end restaurants, there is something for everyone’s taste buds.

Where to Find the Best Tacos in the City

Numerous locations across Mexico City offer a diverse range of taco options catering to different preferences and budgets. For those seeking the best taco stands, one popular option is El Vilsito in Narvarte. Open late into the night, this stand offers mouth-watering tacos al pastor with juicy and flavorful pork cooked on a spit, served on homemade tortillas with pineapple and onion garnishes.

Another great spot is Tacos Don Juan in Coyoacán, known for their succulent beef tacos that are slow-cooked to perfection. Vegetarian options are also available at many taco stands throughout the city. El Califa offers delicious vegetarian tacos made with grilled cactus, while Taquería Los Cocuyos serves up tasty mushroom and cheese tacos.

Whether you’re a meat-lover or a vegetarian, there’s no shortage of incredible taco options in Mexico City. And if you’re looking for something different than tacos, step into the world of quesadillas – another popular street food option in this vibrant city!


A popular street food in Mexico City that evokes a sense of comfort and warmth is the quesadilla, with its crispy exterior and melted cheese filling. However, the variety of fillings available makes it an even more enticing option for those looking to try something new.

Some top fillings include huitlacoche, a fungus that grows on corn and adds an earthy flavor to the dish, as well as flor de calabaza, or squash blossoms. Other options include tinga de pollo (shredded chicken in a smoky tomato sauce) and chicharrón prensado (pressed pork cracklings).

When it comes to finding the best places to enjoy quesadillas in Mexico City, there are countless options to choose from. For traditionalists looking for a no-frills experience, head to El Califa where they serve up classic versions with simple but satisfying fillings such as queso Oaxaca (Oaxacan cheese) or chicharrón. For those seeking inventive twists on the classic dish, La Docena Oyster Bar & Grill offers unique combinations such as shrimp with chipotle aioli or duck confit with mole sauce.

As one indulges in the various flavors of quesadillas found throughout Mexico City’s streets and restaurants alike, it’s hard not to crave something sweet afterwards. This is where elotes come in – grilled corn on the cob slathered in mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder and cotija cheese is a perfect complement to any meal- savory or sweet.


The ubiquitous presence of grilled corn on the cob slathered in a decadent mixture of mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder and cotija cheese is a testament to the enduring popularity of elotes among food enthusiasts in Mexico. This Mexican street food is one of the most traditional snacks that can be found throughout the country. Elotes are sold by street vendors who set up shop on busy corners or near public transportation hubs.

To fully appreciate elotes, it’s important to understand how they’re made. The following list provides an idea of what goes into this beloved treat:

– First, corn on the cob is roasted over an open flame until it’s tender and charred.
– Then, a generous amount of mayonnaise is spread over each ear of corn.
– Next, lime juice is squeezed over the top followed by chili powder.
– Finally, crumbled cotija cheese (a salty and crumbly cow’s milk cheese) is sprinkled over everything.

The result is a combination of sweet corn with tangy mayo and lime juice that’s balanced out by spicy chili powder and salty cotija cheese. It’s no wonder why elotes have been a popular snack for generations.

Elotes are just one example of the many amazing traditional snacks available in Mexico City.

Another favorite snack that shouldn’t be missed are tamales – steamed pockets made from masa (corn dough) filled with savory or sweet fillings like meats, cheeses, vegetables or fruits.


Steamed pockets made from masa filled with savory or sweet fillings, such as meats, cheeses, vegetables, or fruits are a beloved traditional snack in Mexico City and should not be missed. These steamed delights are called tamales and have been a staple of Mexican cuisine for centuries. The preparation process involves wrapping the filling in corn husks and then steaming them until cooked.

The cultural significance of tamales dates back to the Aztec civilization when they were considered an offering to their gods. Today, tamales continue to be a part of religious celebrations such as Dia de los Muertos and Christmas Eve. Traditional recipes vary by region and family tradition but typically include chicken or pork with red or green chili sauce.

Tamales can be found at street food vendors throughout Mexico City where locals gather to enjoy this delicious snack on-the-go. They are affordable, convenient and packed full of flavor making them a popular choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

For those with a sweet tooth, try the tamal de dulce which is filled with fruit or sugar – it is sure to satisfy any craving!

Next up on our culinary journey through Mexico City are churros – another must-try treat that will leave your taste buds buzzing with delight!


Golden and crispy on the outside, churros are a popular dessert in Mexico City that consist of deep-fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar. These long, tubular-shaped treats are often served with a side of hot chocolate for dipping and make for a decadent indulgence.

Though they originated in Spain, churros have become an iconic part of Mexican cuisine and can be found throughout the city at street vendors, cafes, and restaurants.

The process of making churros involves mixing together flour, water, butter or oil, and salt to create a smooth dough that is then piped through a star-shaped nozzle into hot oil. The resulting pastry is then rolled in cinnamon sugar while still warm to create its signature sweet taste.

While traditional churros are plain or dusted with powdered sugar, some variations may include fillings such as dulce de leche or cream cheese.

Churros are just one example of the many delicious Mexican desserts available in Mexico City. Another popular treat is horchata – a refreshing drink made from rice milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar.

Together with other sweets like tres leches cake or flan, these desserts offer visitors an opportunity to indulge their sweet tooth while experiencing the unique flavors of Mexican cuisine.


An irresistible and thirst-quenching beverage that captures the essence of Mexican cuisine, horchata is a popular drink that can be found in many street markets and restaurants in Mexico City. This traditional Mexican beverage is made from a blend of rice milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar. The combination of these simple yet flavorful ingredients creates a refreshing and sweet taste that is perfect for any occasion.

The popularity of horchata can be attributed to its versatility as a beverage. It pairs well with spicy dishes like tacos or tamales, but it also makes for a great mid-day refreshment on its own. Additionally, the ingredients used in this Mexican drink are readily available in most parts of the world, making it an easy recipe to recreate at home.

When visiting Mexico City on a budget, trying out local drinks like horchata should be high on your list. Not only does it offer an authentic taste of Mexican culture, but it’s also an affordable option compared to other beverages sold in restaurants. So next time you’re exploring the city streets or venturing through one of its many markets, be sure to try out some horchata for yourself – your taste buds won’t regret it!

As you continue your culinary adventure through Mexico City’s cheap local food scene, don’t forget about exploring its numerous street markets. These bustling hubs showcase a wide variety of authentic Mexican foods and beverages at affordable prices. From fresh fruits and vegetables to hot-off-the-grill tacos and elotes (grilled corn), these markets offer something for everyone’s palate.

Street Markets

Street markets in Mexico City offer a diverse range of food options that cater to all kinds of tastes and preferences. From traditional Mexican dishes to international cuisines, these bustling markets are a haven for foodies looking to sample some of the city’s best street foods.

For those interested in exploring the city’s vibrant street market scene, there are several areas throughout the city that are known for their exceptional markets. Some of the most noteworthy markets include Mercado de La Merced, Mercado de Coyoacán, and Mercado Jamaica.

Variety of Food Options

A wide range of local food options can be found throughout Mexico City, offering visitors and locals alike the opportunity to indulge in a diverse array of flavors and culinary experiences. From street vendors to traditional restaurants, food diversity is abundant in the city. Budget-friendly options are also available for those watching their wallets.

Mexican cuisine is known for its bold flavors and use of fresh ingredients such as chili peppers, avocados, tomatoes, and corn. Tacos al pastor, enchiladas verdes, chiles en nogada are just some of the popular dishes that visitors should try while in the city. Additionally, there are many vegetarian and vegan options available for those with dietary restrictions.

With so many delicious choices available at affordable prices, it’s easy to see why Mexican street food has gained worldwide recognition. But where can one find these delicacies? Let’s explore some of the best markets in the city.

Where to Find the Best Markets in the City

Mexico City is a food lover’s paradise with its wide variety of local cuisine. However, finding cheap local food can be challenging for tourists who are unfamiliar with the city.

Fortunately, there are numerous markets in Mexico City that offer affordable options for those on a budget. One of the best places to find cheap local food in Mexico City is at the markets. From street vendors to indoor marketplaces, these markets offer an array of fresh produce, meats, and traditional Mexican dishes at reasonable prices.

Bargaining is also common practice in many parts of Mexico City and can help reduce food prices even further. Visitors should keep in mind that bargaining too aggressively may come off as disrespectful or rude, so it’s important to approach negotiations tactfully.

As visitors explore these bustling markets and indulge in delicious local cuisine, they may want to consider taking part in one of the various food tours available throughout the city. These tours offer not only unique culinary experiences but also insights into Mexican culture and history through its food traditions.

Food Tours

Guided culinary excursions are available in Mexico City for those interested in exploring the city’s diverse and affordable food scene. These tours offer an immersive experience that takes visitors to some of the lesser-known neighborhoods and markets where they can sample various dishes and learn about their cultural significance. Food tour options range from street food tours to gourmet tours, with budget-friendly recommendations available for travelers looking to save money.

One popular company offering food tours is Eat Like a Local Mexico City, which has been featured in publications such as The New York Times and National Geographic Traveler. Their tours take visitors to local markets, street stalls, and restaurants where they can taste authentic Mexican cuisine. Tour guides provide historical and cultural context for each dish, making it an educational experience as well.

Overall, taking a food tour is an excellent way to explore the local culture of Mexico City. It allows visitors to try new foods while learning about their history and significance in Mexican cuisine. By embracing the local food culture, travelers can gain a deeper understanding of the city’s rich history and traditions.

Conclusion: Embrace the Local Food Culture in Mexico City

Food tours can be a great way to experience the local cuisine in Mexico City, but they may not always be suitable for budget travelers. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable options available for those who want to embrace the local food culture without breaking the bank. By seeking out street vendors and small mom-and-pop restaurants, visitors can enjoy delicious and authentic Mexican dishes at a fraction of the cost.

Immersing oneself in the local food culture is an essential part of any travel experience. Not only does it offer a window into traditional cooking methods and flavor profiles, but it also provides insights into a country’s history, geography, and social dynamics.

In Mexico City, where food is deeply intertwined with national identity and pride, exploring the culinary landscape is an excellent way to deepen one’s appreciation for this vibrant city. To fully engage with Mexico City’s local food culture requires both openness and curiosity.

From tacos al pastor to tlacoyos de frijol y requesón to chiles en nogada, there is no shortage of unique and delicious dishes to discover. Whether wandering through Mercado de La Merced or sitting down at a neighborhood taqueria, taking chances on unfamiliar menu items can lead to unforgettable culinary experiences that will stay with you long after your trip has ended.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best areas in Mexico City for finding affordable local food?

Hidden gems in Mexico City, off the beaten path neighborhoods for local food include La Merced and San Juan Market. Vegetarian and vegan options can be found at El Jarocho and Yummy Tacos. Innovative flavors abound in these areas.

Are there any traditional Mexican dishes that are particularly hard to find in the city?

Traditional Mexican dishes that are difficult to find in Mexico City include birria, cochinita pibil, and mole de olla. Vegetarian options like huitlacoche and flor de calabaza can be found in local markets such as Mercado San Juan or Mercado Medellín.

How do the prices of local food in Mexico City compare to those of international cuisine?

In Mexico City, prices of local cuisine are generally cheaper than international options. To find the cheapest local food, seek out street vendors and local markets. Comparing prices: local vs international cuisine in Mexico City reveals the affordability of traditional dishes.

Are there any particular street food vendors or markets that are especially recommended for budget-conscious travelers?

For budget-conscious travelers in Mexico City, recommended street food vendors include El Huequito for tacos al pastor and La Viga seafood market for ceviche. Prioritize street food safety by looking for busy stalls with proper hygiene practices.

What are some tips for avoiding food-related illnesses while enjoying local cuisine in Mexico City?

As one indulges in the flavorful and exotic local cuisine of Mexico City, it is crucial to take necessary precautions to avoid food-related illnesses. Recommendations include opting for freshly prepared meals and trying popular dishes like tacos al pastor or tamales.


Mexico City’s local food scene is a vibrant and colorful part of the city’s culture. From delicious tacos to mouth-watering elotes, there are plenty of options for those looking to explore the city’s culinary offerings. Street markets are a great place to start, where you can find an array of authentic dishes at affordable prices.

Tamales and quesadillas are also popular choices amongst locals and tourists alike. Horchata, a sweet rice milk drink, is another must-try while in Mexico City. Food tours offer an excellent opportunity to sample different types of cuisine while learning about the history and traditions behind each dish.

In conclusion, immersing oneself in Mexico City’s local food culture is an experience not to be missed. With so many delicious options available at affordable prices, it’s easy to understand why food plays such a significant role in Mexican society. So go ahead, indulge your senses and satisfy your taste buds with some of the best cheap local food that Mexico City has to offer. Let the flavors transport you on a journey through this captivating destination!