Doctor-Recommended Mexican Food
People think I have weird issues where food is concerned, but it’s really pretty simple. I don’t like cheese, I don’t like mayo, and that goes for anything else that might look like either of those things. So the fact that Mexican food never makes it to my top list of favorite dishes in the world should ‘t come as much of a surprise.
My first few days in that country were spent at a neighborhood in San Angel where my sister and I hung out at hospital. My go to place? Kunio San, a popular Japanese restaurant across the street. But even there, I found myself ordering Japanese food with a distinct Mexican flavor to them.
They have something called the California Espesyal that looks just like your regular California Maki, but with avocado thrown in. And then there was something like tempura with a Mexican-style salsa dip.
Mexican food may not have been my favorite, but being there obviously did enough to give me a hankering for the real deal.
Maybe people could tell, but even my sister’s doctor gives me his two cents on where I should be going for meals.
The good doctor recommends:
1. Atizapan Market for the best carnitas in town, but apparently only above 2pm. I’m there on a weekday, and at a strange hour, so was left with a market empty of shoppers. Smurf-shaped piñatas abound here but only about a couple of food stalls to choose from. I go where the people are and decide to have whatever they’re having.
This is what they’re supposed to look like. Soft taco shell, pork filling, some cilantro with salsa and lime to taste. Thought bubble if anyone had taken a picture of me after that first bite: “Are you kidding me?! I’ve probably always loved authentic Mexican food and never knew it!!!” Minus cheese and sour cream, this is quite honestly the simplest and most perfectly flavored meal I’ve ever tasted. I’m a big taco convert now and sadly will have super high standards when it comes to finding their like in the Philippines.
2. The tianguis – “Take a right on that street and keep walking for about two blocks and when the road changes, you follow it to get there”. Tianguis, which are ambulatory bazaars descended from Aztec markets of old, are much like the tiangges we know here in the Philippines and sell just about anything under the sun.
The first exotic thing I see? Pomegranates. And next to that, several stalls of cactus, which make for good salads, and opportunities to taste-test the cactus fruit or atun.
They’ve got chicharon (pork cracklings) too, but they’re made flat unlike the ones we have here at home.
A man selling santos (saints).
I had a great time capturing some mariachi providing entertainment while I was wandering through. People like saying how Mexico and the Philippines look just the same, and I just thought I’d show you a slice of market life here where you’ll never mistake it for anything other than Mexican.
The best part? More tacos! My new favorite food in the whole world.
Scratch that. The best part is that there are a lot of different kinds of tacos to choose from. Back in the center of Distrito Federal, I often had cravings and frequented this place:
Not as good as any of the markets I tried in the beginning, but still had enough of that distinct Mexican taste I was beginning to love. I definitely miss this the most.