I can remember the first time that I met my friend Javier Burillo and he was explaining to me about his hometown of Mexico City. At the time he made a comment to me about the street tacos down there, and told me that the taco stand was the heart of the city, a comment which I perceived to be rather odd, but I took him at his word. In the years that have passed since that conversation I have visited Javier multiple times in CDMX and I have to be honest, I now completely get why he made that comment about the taco stand.
In fact, having now completed most of the tourist attractions in the city, I can honestly say that I my favorite tourist attraction is in fact, the taco stand, and here is why.
It is true that tacos on the street are incredibly cheap in Mexico City and that of course brings workers and those who are on a low wage. What everyone should be aware of however is that the acts don’t really bring people in because they are cheap, they bring people in because they are absolutely delicious. For this reason you see all walks of life at the taco stand, something I absolutely love. I have seen street sweepers standing and chatting alongside businessmen, both enjoying life with a taco in their hands. There is no class system here, just men and women who absolutely love their tacos.
Most taco stands open up around 9am, some earlier, and they will stay open long into the night. What I love about this is that if you find a really good quality taco stand, you will find that no matter what time you walk past it, there are people surrounding it and enjoying some high quality street food.
Everyone has different reasons to come for tacos, some may have just finished a meeting and are looking for a snack, some may be there for a full meal and others may simply have been walking past, caught a smell of the tacos and thought ‘why not’. There is no set times for this culinary treat, it can be a snack of a full meal and that is one of the reasons why there is so much charm here.
There is an odd sense of community around the taco stand, this idea that we are all good out on the street with plastic plates in our hands, to enjoy the true delights of what the man or woman selling the tacos is there to offer. This is like nothing else you can find in the city and it is exactly why people refer to the stands as the hear of the city. This level of community is short lived, but once it is gone, another community takes its place.
There really is nothing quite like the taco stand experience.