As a foreigner coming to Mexico one of the most intimidating experiences that I found, was heading to the taco stand. I always knew that this was where I could find some of the best food, but I had no clue what I was asking for, and even if I could’ve asked, I probably wouldn’t have understood the answer.
Thankfully in that situation I had my wonderful Mexican friend Rose Burillo who was on hand to help out, but that is not going to be the case for everyone. And so if you are heading to Mexico and the taco stand comes a-calling, here are some tips which will be worth remembering.
Test the Salsa
Try as you may, there are no rules when it comes to the salsa at the taco stand, and the heat can differ from place to place. The heat of the salsa not only changes from place to place, but it also changes greatly in terms of whether you get green or red. At one place the green may be cool and the red spicy hot, at another this could be the opposite way around. The key for you is to test the salsa before you slather it over your tacos, this is how to make sure that you do not burn your mouth off.
Watch Out For The Insides
If you are happy to eat kind of meat then great, this is going to be a really fun experience for you, if however you are a little bit picky about exactly what you are eating, then it makes much more sense for you to be conscious of exactly what you are ordering. The reason for this is that you can get tacos with beef tongue, heart, offal and even brain. The best course of action, even if you cannot speak Spanish, is to gesture as to where in the body the food may be from, this should do the trick and help you to avoid some of the more unsavory meat dishes that you can find on the streets.
Follow The Crowds
One very important piece of information to bear in mind here is to follow the crowds when it comes to selecting your taco stand. There are some vendors in the city who sell poor quality or downright dangerous meat, which is not going to do your stomach much good at all. Locals very quickly learn which offers the best tacos, and that is why following the crowd is your best bet.
If you get things wrong, if you burn your face off, if you order the wrong thing or don’t understand something, then don’t worry about it at all. I have been mocked many times at the taco stand for these things but it is always from a fun place and people have always helped me after having a little laugh at my expense.
Remember these tips when you hit the taco stand.
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