It’s unfortunate that many Americans (and I suppose other people) have a skewed/inaccurate perception of Mexican food because what I saw in Mexico City was very impressive. The produce sold at the markets were fresh and beautiful, and the variations for tacos sold at the taqueria stands were endless. Sure, restaurants have to cater to the taste of its main market, but where did all that bad Americanized Mexican food come from?
As soon as I arrived at my friend’s apartment in Condesa and put my bags down, I headed out to explore Mexico City. My first stop was Taqueria Hola (the name certainly doesn’t sound convincing but I read about it in the Lonely Planet and it was a few blocks away). I felt like an idiot watching the locals do their thing. Because I only speak a little bit of Spanish and there was a way of ordering and eating the tacos, I was dumbfounded… It wasn’t anything complicated but it was all new to me so I observed for a while before working up the courage to order. I asked for the chicharron con queso but they pork skin they gave me was braised, not fried…? All the stuffing were displayed in clay pots and there were lime wedges, two different chili salsas and sliced onions with jalapenos for people to take themselves. There was an extra tortilla underneath to eat with the excess filling that spills out. The tortillas tasted like corn- I had made them at school before but the tortillas you get in the US (at least in NY) are usually made with wheat flour. I actually find it to be an accustomed taste so I prefer the wheat flour tortillas.
The great thing about a taqueria is that everything can be served fast (faster than fast junk food) so you can keep ordering if you’re still hungry. As I stood by the counter eating my first tacos, I saw the other customers ordering one by one. When I was done with my first, I asked for the picadillo with what looked like cactus (quite slimy looking). The texture was somewhat similar to szechuan pickles.