Without a doubt, balancing health, budget, and opportunities to indulge in can’t-miss cuisine is one of the biggest challenges this trip will present. But, trust me, this frugal fat kid is ready and excited for it. My willpower is weak, but, luckily, the dollar is strong right now.
There will be no shortage of nice dining establishments on my journey, some of which I’ll definitely try, but street food (and preparing my own meals) is the way to go for budget travel. You know…dance like nobody’s watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, and eat street food like there’s no traveler’s diarrhea (so far, so good 35 days in; my stomach is a professional grade steel trap).
A big plus of traveling through developing nations is the abundance of great, cheap eats on just about every corner, so I will be sharing my favorites.
I recently ate my way through the streets of Oaxaca, a place that’s rich in culture and has some great regional grub.
Three things to try in Oaxaca
A huge toasted tortilla, smothered with refried beans, topped with stringy queso Oaxaca, fresh avocado, chopped lettuce and tomato, salsa, and, in this case, chorizo. It’s big enough to be shared by two people, and cost 45 pesos (less than $3).
Grab one at Comedor Cuquita inside Mercado 20 de noviembre.
Chocolate de agua
There is a long history of chocolate in Mexico, and long before europeans perfected it in solid form, cacao was used to brew drinks by Aztecs and other early civilizations here. Chocolate de agua (chocolate with water) paired with pan de yema (a sweet bread made with egg yolks) is how many start (or end) their day in Oaxaca.
You can get it in styrofoam cups on the streets, most restaurants, or head to the mercado and enjoy it in a clay bowl and dip your bread in it. Hot. Fresh. Yum.
Grasshoppers toasted with garlic, salt, and lime (and chile, if you like them spicy). That may not sound appealing, but they are truly tasty, incredibly addicting, and full of protein. You get them in a little bag from the streets or markets and they are great as a snack, on eggs, in tacos, on salads, the list goes on. While you’ll find them many places in central Mexico, Oaxaca is where it’s at for these little guys. Don’t miss ’em!
Of course, queso Oaxaca is a must-eat while here (or anywhere in Mexico). It’s delightful and you’ll undoubtedly encounter it often (especially on quesadillas!) but it’s not really a street food itself, per se. And I don’t have a good picture, so there’s that, too.
Oaxaca has some amazing food, and this is only a snippet of the delicious things you’ll find on the street, but these were my favorites!