One of my favorite food tours that I took in Mexico City was with Club Tengo Hambre with the wonderful guide Fernanda. This was because it was all about nighttime street food! Mostly this means TACOS but there were also a couple of other things including a churro relleno and a stop at a classic CDMX cantina. Aptly named “Mexico City After Dark,” this tour picked up in Centro Histórico which was great for me because it was near where I was staying.
This tour had it all! With 5 different kinds of street tacos, old-school taqueros, a classic Mexican cantina, cerveza y tequila, and a walk past some of Mexico City’s famous landmarks.
Tacos de Canasta
To start, our first stop of the tour was at Taqueria El Flaco which ironically was across the street from my hotel! But I’d never seen it before! Why is that? Quite simply because it was open at night that day and since this was only my first full day in the city, I had not noticed it during the day. I could never really figure out the hours that it is open, but when it is, you know it because of the crowd on the sidewalk.
This a very popular nighttime spot, and they serve one thing only: tacos de canasta, or basket tacos. People line up to order and crowd the sidewalk as they eat. At a little over 50 cents each, this is cheap street food! They’re all pre-made and stacked up in a big box and kept warm for hours on end. I chose the adobo, and that innocent looking salsa verde that I put on it set my face on FIRE. Boy was it good.
Next, we headed a block or two down from my hotel to yet another spot that I didn’t know was there. What mysteries lie just behind the rolling metal panels along the sidewalk! Now this looked like an incredibly homemade operation. A pair of young ladies were cooking in a stairwell, and some crudely handwritten signs taped to the wall served as a menu. It was definitely the kind of place I would not know was any good unless our guide showed us!
Here we had a quesadilla which of course looked different than what I typically know as an Americanized quesadilla. It was amazing. And of course, the salsa was incredibly spicy. But I loved it!
Tripa y Suadero
Next we headed west over to Taqueria el Torito. This is a long-standing establishment that specializes in one thing: tripa y suadero! Our guide promised us that if we were ever going to try tripa this would be the place to do it. So, I did! I got the campechano which is a mixture of suadero y tripa and it was magnificent. There’s really no taste difference that I noticed. It’s just all good.
The taqueros are absolutely amazing to watch, masters of their craft. If you blink, you’ll miss how quickly they chop the meats and fling it, perfectly portioned, into the amaaazzzzzing tortilla. This is literally the best food in the world. I always get them “con todo” which means with everything and just means cilantro and onion, with a wedge of lime. Usually places have a couple of salsas to choose from, and they are hot and hotter!!
Tacos al Pastor
Next we headed to yet another one of the absolute gems of Mexico City taco stands. If you have ever watched any shows about the taco scene of CDMX (including Netflix’s Taco Chronicles), this place appears regularly: Los Cocuyos.
At the time of my visit in March 2023, we went to their new location at Simon Bolivar 59. This was just 4 doors down from their original location. Our guide said that it was pretty recently opened. At this stop we got to choose 2 tacos and I knew what I wanted: two tacos al pastor! They were magnificent.
Street Food Dessert: Churros Rellenos
Whew! We were all pretty full at this point, having just eaten five of Mexico City’s taco specialties. At this point we took a nice long walk down past the Palacio de Bellas Artes and into the Alameda Central park. Here we made a change of pace from tacos, and enjoyed a churros rellenos. They were freshly made from a cart right on the street, and freshly filled with a sweet of our choice. We could choose from caramel, chocolate, or sweetened condensed milk. It finally occurred to me that rellenos means “stuffed.” I had the cajeta, and it was a perfect portion of a little dessert.
A Classic Mexican Cantina in Chinatown
A couple of surprising things happened: There is a Chinatown in Mexico City, albeit a bit small, and there is also a cantina dating back to 1869 still much in original condition.
At the entrance to Barrio China, under an outdoor canopy of illuminated red lanterns, sits an old-school classic Mexican cantina called Tio Pepe’s, built in 1869. I wish I’d taken more photos of the interior! It still has the hand-carved wooden back of the bar which is really nice.
At this bar we all got to enjoy a Bohemia Mexican beer, and our choice of a tequila or a margarita. The margarita was excellent!
It was nice to sit and chill with our group in the cantina for a while and enjoy our drinks. At that point I thought the tour would be over, but it was not! We actually left Tio Pepe’s and walked a good ways even further west. I was getting concerned because this was much further away than I thought the tour went, so I was wondering how I was going to get back to my hotel.
Guisado: Stew Tacos
Our final tasting was another taco! This was at Tacos Excelsior on the road which was a popular late night eats destination. Our guide mentioned that it used to be primarily for the people who worked at the large newspaper office, who would come out of work near dawn. They offer stew tacos, and I believe this is the creamy chicken taco. I was SO FULL by this time. I honestly have never left unfinished taco in my whole life until this point, but I just couldn’t eat it all. It was delicious, though, and PILED high with melted cheese.
After that, the long night of taco-eating had come to an end. I was so impressed with how many different varieties we got to try in the space of an evening. Our guide walked us back to a more populated area, and then we went on our way. I ended up having a 1.5 mile walk back to my hotel at 10pm but I was able to take main roads which were crowded with people. Mexico City is quite lively at night! So I never felt afraid and had a nice walk to settle all that food I’d eaten!
I highly recommend this nighttime taco tour with Club Tengo Hambre! “Mexico City After Dark” is a wonderful way to explore the absolutely delicious street food in CDMX.