What I Ate on My Summer Vacation: Street Food
I am probably stretching the definition of street food here, since some of the comestibles I ate were actually purchased in open-air buildings that faced the street, not from free-standing carts that have to be pushed into place every morning. Regardless, the food from all of these places had three things in common: It could be bought right off the sidewalk, it had to be eaten somewhere else than the place where I bought it, and it was delicious (with one exception).
Just outside of Chichen-Itza, that Mayan tourist magnet, this dude smokes up amazing roadside chicken in a tiny burg called Piste. Our full-bird was moist, charred, and smokey all the way to the bone. We got rice, slaw, a bag of hot sauce (yep, a bag), and the chicken for the price of a fast-food meal back in the states.
Language was a barrier for me as I tried to negotiate my way around the street-food vendors in Izamal, a Colonial town on the Yucatan where all the buildings around the main square are painted a golden yellow, just like the nearby covent. The couple that ran this tabletop stand spoke no English and my Spanish sucked. Best I could determine, those spice-dusted fruits at the top of the frame are the famous sour oranges of the Yucatan. Let me tell you, they taste great with chili powder, salt, and a squirt or two of lime on them. Same for those innocuous cups of nuts!
The guy who runs this modest stand on the main Izamal square is a delightful gentleman, quick to smile and eager to please. His pork sandwiches, however, prepared on a portable comal, were rather bland.
One shop on the Izamal plaza sells all sorts of homemade popsicles. We were slightly worried about meeting Montezuma after our sidewalk desserts, but we shouldn't have been. We enjoyed all the taste and none of the after effects.
Temozon, Mexico, just north of Valladolid, is known as the place to buy carne ahumada or smoked meats. I stopped by a spot on Temozon's main drag and purchased a few lengths of longaniza, or the famous smoked sausage of the Valladolid area. I then went to a nearby convenience store, brought some fresh bolillo bread, and ripped right into those natural longaniza casings to prepare sausage sandwiches in the car. The meat was surprisingly sour, and oh-so-smokey.
I didn't actually try this street food in Cozumel because, well, I thought I could do better than deep-fried wieners and french fries.
The ice cream vendors in Valladolid. When it's 96 degrees outside, you thank the Mayan serpent god for these guys.
On Isla Mujeres you can drive your rented golf cart right into the Modelorama and get your Mexican lager to go. You can even, apparently, drink and drive right in your golf cart. Wait, I should probably rephrase that: No cop pulled us over for drinking and driving in our golf cart.
Some very satisfied customers at the Modelorama.