Antojitos is the Mexican word for those delicious foods we buy in Puerto Vallarta from street vendors. Translated to “little cravings,” they can be found early in the morning and late into the evening. Whether by design or specific agreement, different tacos stands are open various times of day and we have favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s good to know midday is not the best time for antojitos; that is siesta time in Mexico.
The most familiar street foods are tacos, gorditas, quesadillas, tostadas, chalupas, elote (corn on the cob) and tortas (Mexico’s version of a sandwich). One can also buy cups laden with fresh fruit and vegetables, water drinks (agua fresca) of many flavors (pineapple, strawberry, orange, guava, lime) and soups (menudo, pozole, pancita.)
As Chef Anthony Bourdain says “As much as we think we know and love it, we have barely scratched the surface of what Mexican food really is,” and we highly recommend beginning personal discovery on the sidewalks of Puerto Vallarta. Those who eschew this fare due to fear of bacteria and lack of cleanliness are truly missing out. There are few things as clean as a Mexican street kitchen. Rarely does the person handling food touch money. They are usually too busy cooking to be concerned. The defined separation of each condiment and filler (onion, cilantro, chiles, cabbage, etc) imposes extreme organization. Meats are cooked in sizzling pans or roasted over open flame. You can SEE what’s being cooked so if it doesn’t meet your standard, move on; there will be another taco stand within sniffing distance. The popularity of any given taco stand is your guarantee of quality. If you see people standing in line, you know it’s a good bet the food is not only delicious but healthy and clean. No taco stand lasts long when its customers don’t come back, due to anything from illness to bad customer service.
Puerto Vallarta is blessed with a constant supply of fresh fish. Our personal favorites are the marlin or dorado tacos, washed down with a brimming cup of refreshing jaimica, the drink made from the hibiscus blooms. A green sauce is likely made with tomatillos, not avocado. We prefer the milder version but there is always plenty of Tapatio or Salsa Huichol to spice it up. ¡Buen Provecho!
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