Street Food Finds: Deep Fried Handmade Tortillas, Stuffed, Poked and Filled. Need There be Anything Else?
By: Diane DiMeo
Antojitos Yamileth. It's about as local as you can get. In fact, you won't see many tourists in this Yucatan Style Anotojitos Hole-in-the-Wall
Photos by Bernardo Flores
I don’t know about you, but when I think about ‘street food’, I get excited. Nevermind the consequential bowel issues that can come along with it, especially in foriegn territory, I see street food, I want to eat it. Period. That applies to hole-in-the-wall joints, fast food carts, someone peddling food off of their bicycle, moped, motorcycle, boat...it doesn’t matter. I want it.
Imagine my inner turmoil when I moved to Mexico. So much street food, so little time, and only one stomach. If there was a hell, this would surely be it. On one of my many outings, I spotted a hole-in-the-wall that deemed worthy of trying, Was it the line waiting for a table, the plastic christmas table covers, or the prevalent smell of delicious deep fried foods wafting through the air, or even the lady hand making the tortillas before stuffing and frying them, I cannot be sure. Truth be told, it was all of it. After spending about 10 minutes in the line waiting for a table, my moment came. It was time to order. Every table had small boxes of Media Crema (kind of like a thinner creme fraiche or thicker half & half) and hot sauce were on the table to add as you like. The menu was placed on a couple of walls, that ranged from quesadillas, to tostadas to salbutes to sopes, with your choice of fillings. On another wall menu, there was an extensive list of aguas or liquados that you could choose from. I went ‘balls to the wall’: Give me one of each, and a large watermelon water (all in my butchered spanish, and proudly).
Within minutes, a deliciously cold, sweet and perfectly made watermelon water came to my table, followed by a stream of fried foods. The first to arrive was the Chicken Tinga Salbute. Freshly fried puffy corn tortilla, stuffed with braised chicken in chipotles, lettuce, pickled red onions and a slice of avocado. No words. None. I ate the whole crispy delicious damn thing. Which I knew I would regret, considering there were 3 more things sitting on my table: a carne asada tostada, and 2 deep fried quesadillas (much like an empanada) - 1 stuffed with ground beef, the other with mushrooms & cheese.
The carne asada tostada wasn’t my favorite - I have had better - but that’s not to say it wasn’t good. But it certainly didn’t occupy my attention for more than one bite, I had other things to attend too: Two delicious deep fried quesadillas topped off with fresh cabbage and pickled red onions. After smothering both with Crema, I went in for the kill. OMG. The crispy quesadilla gave way to the perfectly seasoned ground beef which gave way to the fresh cabbage, the tartness of the picked onions, and round off with the crema was like an explosion in my mouth (ahem). I get goose bumps just thinking about it. The mushroom & oaxaca cheese quesadilla was just as delicious. Perfectly sauteed mushrooms, nestled in melted cheese, surrounded by a deep fried yum yum….heaven i tell you. Pure heaven.
All that said, there were no consequential bowel issues, only dreams of when i can get there to eat again. But as the avid street food finder, oft times i treat each place like one would a one night stand: grateful for the experience, but onward to the next best thing.
Calle Sol Oriente #12 (Look for the bright yellow sign)
Between Calle Alfa Sure & Calle Jupiter Sol
Monday thru Saturday 7:30am to 3pm
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Tulum Eats Magazine is published 12 times a year, unless we decide to go on prolonged vacations. You can find the print magazine at select locations throughout the Riviera Maya, and in some East Coast establishments, where we will randomly place, during selective times. The website will be updated monthly, with selected materials that may or may not be the same as the print version. Look for us soon, in other states of Mexico.