I have decided that there is no better way to grab a quick pick-me-up than too be handed steaming, hot, delicious tamales out of the back of an old man’s pickup truck. Although I’m only about 13 days into three months of living in the Yucatan, Mexico but I compiled a list of tips n’ tricks for buying off the street food.
- Don’t necessarily rush to the most crowded stands as some of the less popular ones have the most delicious food.
- Do ask how much it costs first (¿Cuánto?) : Most street food is cheep but if you don’t like the price you can always walk away.
- Do tip: Mexican wages are low and for many their street business is their only income, a couple pesos is very much appreciated. With that said, if you are unsatisfied with the food don’t feel obligated to tip.
- Do try new things: Many people, like the old man I mentioned in the intro, have made a business out of selling food out of their cars. They shout out in Spanish their product so you probably won’t know what they are saying, I recommend you just buy one of whatever they are selling because it is usually really good.
- Make sure you have cash (especially coins and small bills): Asking for change can be confusing and no one takes credit cards.
- Do count your change: Under-changing to tourists is a very common scandal
- Frequent vendors you like: this way they begin to recognize you, and can engage in some small talk and practice your Spanish speaking skills.
- Watch the locals: Locals obviously know best what’s good so watch and listen to what they order and how they order.
- If someone offers to sell you something you don’t want (which happens often) just wave them off and don’t make eye contact. It seems rude, but it’s the way they know you are not interested.
- Say thank you (Gracias!): Simple and much appreciated
Thanks so much for reading! -Iz