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Taco Stands in the Motherland ~ D.F.

10:43 AM PST on January 22, 2008


I took a trip down South a few months ago and volunteered to do a cursory report of the taco scene in Mexico, might as well have a reason to take pics of random taco stands! I should mention that as a longtime vegetarian I was completely unqualified for this task, and though I'm a fan of the taco lifestyle, you'll not be getting any reviews of the tacos themselves, just some snapshots of the taco stand culture. If that's okay with you, click ahead to start the tour!


All of these taco stands I came across on my normal travels, when I saw one I tried to get a pic of it. This stand in Nezahualcoyotl opened up only during the night hours, and there was still a steady stream of people needing a taco fix.


Most of the pics are kinda crappy but I think they still manage to capture something of the atmosphere of taqueros eeking out a living while they supply a need. You'll notice that the taquero is often in proximity to the eaters.


And the Al Pastor trompos often face the street. I like the idea that you can see your food being made on the spot, though that can lead to anti-taco attacks like this one Watch your trompo!


As you can imagine, there were many taco stands near Bellas Artes in D.F.


Near the cheap software corridor this place was doing some brisk business. Whereas the program peddlers had to hawk their wares the taco guys just wait for them to line up.


The guy in the white shirt yelled out "No me tomes la fotooo!" Oops, too late.


It looked like these guys were just setting up the shop.


A taco stand right next to a bar, now that's convenient!


I should mention that these last four stands were located on the same block! Notice how many of these places are open air; that lack of a formal threshold makes for a more vibrant street culture. I guess our taco trucks here in LA are an extension of that casual eating experience.


A nightime scene in another part of DF, I think this was near Colonia Roma. While lots of shops are closed at this hour, the taquero's job is never done.


Around the corner, another stand offers a bit of tortilla comfort.


Well I couldn't do this whole trip with trying some tacos! These are actually from Super Soya, a chain of veggie restaurants. This was advertised as their tacos al pastor but I already see a problem: flour tortillas!


Yum, soy chunks! Err, scratch that, these were actually quite bland with no spices, no cebolla y cilantro, no salsa. But at only 18 pesos (around $1.80) it's no big deal. But I'll be sticking to the locally made ones from my friends at Así Soy Tacos!


Super Soya does have a kickass logo though! This is a warning to flush the toilet.


Back on the street, a taquero prepares his al pastor trompo. Supposedly this style of taco was influenced by Lebanese Immigrants to Mexico who brought their Shwarma with them, and that makes total sense. See people, mixing of cultures is a beautiful thing.


A truck delivers a load of cebollas near La Merced. I didn't see the cilantro truck.


Amongst the crush of stalls and humanity at the mercado, the ubiquitous taco stand.


I take it they have turkey tacos here!


I laughed when I saw this, some sort of corporate taco shop in the mall across the street from the Alameda. Why would anyone eat corporate tacos when so many are available everywhere? But now that I've found them online I wish I would have tried some of their veggie tacos. Check out their site (, they have some good background info on the taco and some cool videos, like an al pastor taco being prepared and topped off with a small wedge of pineapple. Now that's some skill!


I also got a chance to check out the taco scene in Oaxaca.


Busted! I wasn't very slick taking this pic.


Inside the huge mercado south of the Zocalo, there were quite a few taco stands. Looks like that guy could just turn around and take a bite of that trompo!


Crowd awaits a plate.


This young couple are enjoying an afternoon snack. Note the use of reusable soda bottles.


Another stand just a few steps away.


I loved this taco shop logo: a taco eating taco!


This is as close as you get to a drive-thru.


This lonely cart was wrapping up for the night.


This pic is too blurry but you might be able to notice some holes in the center of the pan and a puff of steam, they heat the tortillas and I guess the meat al vapor. I'd never seen that before.


I happened to be in Oaxaca during a good time, with lots of street festivals celebrating Dia de Muertos and Halloween. Tamborazo bands riled up the crowds, shots of mezcal were being offered for free, and crazy costumes made for some mad celebrations.


Luckily the many taco stands helped take care of that cruda the next morning.


Concentration is the game, subject is: tacos!


Lots of condiment options at this stall in a local park.


A big molcajete filled with guacamole taquero. But look in the background, a gallon sized jug of La Costena salsa! Cheaters!


The meat grilling here was happening in the back.


I might as well include this for the LATaco crowd; a nearby stall was selling homemade stencils, ready to be sprayed! The guy had all kinds of themes, from Banksy to more regional stuff like the ones above.


There's a bunch of graffiti around as well, much of it is political, like my personal favorite above.


Well I hoped you enjoyed this mini-tour of Mexican taco stands. ¡Provecho!

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