If you have ever been to Mexico but haven’t eaten the street food, then you’ve really never been to Mexico. A huge part of Mexican culture is standing on a street corner savoring a delicious antojito over a brightly covered plastic plate. It is safe to say that most Mexicans can neatly do this without even so much as touching a napkin. I, on the other hand, have not yet mastered this art.
Needless to say, it was the title of this book, Street Food of Mexico, that first caught my attention, and upon scanning some of the recipes inside (tlacoyos, pambazos, cemitas…just to name a few), I was totally sold.
Restaurant owner and chef, Hugo Ortega, is an amazing individual with a great respect for the history of Mexico’s street cuisine. He knows that this is the food that fuels the country — “Rich with tradition and heritage, street food is the purest form of true, authentic Mexican cuisine.” His personal story is very humbling, and I love the way in which he presents the recipes in his book as a sort of tribute to the many cooks who keep the tradition of street food alive through their daily endeavors.
Throughout his book, Hugo provides the building blocks to achieve that authentic Mexican flavor. He talks about masa and how to make bolillos. He has recipes for tacos al pastor and sopes, and his brother Ruben, a pastry chef, even includes a section on classic sweet treats, like cacahuates garapiñados (candied peanuts) and nieves (sorbets).
And, it only gets better. Penny de los Santos does a fabulous job capturing the essence of the street food scene. Her pictures will no doubt transport you. I can’t get enough of the one of the guys separating the stringy queso Oaxaca into a giant pile. And, when I look at the picture of the puesto de juguitos (juice stand), I feel as if I can almost smell that distinct aroma of mangoes, lime, oranges, celery, and watermelon all mixed together.
So, if the street food of Mexico has enchanted you, as it has done to me, this is your book. Can’t you already taste that huarache with an agua de mango on the side?
Author: Hugo Ortega with Ruben Ortega
Publication Date: 2012