Street Food Saturday – Seafood Quesadillas and Tostadas

Because sometimes a picture needs words, right? I’ve been posting several street food pictures for wordless Wednesday, but a lot of you have been asking what those delicious looking foods are. I usually give a short explanation in the comment section, but it’s not the same than writing a post about them. So I decided to start this new section that will be published on Saturdays. But the best part is that I want you to participate!

Here in Mexico we’re blessed when it comes to food. Our temperate climate allows the production of many different types of produce the whole year. There’s always something growing in the fields of Mexico. That also means that produce is inexpensive and abundant, which is good for food vendors. Street food is part of our culture. You can’t go a block without finding some kind of food for sale on the street, small shops or even at people’s houses. We love to eat.

Octopus Tostada

Seafood in Mexico City might not be as popular as in the coast, but we have our share of good seafood. The seafood that is sell in the city comes from the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico. Every morning hundreds of trucks arrive at la nueva Viga, the section of central de abasto (the biggest wholesale market in the city, the country and maybe the world. Follow the link to learn more about this place) filled with fresh seafood and fish. Most (if not all) of the seafood sold in the city comes from this place. But you have to get there really early to get the best picks. When my parents owned their fonda my dad would get there at 5 in the morning to buy directly from the trucks. I know this because I would go with him before he dropped me off at school.

Best seafood in the city

There are a few restaurants that sell great seafood dishes. But you can also find great places on the street and markets. The pictures for this post were taken in different places of the city. The first one is a picture of seafood quesadillas or fried tacos. In the future I’ll explain why these are called quesadillas even though they have no queso (cheese). The second picture is of the stall where they prepare them. These pictures were taken in colonia Roma, very close to the Insurgentes metro station. Metro stations always attract a lot of food vendors. This is one of the busiest stations of the city, therefore there are more and better street food options.

The third picture was taken in Mercado Hidalgo, just outside of downtown Mexico City. It is an octopus tostada and it was delicious. However, you have to be careful with what you order in this market. Do not order any of their shrimp or fish cocktails because they serve them with a horrible sauce that is made with ketchup… I know what you’re thinking, how can you ruin perfect seafood with ketchup?

The next picture is of a blue crab tostada and it was taken outside Mercado San Juan. It is, in many people’s opinion, including Nicholas Gilman’s (the first person who took me there), the best seafood stall in the city. And I agree. I’ve liked everything I’ve tried there. You sit in stools in a very narrow sidewalk in front of a glass that separates you from the food you’re ordering. A great food experience!

Best seafood in the city

Now the question you might be asking yourselves is, how do you want us to participate? I will post a different street food every Saturday in this section with a small explanation of what it is. I’d love to include your street food experiences here as well. You can write about it on your own blog and if you don’t have a blog just send me a picture with an explanation of what it is and I’ll post it here.

Please send your entries to ben.herrera[at]whatscooking[dot]us before noon CST of every Friday. The roundup will be published on Saturday.

The entries can be any kind of street food you’ve had in your life. Or any food you’ve prepared in your house inspired by street food. I’m aware that in some countries street food is strictly regulated and it’s not as easy to find as in Mexico, but we all deserve to have a taste of what the streets have to offer. I hope to learn a lot about street food from all over the world with your entries.

¬°Buen provecho!

Experience Mexico City’s street food taking one of Eat Mexico tours, the best food tours of the city.


  • I wish we had such food vendors here as it is pretty poor when it comes to street food and what you find is pretty uninteresting or bad (industrial)… Nothing is inexpensive in Switzerland. Awesome tostadas and quesadillas.



  • OH! The octopus looks AMAZING!!! LOVE PULPO!

  • Yum! Everything looks delicious! I’m going to Mexico in a couple months for my honeymoon (Los Cabos) and am excited in indulge!

  • I’m so envious of the wonderful street food in Mexico City. I have only been there a few times, but I’ve always enjoyed street food like these tostadas.

  • I have been wondering about some of your wordless wednesday posts…can’t wait to hear more about the street food from whence they come!

  • I just watched a Rick Bayless street food taco/tostada show. Makes me want to hop a plane to Mexico. It all sounds so wonderful.

  • Street food in Mexico is truly a marvel–we are so lucky. I’m knee=deep in US taxes and classes this week and may not have time to participate, but I love the idea of this event. Best of luck!

  • The Wife and I lived in Mexico for a year helping friends set up a Restaurant/Bar in Chapala Mexico. It was fun and each week we would spend a day wandering around the great city of Guadalajara Mexico. We too loved the Street foods. We can never have anything like that here in the USA for we are totally controlled by Big Government Agencies that know what is best for you. Like the FDA (I call Murder for Corporate Profits Inc.) would rather you purchase foods from the Giant Food Processor full of Toxins just to increase their Profits. Being a retired Chef I teach free cooking classes which call “how to cook outside the FDA’s Poison box.” For those that do not believe me just read the labels and look up the words that you can not pronounce. But back to the Street Foods, I loved the little taco stands with soft corn tortilla filled with all sorts of good food bits. We use to wander around the great Mercado market places and taste many items with out plates and held withing a napkin while walking around seeing the Sights. So, happy eating to one and all.

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking when posting this, but I didn’t want to say that bluntly. Hehe. Thanks for your comment Robert!

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