Food and Restaurants, Mexico City
There's something else you should be careful with: food!! Our food is delicious, but it can be aggressive for foreigners, whose stomachs aren't used to hot stuff. So watch what you eat. This applies wherever you eat but especially when it comes to eating at the little street stands you'll find everywhere in town. Even though food is DELICIOUS there, the materials and the handling of the food are not very hygienic and you could get sick easily. So you'd better avoid them. I've adviced some people who decide to eat this kind of food to pick deep fried stuff over other things -- it's less likely to be polluted.
Also, never drink water from the tap, as it's almost never purified. You should buy bottled water or sodas instead. The water & ice served at the restaurants are perfectly safe, but not those served at street stands. Avoid having aguas frescas (fruit flavored water), sorbets, ice creams, raw fruit and seafood sold at street stands.
Not even Mexicans will drink their own tap water, which means any foreigner should be even more careful about avoiding it. Always drink and brush your teeth with bottled water. I didn't find I ever had to worry about ice, or using cuttlery in restaurants. Just avoid consuming any water than hasn't been frozen or boiled, and you should be fine. Bring some gravel and other medications just incase.
Be careful with spicy food!! There's no doubt it is really delicious but for tourists it can be very, very hot. I recommend you to ask the waiter about the ingredients of what you want to order.
Street food is easily found all around the city but also watch out! some of those stands aren't very clean and you can get an infection.
I ate street food in Mexico everyday for 5 years and got sick once. I got sick from one of the best restaurants too. I would get sick when I got back to England and had a curry.
All my foreign friends, mainly English and American, also ate daily on the street and rarely, if ever, got sick.
Yet NONE of my middle class Mexican friends ever ate on the street because, according to them, its dangerous.
But then they never had eaten street food so they didnt really know.... Middle class mexicans will also generally not use the spotless and safe Metro either because, according to them, its dirty and dangerous.
Its got nothing to do with the reality of the Metro or the food stalls.
Its a reflection of the huge social divide in the country where the wealthy wont mix with the poor.
So i think that if you have a reasonably strong stomach you should try some street food. Id just avoid egg tortas - the only thing that ever upset my stomach.
Many restaurants and bars, specially in tourist areas, have an add on service called cubierto. Usually it is a small fee, the main issue is that many times it is not disclosed until you get the bill.
In some instances, Specially in Plaza Garibaldi, theses fees are out of this world. Use extreme caution in some places that happily state no cover charge, that is a red flag. Watch out for those guys "welcoming to take a look into their restaurant". Unfortunatley I made such a rookie mistake and in fact got stiffed with these outragous fees. Please don't fall into this trap.
If you are stomach sensitive, you must eat in clean restaurants because if you eat in one of the multiple stands located on street you can be food poisoned, only if you want to take the risk, try to eat only deep fried meals with no raw vegetables.
In mexico, a lot of dishes include chilli and spices, if you are not used to eat spicy food be careful.
I asked four different locals about eating street food and three out of the four people I asked said they NEVER eat it. All of them said that a visitor should definitely never eat it, no matter how tempting it looks.
You'll see locals eating food from street vendors and sometimes it looks pretty good. The prices are definitely cheap, but I would suggest avoiding it at all costs unless you want to spend the rest of your trip in the toilet.
Everyone will tell you the same thing; DON'T DRINK THE WATER! If you're only going to be there for a few days, do you really want to spend it glued to the toilet? Naaaaah.
So, brush your teeth with bottled water. Rinse with bottled water, as well as your toothbrush. Do not sing in the shower (hum instead). Order your drinks 'sin hielo (pronounced sin yellow) which means no ice. Most hotels use purified water, but always double check.
Try to avoid salads as they will have been washed with the water as well and make sure your food is well cooked.
Be aware that water in Mexico city is not safe to drink.
In addition to the risk of catching bacteria causing diarrhea, I've been told that the tap water can give you amoebas, as well as some viruses (Hepatitis amongst others). And this is for microbial contamination. I wonder if the water is chemically potable...
So the best way to avoid this:
-DON'T drink tap water
- Avoid beverages with ice (unless it's been made of filtrated water, ask).
- Drink bottled water (be sure that the seal is unbroken)
- If you need to drink tap water, you can:
---boil it for 10 minutes
---treat it with iodine tablets
- Some houses are also equipped with Ozone purifiers, which kill microorganisms, and this should be safe. We drank that water without any problem
- If you're at an hotel, ask: maybe they have a filtration system
Well... In the streets of this city you will find lots of food stands, very cheap, and the food looks quite good... But let?s be honest... How healthy can be 5 tacos for 3 pesos?????
PLEASE do not eat on street stands unless you want to make a nice tour thru bathrooms around the city... THAT?S what is called "La venganza de Moctezuma"... We mexicans have already some kind of antibody for that... You dont...
Be careful if you eat or drink something that you have bought from a street vendor. Especially in the first days after arrival. Or otherwise You might het hit by Montezumas revenge, or in other words get the well known "turista", because visiting a city isn't so fine, if you have to run from one toilet to another.
By the way this orange juice tasted deliscious, and no consequence afterwards . . .
Should your stomach bother you, ask for guayaba tea. Guayaba tea has immediate effect but I learned it is best to keep on using it for at least two days. When having stomach problems it is essential to avoid any milkproducts for the next three days. And although it might be hard in a country that has a tradition in alcoholic beverages - yes, you guessed right - alcohol should be avoided as well. Although an instant cure, this tea has not yet made it to many other parts of the world, and is not to be confused with Guarana, which is an energy booster with origins in Brazil.