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Culinary Secrets of the Centro Histórico

$85 US/person
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  • Fee includes everything consumed on the walk
  • Group Size: 2-6
  • Start/End: 11:00am-3:00pm
  • Duration: about 4.0 hours

With our partner on the ground, Eat Mexico, we’ve designed a Culinary Backstreets experience in which we’ll not only eat, but also learn about the multilayered history and culture of Mexico City.

Mexico City’s Centro Histórico is where it all unfolds: centuries-old buildings decorated with saints carved in stone; churches that once housed cloistered nuns; family-run fondas dishing out home-style classics just as they have for more than a hundred years. Picture all of this against a bustling backdrop of thousands of people buying necessities for their daily lives. There’s a Centro that tourists visit, and then there’s the one we visit: an enclave south of Bellas Artes that has changed little since it was “modernized” in the 1930s. Laundry still hangs from windows. Lines at butchers’ stands still snake down the block. Corn mills and tortillerías still supply neighborhood families and nearby restaurants, churning out masa (corn meal) and fresh tortillas daily.

On this walking tour we’ll also learn about the history and preparation of each food item we taste. Along with taking an up-close look at how tortillas are made, we’ll try light, flavorful seafood tostadas, which the city’s serious foodies claim to be the best in town. We’ll meander through the neighborhood and try flat, crisp masa patties called tlacoyos, stuffed with beans or cheese and topped with cactus, that are made on a grill propped up on the sidewalk. We’ll have an artisanal cheese-tasting at a covered market favored by local gourmets, where we’ll also learn from a tropical fruit vendor what separates a mamey from a chicozapote. We’ll end the tour with a taste of pulque, a native Mexican alcoholic beverage made from fermented maguey sap, whose history dates back to pre-Hispanic times. It’s a fitting end in a city where the Aztec influence still runs deep and centuries-old culinary traditions are as vital as ever.

Am I going to get sick from eating Mexican street food or tacos?

Mild discomfort is common for people who aren’t used to eating Mexican spices or produce. However, all the food stops on each of our tours have been personally tested — often multiple times — by Eat Mexico’s founders, as well as each of our guides. We stand by their quality and cleanliness.

Can you pick me up from my hotel?  How will I return once the tour is over?

Our tour prices don’t include transportation. If you book a tour, you’re responsible for arriving to the pre-arranged meeting spot on your own. Most Mexico City hotels provide taxi services for guests, and it’s generally easy and convenient to use them. However, if you’re interested in booking a taxi through Eat Mexico, we can arrange hotel pick-up for an extra fee.

Once the tour is over, we will help you get an authorized, safe taxi to your hotel, or provide directions on public transportation, if you’re interested in that.

Where do we meet for these tours?

It’s at a well-known monument in the Centro Histórico. We’ll send you a maps link, or even a map from your hotel if you need it, once you’ve booked your tour.

Is English spoken?

English is definitely spoken! Our guides are either American and bilingual in Spanish, or they’re Mexicans who speak fluent English. We will also happily do a tour in Spanish if you prefer.

Can vegetarians or vegans take this tour?

Vegetarians, definitely. We don’t recommend this tour for vegans. Our tours also work for anyone with cheese, nut and wheat allergies. Please let us what know your dietary restrictions in advance.

What should I wear?

Comfortable, closed-toed shoes (no flip-flops please), pants, and shirts in layers — it can be cooler in the morning and warmer in the afternoon. Please bring an umbrella if you’re traveling in Mexico City’s rainy season, from June-September.

How much walking is involved?

Quite a bit. We want you to experience the most amount of food and culture possible, and while we are not actively walking the entire time, you will be required to walk from stop to stop. There are between six and eight stops on each tour, so it’s best if you’re used to a moderate amount of physical activity. Many of the street stands we visit also do not have seating, so you will eat standing up.

How much food will I get to try?

This is really up to you. We generally taste around six items on each tour, but the price includes as much food as you’re open to trying. We offer a suggested portion size at each stop and you can take our recommendation if you’d like. Our goal is to have you end the tour pleasantly stuffed, not so full you can barely walk. That said, everyone’s appetite is different and we welcome all varieties!

What if it rains?

Our tours are conducted rain or shine.

Can I bring my children on this tour?

Sure! We welcome ages 13 and over. Babies under a year old are welcome free of charge, but the route is not stroller-friendly.  As long as you know that the tour wasn’t designed with children in mind. But we welcome kids and have hosted many families – we think it’s a great experience to broaden everyone’s horizons. Ages 13 and under come for $40, and ages 14 and over come for the regular price.  There is one stop where children under the age of 18 are not permitted.

What is your cancellation policy?

50% of the tour cost is refundable if cancelled in more than 10 days.  The remaining is non-refundable.  This differs from other locations because of local agreements.

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