Just around the corner from Hostel Casa Vieja, there's a subway station, a high traffic area. So there's a ton of food stands, random restaurants, and holes in the wall everywhere. There's also people selling small trinkets and cheap things of all sorts. Walking down the street is a bit of an overload for the senses. The first few times its mesmerizing seeing all kinds of meats, salsas, spices, colors and hearing the sizzling of street-side grills and the crackling of empanadas being fried right next to you.
From freshly squeezed juices to baked pastries to tacos (real Mexican, not what we have in the US) with all kinds of questionable meats. Each time I walk by, I want to eat everything I see. The variety is vast. Pastries to tacos to soups to fruits to whatever. And its really cheap. $2 - $2.50 for a meal. Goldmine.
Obviously, everything smells awesome. Although I once walked by the wrong stall, and it smelled like a day old dump. They have some sewage problems here. Probably because the city is so big. If you walk down the wrong part of a street and get a good whiff of it, you might want to throw up. Speaking of sanitation, nobody uses gloves, flies are a problem, and I'm sure the food sits out there all day, but I haven't gotten too sick so far. I can't say the same about Taco Bell back home.
I haven't had a bad meal yet. Even when I wasn't looking for anything good. I stopped at a restaurant to take a piss and got a couple of empanandas while I was there. The cheesy spinach and corn emps were so delicious. It was surprising that there was only 1 couple at the restaurant.
At one taco stand there was some salsa that was pretty hot so I asked him what kind of salsa it was "salsa" he said, "o salsa roja" hoping that would satisfy my curiosity. It's funny that the salsa that was making me sweat was just "salsa" to him.
Tacos here are much different than what we know from Taco Bell. And thank God that they taste a lot better too. They're all soft, served warm, with a handful of chopped meat and a few splashes of salsa and eaten with the condiments are available. You could make a meal out the condiments: cheese, avocado sauce, salsa, and other stuff I can't remember.
I discovered tortas in a local supermarket. Not knowing what it was, I just ordered a hawaiian (hawayana) one. I pretty sure the cook didn't get my order right, but it was so excellent that I didn't care. Turns out that tortas are like sandwich melts with ham, chicken, some white cheese, peppers, avocado, and some other salsa. It was a huge sandwich, about $2.50 and delicious.
So far, the only bad meal ive really had here was soup that had too much salt, oh and the hostel breakfast sucked.