Latin American Street Food

Some of Latin America’s best dishes are found on the streets, at roadside carts and cafes. Here are some of our favorite recipes for grilled corn, tortas, tacos and more.

Malanga Fritters While visiting Cuba, we learned how to make these unexpectedly delicate fritters from local cook Ofelia Farres. See the recipe for Malanga Fritters » Christopher Hirsheimer

Meat-Stuffed Potato Croquettes

These croquettes can also be filled with chicken or tuna. See the recipe for Meat-Stuffed Potato Croquettes »

Yucca Fritters

These simple fritters are a favorite Cuban snack. See the recipe for Yucca Fritters »

Cemita Poblana

Mexico’s overstuffed cemita poblana brims with queso blanco, chipotle, pepper, avocado, papalo and crisp milanesa (a fried cutlet). Get the recipe for Cemita Poblana »

Torta Ahogada

This popular Mexican sandwich from the state of Jalisco is filled with crisp roast pork, then “drowned” in a spicy chile de árbol sauce.

Bauru (Brazilian Roast Beef Sandwich)

Brazil’s Bauru is made by smothering roast beef with melted mozzarella and tomato. See the recipe For Bauru »
In the Lomito Completo, popular in Uruguay and Argentina, sirloin steak is lavished with sauerkraut, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and a runny fried egg. See the recipe for Lomito Completo »
Elote The herb epazote added to the boiling water lends a floral flavor to this corn. See the recipe for Elote » Back to Mexico Feeds Me » Todd Coleman

Zacatecan Baked Masa Cakes (Gorditas Zacatecanas)

Margarita Morales of Fresnillo, Zacatecas, shared the recipe for these crisp, bean-filled snacks.

Masa Cakes Stuffed With Eggs (Gorditas de Huevos)

These savory gorditas stuffed with chile-spiced scrambled eggs make a great breakfast meal or afternoon snack. Get the recipe for Masa Cakes Stuffed With Eggs (Gorditas de Huevos) »

Tacos de Papa

These tacos are stuffed with cumin-spiced potatoes and fried until they’re crunchy.


These flavorful tamales are sold from street stands during the holidays in Puerto Rico. See the recipe for Pasteles » Back to Puerto Rican Christmas »

Seafood Cocktail (Coctel de Mariscos)

This zesty mix of fresh seafood, tomato and lime juices, and hot sauce is a refreshing snack or light meal eaten along Mexico’s coasts. Get the recipe »

Chalupas Poblanas (Thick Tortillas Fried with Salsa)

These thick tortillas, bathed in two types of salsa and garnished with shredded chicken, are a popular street snack in Mexico. See the recipe for Chalupas Poblanas »

Grilled Steak Tacos (Tacos de Carne Asada)

Grilled Steak Tacos (Tacos de Carne Asada)

Mexican Bean and Cheese Sandwich (Molletes)

The bolillo, a French-style crusty white bread roll from Mexico, is the traditional foundation of this comforting dish, but a kaiser or most any other sandwich roll will work well.

Salsa-Dipped Potato and Chorizo Sandwiches (Pambazos)

These salsa-dunked and griddled sandwiches, an iconic Mexico City street food, are named for the pambazos—soft, oval rolls—they’re typically made with. Telera and kaiser rolls make fine substitutes.

Sweet Hibiscus Drink (Agua de Jamaica)

This sweet-tart drink is a popular streetside cooler.

Pineapple and Cactus Drink (Agua de Piña con Nopal)

This thirst-quencher punches up pineapple and apple with cactus.
Thick, oblong masa tortillas (named huarache, or sandal, because of their shape) are topped with grated cheese, salsa roja, sauteed steak, and sliced cactus in this classic street food.

Churros con Chocolate Caliente (Mexican Fritters with Hot Chocolate)

Ruben Ortega, a native of Puebla and the pastry chef at Hugo’s in Houston, Texas, shared his recipe for long, fluted fritters, served with thick hot chocolate for dunking. Get the recipe for Churros con Chocolate Caliente (Mexican Fritters with Hot Chocolate) »

Beef Brisket and Picadillo-Stuffed Empanadas

Tender, braised beef brisket is combined with raisins, sherry, pine nuts, and spicy chile powder in the fragrant filling for sugar-dusted, savory-sweet empanadas. Get the recipe for Beef Brisket and Picadillo-Stuffed Empanadas »