Pambazos in Mexico City: The Street Food Sandwich To Rule Them All

As soon as I got to Mexico City, I stopped at my friend Edwin’s house. His name on facebook is Edwin “Beerman” so you can only imagine what was to follow shortly thereafter for the rest of the evening.

leon shot
Leon: Mexico’s “Munich Style” Dark Beer

Several innumerable oversized caguamas later, the Mexican beer munchies came a knockin’. Luckily, Doña Loreto, colonia Ahuizotla’s resident nocturnal Pambazonera was located down his street.


She doesn’t even start setting up until 9 PM but there were already people lining up waiting for her shimmering flat top to heat up.

the pambazo scene

She specializes in quesadillas and pambazos, sencillas (as is) or tricked out with a fat scoop of her homemade guisados.

pambazo opened

I opted to order mine with slivered sautéed champiñones (mushrooms) in addition to the traditional stuffing of Mexican chorizo spiked, fried mashed potatoes. I was lightly drooling as I patiently waited for the red-chile-sauce drenched telera roll’s edges to crisp up.

Fortunately, I was beer goggling it sick and didn’t think twice about the amount of creamy, unrefined lard she must have spooned over it, on both sides of the halved pieces of bread of course.

Around maybe seven eternal minutes later, the fried sandwich was finally ready. A pambazo is a unique individual in the pantheon of Mexican street food. Some people describe it, as a “Mexican French Dip” but that isn’t quite politically correct for this day and age, it certainly deserves much more respect than that. A pambazo is a proud sandwich transsexual who wished it were born an enchilada and damned it will be if it lets gastronomy norms get in the way of that.

Who’s to say it has to be tortilla and not a piece of bread that has to be drenched in red chile and griddled in order for it to be stuffed with cheese or potatoes? Hell, let it do whatever it wants. If it wants to have multiple toppings, so be it! Salty, crumbly cotija cheese, thinly shredded crisp iceberg lettuce and thick Mexican crema? Si se puede! Especially, if it’s still soft and moist on the inside while the edges are golden brown and crisp.

pambazo full body
Equality for all!

*Pambazos can be found pretty much everywhere tacos roam in Mexico City

A Moment for Marquesitas: A Southern Mexican Street Food Dessert Favorite

If it’s a summer night and you are in downtown Merida, a “Marquesita” will most likely be in your near future. The pedal-powered street dessert hawkers are basically in every corner of the Zocalo and central tourist district. No, they aren’t swordsmith’s crafting metal as they push down on their blue-flamed, huge waffle-machine like cast-iron griddle set up with all their might, they are just making Marquesitas.

marquesito griddle

The traditional filling is actually a base of shredded “Bola de Queso” or Edam cheese with whatever else you’d like. The older couple who were in front of us asked for theirs with peanut butter and the zesty cheese, while the lady behind me ordered hers with the cheese and smothered with cajeta de cabra envinada (Mexican goat’s milk caramel flavored with red wine).

If the smell of toasted sugar and vanilla doesn’t lure you in, the curious Indian dosa-like funnel shape of it will. The French have crepes, the Italian have pizelles, the Indonesian have Teram Bulan and well, this is like a combination of all those but better. A sweet version of a paper dosa? Err, even more crispy and fragile than that, it is almost like a freshly made pirouette cookie even. Especially when prepared with creamy nutella and lechera like I did when I got mine in Merida.

marquesita in action

You might also luck out if the local feria is in town; I caught one at the Feria de Playa during my stay in Playa del Carmen too. The ingredients to stuff it with were more varied there. Nonetheless, I got mine with nutella and sliced banana. As if it wasn’t going to taste bad, haha. Whatever stuff’s your Marquesa with…its all good. Just make sure you eat it with your arms extended because the filling tends to leak from the bottom. Or you can just eat it like a sword-swallower like I did.

marquesita money shot
Marquesita in 3D!