When you cross the border into the United States, it doesn’t take long before fast food chains pop up on every other street corner. But what about Mexico? Can you even find typical junk food?
You won’t see fast food chains in Mexico everywhere – Mexican culture and society have a love affair with food that isn’t just limited to McDonalds or Burger King! That being said- there are still Mexican restaurants for Americans looking for quick bites like tacos or fried chicken bowls.
Just a note though before deciding to visit a Mexican family run restaurant, make sure you keep a stash of small bills with you as credit and debit cards most likely won’t be accepted.
The bigger restaurant chains will break your 500 or 1,000 Peso notes for free–but not everywhere else will take them! You might be told that the cash register is broke and have to run off searching for change for a 500 pesos bill. (Yes this has happened to me!)
That can be super frustrating so it’s always better if you just take cash in small denominations with you. Even small coins are happily accepted. Mexico is more of a cash society than the US or Canada after all.
So if you’re looking for the best fast cheap and fast eats in Mexico, keep on reading to find out the places to get your crave on.
Best Fast Food Restaurants in Mexico
It goes without saying that McDonald’s is one of the most popular fast food restaurants all around the world. It’s also the largest chain in Mexico too.
McDonald’s appears in pretty much every country but some countries haven’t allowed this chain because they want to preserve their traditional meals . In Mexico that’s not a problem; however there are still places in Mexico where there are no McDonalds. I have to say I’m happy that the authentic Mexico still exists.
In Huatulco, for instance, you won’t find a McDonald’s Mexico. And I hope there never is one although a few chains have started arriving like Dominos and Starbucks.
Other chain restaurants in Mexico include the usual suspects: Burger King and Wendy’s. You can also find Pizza Hut and Domino’s for your pizza fix. There are no Taco Bells in Mexico due to the cultural differences between American food choices and Mexican food choices.
Best Fast Food Restaurants in Mexico: Fast Food Chains
Mexican fast-food chains exist too. The most famous one is called “Sodimac” which is a similar to Home Depot. They have two restaurants in their stores: one for meat and another for vegetables, rice, pasta and other main courses.
If you love fried chicken in Mexico, you can try Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC.
Other fast food restaurants very similar to American are called “restaurantes mexicanos” which includes tacos, burritos and other Mexican essentials. Restaurants are open until around 10:00 PM or 11:00 PM. The meal costs around $5-6 USD on average with prices varying per state/city.
Mexican fast food chains include brands such as Pollo Campero , Maisa Express , Pizza Gigi , and many others . Prices are quite cheap; for example a value meal would cost between $4 and $7 dollars depending on the chain.
One of the closest things to fast food restaurants in Mexico is the roast chicken shop. There’s usually one that can be found in most Mexican neighborhoods. These fast food shops specialize in roasted chicken or pollo rostizado, and are usually open until around 10:00 PM. They might also offer catering services for parties or events.
If you’re visiting Mexico city and are looking for a sit-down family-style restaurant that gets you in and out quickly, check out Fonda Margarita . These fast restaurants are usually open until around 10:00 PM. Entrees at this chain range from $4-7 dollars and are very filling.
Food Delivery in Mexico
There are lots of restaurants that offer take-out options, especially in bigger cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara. You can get fast food delivered even to your home or office fairly easily. Search around on the Internet for delivery options that will best suit you at any given time and location. If you have a Mexican cell phone, it’s possible to text message an order in to many fast food places.
To make things really easy you can use an apps like Uber Eats or Rappi. In the smaller towns a simple call to the restaurant or a text can bring you food delivery from someone on a motorbike.
For instance, in Huatulco, Oaxaca almost every little mom and pop joint can deliver. In fact one time, the delivery driver came all the way to our location just to bring us the menu and then drove back, got the food and came back again. Now that’s service you won’t find in the US or Canada!
If you’re looking to try something from other countries it’s a little less common and can be a bit harder to find. There’s Thai fast food, burger joints offering American fast food, and even more exotic options like Peruvian cuisine. It’s much easier to find food from other countries if you’re in the bigger cities.
The Most Popular Cheap Eats in Mexico
The most popular fast food in Mexico is comida corrida. This could probably be considered the best most popular of the fast food restaurants in Mexico.
A comida corrida is fast food; it refers to a set price meal, which in most cases will include an entrée, rice, beans and a drink or agua fresca. The Mexican restaurants that serve these meals are known as “comida corrida” restaurants. A comida corrida set can vary from restaurant to restaurant but all include the basics: rice and beans with the option of having fried eggs or tortillas. Comidas corridas are offered at many fast-food outlets in Mexico such as Don Pollo and Bimbo bakeries .
Comida Corrida is probably the healthiest and lowest priced option you can find in Mexico and is really the most popular fast food in Mexico. It’s usually just a low price of around 40-90 pesos depending on what city you are in.
Other types of fast food in mexico
The fast food industry has also expanded into supermarkets with self service checkouts offering sandwiches . This concept is not new, supermarkets all over Europe have been doing this for years. It’s basically like fast food but it’s more expensive than regular fast food because it does not include a drink. Still, being able to grab a sandwich at your local supermarket can be pretty convenient.
How about stopping at a taco stand on the street and ordering a couple of biftec tacos? This is the fast food of Mexico although it’s not considered a quick food by the locals. Street tacos are served fast but they are not really considered fast food because you prepare most of it yourself. The great thing about tacos is that they’re fast, convenient and cheap; three things that Mexicans love!
Healthy Eats in Mexico
Mexican fruit and vegetable smoothies are bursting with flavor, nutrients, and vitamins. From exotic ingredients like amaranth to modern classics such as oranges or bananas combined with chia seeds for added protein, a Mexican healthy drink will satisfy your craving while satisfying your body’s nutritional needs.
You can find fresh juice stands in major cities across Mexico that will make you any type of concoction from an orange-banana mixture topped off by the nutritious addition of chia seeds – all without sugar!
You can also find tons of fresh, in-season fruit in Mexico. Simply head to one of the many local markets that exist around Mexican cities and towns. The produce here is very cheap and is probably less money than what you would spend at home! If you’re staying somewhere without kitchen access or if it’s late at night when all grocery stores are closed up tight, there are always people willing to slice things up for you.
If you’re in a hurry or just not feeling well, it can be really hard to find food that’s both healthy and tasty. Luckily there are street vendors who will make tacos for you on the spot! The healthiest option is by far cactus (nopales) with beans as they have less calories than beef, but mushrooms (hongos), corn fungus (huilacoche), potatoes and eggs also work if all else fails.
When it comes to healthy-ish snacks, elotes or esquites might be your best bet. Just make sure they don’t add all the mayo on top…it will ruin it for you! It’s delicious this way but not that healthy.
What’s your favorite junk eats? Let us know in the comments below.
Next: Check out the 8 Best Hole in the Wall Restaurants in Huatulco