A VERY ROMERO&BRAAS GUIDE Mexico City Edition
Everyone who visits Mexico wants to have a unique experience, so we wanted to make it easier for you to explore and get to know this country the best way possible. Get yourself ready to discover a whole new face of Mexico with these insiders' tips.
THEREâ€™S SOMETHING WE JUST LOVE ABOUT THE FLAVOR OF MEXICAN FOOD, FRESH-MADE TORTILLAS ARE ONE OF OUR ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THINGS TO EAT.
YOU MAY BE EXCITED TO TRY THE POPULAR FOODS LIKE QUESADILLAS AND TACOS THAT YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT, BUT THERE IS MORE TO IT.
BE CAREFUL WITH THE SALSA! TRY THEM BEFORE SERVING A BIG SPOON OF IT INTO YOUR FOOD. (THE GREEN SALSA IS NOT GUACAMOLE)
Mexico is the holy land of Tacos - in all its variations. You will see lots of “Taco booths” on the street and Mexicans already start to eat their first Tacos in the early morning. The booths often look improvised, but many of them offer great quality and delicious tacos for a great price. The classic: “Tacos al pastor”.
The common ingredient to all moles is chiles, and the other ingredients vary. Modern moles are made with chocolate, additional spices and other ingredients like nuts, seeds, garlic, onions, cinnamon and all types of chiles. Mole is one of the most traditional Mexican foods, and it’s very good.
Chilaquiles are one of the all-rounders of the Mexican breakfast world; eat them with spicy sauces, mild cream and a sprinkling of cheese, pile them high with shredded chicken and fresh onions, or stuff them in some bread and call it a torta. Great for hangovers!
BY THE WAY: DESPITE THIS COMMON BELIEF - “CHILE CON CARNE” AND BURRITOS ARE NOT PART OF THE MEXICAN CUISINE. THAT IS A MYTH. SO DON'T BE SURPRISED IF YOU DON'T SEE IT ON THE MENU.
DON’T SHOT YOUR TEQUILA SIP, DON'T SHOT!
PRO-TIP MEXICAN MICROBREW Mexico now has a good number of microbreweries. In Mexico, it’s easy to find a cervecería. Don’t be surprised, Mexicans enjoy to mix their beer with shots of lemon, salt or even tomato juice and Maggy salsa. Sounds crazy - but look out for it and give it a try - you might even like it.
TEQUILA Of course, Mexico is the land of tequila. Abroad you mostly get sold the cheap, party version. However, in Mexico you could experience for the first time what great quality Tequila tastes like - so give it a second try, even though you might have had a bad Tequila party experience before.
MEZCAL Mezcal is the older, more sophisticated brother of Tequila. Less known in the past, it has become a very trendy liquor by now. It’s a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant native to Mexico. “The word Mezcal comes from Nahuatl "mexcalli" metl and ixcalli which means “oven-cooked agave”.”
Colloquial Language & Behavioral Tips
A very fast way to connect with the culture is to use some of the colloquial terms. People will immediately warm up to you - if you try to sprinkle some of this into your daily speech. Give it a try and wait for the reaction. Mexicans are generally known for their warmth and sense of humor. You’ll fall in love with their hospitality and positivity. Mexicans are very polite, so remember to always say “muchas gracias”, they will appreciate it.
¿QUÉ ONDA? Along with ¿Qué pasó? and ¿Qué tal?, this is yet another way to say What’s up?.
HOLA, WEY A classic in Mexico, wey means “dude”. The “correct” spelling (of this “incorrect” word) is güey. It is the best way to get acquainted fast.
¡QUE CHIDO! It’s another way of saying “This is so cool”, “This is great” or “Awesome”.
If you want to know one swear word, it should be "chingar". You’ll hear it bandied about between friends, shouted from car windows by an angry driver, especially hear it at football games. Meaning ‘to fuck’, chingar is commonly used in expressions like chingue a su madre (go fuck yourself) and vete a la chingada (also, go fuck yourself). Other favorites include pendejo.
THIS IS HOW TO "TIP" It’s easy to tip in Mexico - if the service was good you will add 10% and if you really liked it, you will add 15%. The best part is, you don’t have to do the calculation, simply ask the waiter to add the percentage “con el 10” or “con el 15”.
BUILD-IN EXTRA TIME FOR EVERYTHING Like most of Latin America, Mexico tends to run on a clock that’s a little fuzzy at times. So don’t assume that anything is going to start on time, that the person your meeting will be there promptly, or that the ride you’re taking is going to get there when promised.
THE PHENOMENON OF “AHORITA” You might hear this word from time to time. It means “in a little while” - however, the “little while” is not defined, so “ahorita” can mean: in 10 min or tomorrow. Just make sure to ask for a definition of it.
Miscellaneous Tips "M" IS FOR LADIES The Spanish word for women is “Mujeres”. So, gentlemen, if you see a bathroom door marked with an “M”, do NOT assume that it is the men’s room. Instead, look for a door marked with an “H” (for “hombre”) or a “C” (for Caballeros).
DON'T DRINK THE TAP WATER! But don’t worry about brushing your teeth with some of it =) While you should try the food, you definitely should not drink the tap water because it will make you very unwell.
You’ll get a paper slip upon entering Mexico - Don’t Lose It! The first thing that will happen officially arrive in Mexico is an immigration officer handing you back your stamped passport. But pay attention because there is something else hidden inside your passport. Most visitors to Mexico will fill out a little section at the end of the immigration form which is actually on break-away paper. The immigration officer will tear it off and stick it in your passport. Hold on to it because you’ll be asked for it when you leave the country (or risk paying a fine)!
SAFETY & MONEY You will have a great time in Mexico and most of the time feel safe and sound. However, we simply recommend you to be cautious in certain areas and situations. If you have more questions about it, your PM is the best person to turn to.
BE CAUTIOUS WITH YOUR CASH This encompasses everything to do with money and cash-carrying while in Mexico City. Obviously, donâ€™t carry around every peso you brought with you. Only carry what youâ€™ll need for the day. Some cash is still necessary as, especially smaller stores or restaurants will not yet accept paying by debit or credit card.
Mexico is always a good idea
Choose ATMs in malls or stores if possible. Avoid using ATMs at night or in deserted places. When you withdraw money from an ATM, donâ€™t forget your card - you have to choose the option to take it out, otherwise, the ATM will keep it.
AVOID USING STREET TAXIS Uber is a great and economical way to move around in a lot of parts of Mexico. It is very safe. Download the app and use it with your credit card - super easy. In case you are in a place where Uber does not reach you - just ask your hotel to call a cab for you.
Our final tip for your time in Mexico is … Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Mexico has a single culture or that you’ve seen the country just because you spent a weekend in Cancun or Cabo. Mexico is an ENORMOUS country with lots to see. It has over 128 million people. That’s more than the entire population of the U.K, Canada, and Australia – combined. And Mexico spans almost 2 million square kilometers – which is about half the size of the entire European Union. Mexico has mountains, deserts, cities, beaches, jungles, canyons, plains, and every sort of landscape you can imagine. Each part of the country has its own culture, food, and unique vibe.
Enjoy your time and again, welcome to Mexico. - THE ROMERO&BRAAS TEAM
A guide created by Romero&Braas