Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Milhouse

Food/Restaurant safety in Mexico?

Recommended Posts

Apart from the standard, "Do not drink the tap water." wondering if anyone could provide some additional info and guidelines.

Curious how safe it is eat from street vendors, restaurants off the beaten path, etc. Any particular foods to stay away from? Any personal experiences good and bad? Where's the best places to buy bottled water?

 

We're doing the Cabo, Mazatlan, & PV RCI cruise in December. First time to Mexico for both of us. And we've both had our Hep A shots prior to other travels. We'll be bringing some Imodium with us :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take it from someone who eats street food almost every day. I will stick with the vendors and stay away from the tourist restaurants! I have never in the 11 years I have lived in Cozumel and Cabo gotten sick from either the street food or from the tap water. I use tap water to brush my teeth, wash veggies/fruits and to cook with. I eat everything from hot dogs, burritos, fruit, tacos, ice cream from vendors along the street. And I repeat...NEVER have gotten sick. I have, however, gotten hepatitis from a very famous resturant in Cozumel and e-coli just recently from a tourist restaurant here in Cabo! My suggestion is drink lots of bottled water to stay hydrated (it is always hot and humid here), don't drink out of a faucet (everyone drinks and uses bottled water), limit the amount of spice you put on your food (even the locals make a quick dash to the restroom if they put too much on their food) and don't drink too much alcohol. Otherwise, enjoy your visit. Remember, many cases of G.I. occur onboard the ship NOT on the shore! Imodium is good thing to have just in case of many things. The doctor that treated me in the hospital with e-coli recommended plain 'ol Pepto would stop problems up. I am sure that every other post will advise you to stay away from street vendors and stick to tourist spots. But I am proof that doing so will not protect you and you will surely pay a heck of alot more money for your food. Pardon the pun but follow what your gut tells you. Those tacos at Donitas truck stand out in the parking lot of the pier are fantastic! Just ask all the ship crew that goes every week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Those tacos at Donitas truck stand out in the parking lot of the pier are fantastic! Just ask all the ship crew that goes every week.

 

I hope to try one of those tacos when we get there in about 3 weeks.:D

 

Dianne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope to try one of those tacos when we get there in about 3 weeks.:D

 

Dianne

Hola Dianne...Donitas has the carne asada and carne deshebrada tacos that I love. The first being like grilled chopped up meat and the second kind like shredded meat. They also have great lunch specials...yesterday was a mole chicken. Tacos are about $1.10 and the lunch special is usually about $4US. They also have great egg and ham tacos as well as bean and cheese...love them too! If you want smoked marlin or fried shrimp or fish tacos then I recommend Los Claros...just up the street that runs into the Hard Rock (Zaragoza). Easy to find...about a 10 minute stroll along the marina. Los Claros is out of this world. They have a fix-um bar set up with everything from slaw to chopped tomato to guacamole to add to your tacos. If you like spicy, then try the deep friend chiles...usually poblanos. They are in a bowl on top of the fix-um bar. Tacos are about $1.30, quesadillas about $1.40, tostados the same. Dang...I should not be talking about food...I am starving! It's your fault!!! I am off to find some delicious street food. There is a blue pickup truck in the parking lot next to Cabo Dolphin that sells ceviche that I want to try....will let you know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Take it from someone who eats street food almost every day. I will stick with the vendors and stay away from the tourist restaurants! I have never in the 11 years I have lived in Cozumel and Cabo gotten sick from either the street food or from the tap water.

 

But I don't think that's a fair comparison because I think you build up some immunity to the minor stuff over time. I had a prof in university that traveled to India yearly for irrigation projects he worked on. He said he used to get sick for the first few days but was ok for the rest of the trip/project. And during subsequent trips, the first few days weren't as bad for him. The rotating grad students he took with him usually got sick initially.

 

I love street food though and I really want to eat some tacos off the street. One coworker told me she ate everything everywhere and never had any probs. I need a larger sample size before I roll the dice. Nothing work than having to scramble to find a toilet.:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am wondering about the shredded meat you're talking about in the one taco.

 

We had some friends in the military who were from New Mexico. Their parents used to ship them a bag of dried shredded beef that they bought in Mexico and used in a lot of their cooking. It was very light weight since it was dehydrated and very fluffy until it was rehydrated with water or broth. And it was delicious beyond belief.

 

Are you talking about the same type of shredded beef?

 

Dianne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But I don't think that's a fair comparison because I think you build up some immunity to the minor stuff over time. .:D

I would agree 100% but I have moved around...so never in one spot long enough to build up immunity to the local bugs in the water. A month here, back to states for a couple, Cozumel, Cabo, Playa del Carmen, Xpu-ha, Costa Maya, Progresso... They don't all have the same minor stuff...surely they have their own varieties. And it doesn't explain why I never got sick at the beginning of a stay. I will continue to eat street food and will stay far away from the touristy restaurants. Not only will I eat better, I will also have money to spend on other things. Two $1.20 tamales from the ladies on the sidewalk in front of the seed store versus the tamales at a well known mexican restaurant here for $23.00US. Hepatitus was bad but having E-coli was horrible and took almost a month to get over. Too bad I didn't build up an immunity to tourist restaurants! I just decided 11 years ago that life was too short to hold back on the living part. And that goes for food...I never would have tried the venado burritos (deer meat) on the side of the road outside of Mahajual otherwise! But hey, that is just my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Am wondering about the shredded meat you're talking about in the one taco.

 

We had some friends in the military who were from New Mexico. Their parents used to ship them a bag of dried shredded beef that they bought in Mexico and used in a lot of their cooking. It was very light weight since it was dehydrated and very fluffy until it was rehydrated with water or broth. And it was delicious beyond belief.

 

Are you talking about the same type of shredded beef?

 

Dianne

Dianne...that is machaca...kinda like shredded beef jerky. And yummy! There is one place that sells machaca and egg burritos in the mornings really close to the pier. They are located in the "ditch" next to Captain Tony's restaurant...just down the sidewalk from Cabo Dolphins on the marina sidewalk. But they leave kinda early...they sells mostly to the fishermen. I eat at least one each Friday morning though. You can buy packages of machaca at any little tienda-our versions of the corner convenience store. There is one down from Cabo Dolphin on the sidewalk opposite the marina. Just by the traffic circle. Not sure if you can take back onboard but the x-ray machine can't tell.....

 

Deshebrada is more like shredded stew meat...very tender. Sometimes it is mixed with little pieces of potato.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dianne...that is machaca...kinda like shredded beef jerky. And yummy! There is one place that sells machaca and egg burritos in the mornings really close to the pier. They are located in the "ditch" next to Captain Tony's restaurant...just down the sidewalk from Cabo Dolphins on the marina sidewalk. But they leave kinda early...they sells mostly to the fishermen. I eat at least one each Friday morning though. You can buy packages of machaca at any little tienda-our versions of the corner convenience store. There is one down from Cabo Dolphin on the sidewalk opposite the marina. Just by the traffic circle. Not sure if you can take back onboard but the x-ray machine can't tell.....

 

Deshebrada is more like shredded stew meat...very tender. Sometimes it is mixed with little pieces of potato.

 

Machaca, yes, that's what they called it. It's all coming back to me now. (You have to remember my husband's military days were over 35 years ago.:) ) I may try buying a small bag of it just to munch on on the ship. I know I won't be able to get it back into the states but it will be like old times just to have a bite again.

 

Deshebrada sounds yummy too.

 

How am I going to eat all of these foods in port when I'm always so stuffed from the ship's food?

 

Decisions, decisions.:D

 

Dianne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Machaca, yes, that's what they called it. It's all coming back to me now. (You have to remember my husband's military days were over 35 years ago.:) ) I may try buying a small bag of it just to munch on on the ship. I know I won't be able to get it back into the states but it will be like old times just to have a bite again.

 

Deshebrada sounds yummy too.

 

How am I going to eat all of these foods in port when I'm always so stuffed from the ship's food?

 

Decisions, decisions.:D

 

Dianne

I got the perfect plan...I will get a package of machaca and leave it for you at Tequila Treasures! A gift from one street food lover to another. That will leave you more time to go enjoy tacos. You will be here on October 5th, correct? On the Star? Just let me know if I have the date correct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I got the perfect plan...I will get a package of machaca and leave it for you at Tequila Treasures! A gift from one street food lover to another. That will leave you more time to go enjoy tacos. You will be here on October 5th, correct? On the Star? Just let me know if I have the date correct.

 

Oct. 5th sounds right. Yes, we are on the Star.

 

Sounds like a plan.

 

However, as one who loves to return favors -- it seems to me you have some favorite items you like from the States when cruisers have a chance to bring them.

 

What can I bring to you that you're craving about now?

 

Dianne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nearly 20 years of eating and drinking during visits to PV, and I've never been sick (I'm not counting the night I over-celebrated our anniversary with too much tequila!). Everything from street food to beach food, atole to zanahoria (I had to look that up to find a word beginning with Z). Oh, and I drink tap water while in the city, too. I do usually buy one very large bottled water a day, but that is to make sure I get my daily allowance of water. Then I refill it as needed, but I don't like to use the same bottle for more than a day or two.

In PV, Walmart is across the street from the pier...great place to buy water. Down the street beside it are many little eateries and street vendors, depending on the time of day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oct. 5th sounds right. Yes, we are on the Star.

 

Sounds like a plan.

 

However, as one who loves to return favors -- it seems to me you have some favorite items you like from the States when cruisers have a chance to bring them.

 

What can I bring to you that you're craving about now?

 

Dianne

I have you down on my calendar in ink! Thank you for the offer. Without a hesitation....a can of SPAGHETTI O's! Any flavor. You would think with all the American based foods at our 3 large groceries they would have some. Cambells Chunky Soup, Ditty Moore stew, Bugel chips, even Jello brand pudding yes...but no Spaghetti O's. So that would be beyond fantastic. Muchos thanks in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nearly 20 years of eating and drinking during visits to PV, and I've never been sick (I'm not counting the night I over-celebrated our anniversary with too much tequila!). Everything from street food to beach food, atole to zanahoria (I had to look that up to find a word beginning with Z). .

Ahhhh, beach food. Have you ever tried Kebee's? That is the phonetic spelling. They look like fried balls of corn meal about the size of your fist. They kinda break them open and stuff them with ground meat and cabbage and salsa. I have never seen them sold any place but the beach.

 

And another one of my new favorites...mexican helote (white corn on the cob) on a stick covered in mayonaise, lime juice, parm cheese and chili powder. So messy with the juices running down your arm but a great flavor mix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have you down on my calendar in ink! Thank you for the offer. Without a hesitation....a can of SPAGHETTI O's! Any flavor. You would think with all the American based foods at our 3 large groceries they would have some. Cambells Chunky Soup, Ditty Moore stew, Bugel chips, even Jello brand pudding yes...but no Spaghetti O's. So that would be beyond fantastic. Muchos thanks in advance.

 

 

Spaghetti O's it is! Franco American or Chef Boyardee?

 

BTW, have you ever tried Chef Boyardee's ABC's & 123's? My grandkids love them. Made with alphabet and number macaroni's in their spaghetti sauce. They have one with little pasta dinasaurs too.:D

 

Dianne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ahhhh, beach food. Have you ever tried Kebee's? That is the phonetic spelling. They look like fried balls of corn meal about the size of your fist. They kinda break them open and stuff them with ground meat and cabbage and salsa. I have never seen them sold any place but the beach.

 

And another one of my new favorites...mexican helote (white corn on the cob) on a stick covered in mayonaise, lime juice, parm cheese and chili powder. So messy with the juices running down your arm but a great flavor mix.

 

I've never seen the fried corn meal balls, but I have the helote at least once each trip. Actually, I usually get the variation that gets me more corn...in a plastic cup. We make a trip to the Malecon each trip just to snack on that, a few other foods, and then pie or crepes (or both) for dessert.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Apart from the standard, "Do not drink the tap water." wondering if anyone could provide some additional info and guidelines.

Curious how safe it is eat from street vendors, restaurants off the beaten path, etc. Any particular foods to stay away from? Any personal experiences good and bad? Where's the best places to buy bottled water?

 

We're doing the Cabo, Mazatlan, & PV RCI cruise in December. First time to Mexico for both of us. And we've both had our Hep A shots prior to other travels. We'll be bringing some Imodium with us :).

 

We are returningto PV for our third time in less then two years

Check out Trip advisor Puerto Vallarta Forum for some great ideas food wise :)

 

This thread there started as a budget food guide but there were quickly other great restaurants thown into the mix

 

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150793-i46-k1331243-Budget_dining_options-Puerto_Vallarta_Pacific_Coast.html

 

This site has helped me so much also

 

http://allvallarta.com/

 

Interested in the street food??? YUM

 

http://www.vallarta-info.com/streetfood.html

 

If street food sounds scary then

 

http://www.vallarta-info.com/streetfood.html

 

My stomach is ultra ultra sensitive and I have never ever had one problem in PV or Mexico for that matter, unless I am silly and eat really spicy food or lots of coconut based drinks or curries and such (which I love) I do believe that their water sanitization system is one of the best in the world. That said, we only drink bottled water anywhere.

 

We were in Playa in Feb and one of the women we were with was complaining of the Montezulma's revenge she had.......we chuckled as we watched her eating so much fruit especially pineapple and drinking her third Pina Colada in about an hour.....her husband dow right laughed ather and set her straight about what was causing her ailment!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Living in San Diego gives me the opportunity to visit Tiajuana often. I have, over the last 25 years, eaten street tacos many times there. Also I have done it in Cabo and in the Yucatan on cruises we have takenas well as local restarants. I've eaten mango's from the fruit stand, drank margeritas and never have been sick, neither have my DH and DS's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to a lot of material that I read last year prior to our 14 day holiday cruise to the Mexican Riviera, they catorgarized Montezuma's Revenge a mostly an urban myth bought on by too much sun, hangovers and strange ingredients. That being said, my brother in law picked up a parasite when he was there 30 years ago, and I caught a very nasty case of dysintary when I was in Morroco. I have developed what I call third world rules for dining when in those areas of the world. Mexico certainly qualifies.

1. Never drink tap water. Always ask for the bottled variety.

2. If the ice is shaved, don't use it. If it looks as if it's from a ice machine, it's safe as ice machines must have working filters to operate.

3. Check out the restrooms. If they are clean and tidy, you can bet the kitchen is that way as well. Come to think of it, this is not a bad rule for restaurants here in the good old USA.

4. Never eat food from street vendors. This is a tough one. Last year when we were in La Paz we passed a street vendor that had the most amazing looking chili verde for sale. My mouth watered, and then I remembered the disentary I had in Morroco and I passed on the stew.

I have followed these rules for the last 25 years when traveling to the ends of the earth and have never had a problem with a dicey stomach. As a chef, one of the true pleasures of travel is to partake of the local cuisine and following these guidelines allows me to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

martinsfo: excellent recommendations for people unfamiliar with the areas they travel. I've been traveling in Mexico for 38 years now and even with my experience I fall prey to stomach problems on occassion - but I've lived to tell about it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never seen the fried corn meal balls, but I have the helote at least once each trip. Actually, I usually get the variation that gets me more corn...in a plastic cup. We make a trip to the Malecon each trip just to snack on that, a few other foods, and then pie or crepes (or both) for dessert.

The only place I have seen them is in Cozumel on the Casitas Beach area across from the Military base. There is a guy who walks around with his glass case and wraps them up in a piece of brown paper. They are heavenly!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Spaghetti O's it is! Franco American or Chef Boyardee?

 

BTW, have you ever tried Chef Boyardee's ABC's & 123's? My grandkids love them. Made with alphabet and number macaroni's in their spaghetti sauce. They have one with little pasta dinasaurs too.:D

 

Dianne

Hmmm the only kind I have ever had is Franco American. But I am not picky at all! Just a can of whatever kind you see first. I am soooo excited. I went by Tequila Treasures to make sure it was ok with Geovanni if I could use the bar as a drop-off point. He said sure when he found out it was for Cruise Critics! Alot of CC members have gone in to see him and ordered the margaritas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
According to a lot of material that I read last year prior to our 14 day holiday cruise to the Mexican Riviera, they catorgarized Montezuma's Revenge a mostly an urban myth bought on by too much sun, hangovers and strange ingredients.

Exactly like I was trying to say. I totally agree. Alot of people find it easier to blame it on Montezuma than to admit they did something stupid...like the post about the pineapple lady!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We still laugh about the *pineapple-pina colada lady*

 

>>>>4. Never eat food from street vendors. This is a tough one. Last year when we were in La Paz we passed a street vendor that had the most amazing looking chili verde for sale. My mouth watered, and then I remembered the disentary I had in Morroco and I passed on the stew.

 

That would be harder for me then not drinking the water!!! Someone on one of the PV sites said to look to see if the locals were eating at the stands..if it were crowded with locals good bet it would be fine.....

 

Some of those taco stands are incredible :) That said, you had a bad experience and that would be enough for me to want to swear off street food.

 

Many years ago I had a horrible day of being *sick* after drinking rum the night before, couldn't even look at a bottle of rum without wanting to be sick.....then last year in Playa Del Carmen someone made me try a Mojito....OMGH!!!!!! YUMO........that said, rum bottles still make me shudder....BUT I LOVE mojitos..;)

 

Marisma in PV (on Naranjo between Basilla and V. Caeeanza) makes the best shrimp tacos ever for about 15 pesos....it is extremely clean and always crowded (good sign).

 

LOL I am so hungry and I have a red thai chicken coconut curry bubbling away as I type......all this talk about coconut......;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...