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Elote Grilled Street Corn – Mexicana

If you’ve watched any amount of food television, you’ve probably heard people talking about ‘Mexican Street Corn’. I spent a lot of time in the streets, squares and parks of Mexico but couldn’t find street corn for love nor money. That is, until I visited the Bosque de Chapultepec in Mexico City. It was on a crowded, noisy Sunday in the park (with Jorge) that I tried my first Elote or Grilled Street Corn.

vendor selling elote and esquites street corn in Mexico

Bosque de Chapultepec means Forest of the Grasshoppers. Whilst grasshoppers were nowhere to be seen on the day we visited, what seemed to be the entire population of Mexico City more than made up for it. This enormous parkland covers over 650 hectares and is rightly known as the lungs of Mexico City. It’s where the Chilangas choose to spend their leisure time. Strolling, boating, playing and above all, eating. Stall after stall of juices, shaved ices, ice creams, soft drinks  and corn chips in the colours of the rainbow. It’s safe to say that the artificial colouring and flavouring business is thriving in Mexico.

vendor selling snack is Bosque Chapultepec in Mexico City vendor selling snack in Bosque Chapultepec in Mexico City

Elote or Esquites?
Corn is a hugely popular street food snack amongst Mexicans. Served on the cob, puffed, dried and salted, there are a multitude of ways to consume it. When it’s served grilled on a stick, it’s known as Elote. A more elegant alternative is to enjoy it boiled, cut from the cob and served in a cup topped with lime juice, creamy sauces, chilli and grated cheese. This style is particularly popular in central Mexico where we would see children queuing for it after school. When prepared this way, it’s known as Esquites.

When making Elote, large cobs of corn are boiled then stripped of their husks. The corn is then grilled to bring out the natural sugars and provide some caramelisation before the whole lot is smothered in mayonnaise and topped with grated cheese, salt, pepper and chilli powder. No butter – that’s a westernised addition. Served with the stalk or more practically speared on a stick, it’s a filling snack.

My Elote was enjoyable and certainly impressive to look at but to be honest, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. I suspect though that if you’re raised on a diet of corn, it’s a comfort food that’s associated with great childhood memories. Like Vegemite toast. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

7 comments… add one
  • Pamela hayward May 19, 2017, 11:51 pm

    Delicious but messy! Any recommendations for Fez

  • sherry from sherrys pickings May 20, 2017, 1:27 pm

    i don’t mind the occasional nibble on a bit of corn but not sure about a whole huge cob like this. and i do love me lots of butter on it; mayo sounds a bit weird.

    • Fiona Ryan May 22, 2017, 6:47 pm

      Yes, the mayonnaise was odd but I saw it in many places. I does make the cob look very pale.

  • Liz Posmyk (Good Things) May 22, 2017, 2:14 am


  • Joy @MyTravelingJoys May 22, 2017, 6:27 pm

    Mmmm…delicious! You’ll even see this at some of the trendy food trucks here in London now!

    • Fiona Ryan May 22, 2017, 6:50 pm

      It certainly was delicious and the one I had was a two person snack. I bet they don’t cost less than $1 as they did in Mexico!

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