Pad Thai (Stir-Fried Noodles)
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Raw fish in a landlocked city? Sí, por favor, if it’s Mexico City. Though it may seem odd to newbies, seasoned D.F. eaters know the ceviche in the capital is just as good as what you’d find on the coast. Moreover, you can try cooked seafood prepared coctél style, an import from Veracruz that's popular in D.F. (and is miles removed from American-style shrimp cocktail). You’ll find these in cheap markets and higher-end restaurants alike.
Good to know: In case you are wondering about the difference between Mexican ceviche and Mexican cóctel de camarón: For ceviche, as in other Latin American cuisines, raw fish and seafood is marinated and cured in lime juice, which effectively “cooks” it, and then is typically mixed with onions, tomato, chiles, and cilantro (see this Mexican-style ceviche from the Yucatán Peninsula). For a coctél, however, already-cooked seafood is covered in a spicy-sweet tomato sauce alongside some vegetables and avocado. They're both delicious!
Where: The pictured cóctel de camarón is from La Perla Escondida inside the excellent Mercado Coyoacán (three blocks north of Jardín Hidalgo, at Calles Allende and Malintzin, map), which is well regarded for its marisquerías, or seafood vendors.
When: Daily, 8am-6pm
Order: We loved the cóctel de camarón (40p small, 70p large)—a delectably bright and fresh-tasting concoction of chopped shrimp, tomato, onion, green pepper, avocado, olive oil, vinegar, ketchup, and a (somewhat) secret spicy sauce called salsa bruja, served with lime and saltines. (Initially we balked at the ketchup, but it tastes wonderful together.) You’ll find other cocteles and ceviches here, too, including pulpo (octopus), caracol (snail), and pescado (fish), as well as ceviche-topped tostadas, caldo de camarón, and more.
Alternatively: Also in Mercado Coyoacán is the popular Jardín del Pulpo, a ceviche vendor; in Roma Sur, Mercado de Medellín (betw. Medellín, Campeche, Monterrey, and Coahuila, map) is likewise celebrated for its seafood. On the higher end, there’s the excellent Contramar (Durango 200, map) restaurant in la Roma—though expect to pay a lot more for those cocteles de camarón (and the excellent tostada de atún).
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