Every year, just as summer peeks its warm face in Washington DC, I begin to crave fresh fruits and vegetables Mexican street cart style. One of the times when I have enjoyed it the most was last April. We were traveling through the Copper Canyon route, on a week long trip, from Chihuahua to Sinaloa. We had been waiting at the station in the town of Creel to catch the Chepe train to go to the next town.
As the station officer let out a scream that the train was approaching, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the fruit and vegetable cart. It was hot, we were tired and thirsty, and I saw Mr. Fruit Cart Man peeling some ripe and juicy mangoes. I grew weak in my knees.
Just that second, I saw Daniel’s face panic. He knew I was going to make a run for it. Along with his camera.
Although I could hear him scream: “NO PATI!!! You are going to be left behind!” I ran for it.
The fruit cups had watermelon, jícama, canteloupe and mangoes. Since Mr. Fruit Cart Man watched me run, he politely suggested I take one fruit cup just like that. But I was dying for one of those mangoes. Plus…, please! If you have tried a Mexican cart style fruit or vegetable, you must know, that without the salt, ground chile and freshly squeezed lime juice, there is no reason to run for it.
I filmed Mr. Fruit Cart Man with the FLIP (sorry friends, took me a year to learn how to upload it, and hopefully my videos will get better too… ) so you can see how beautifully he cuts and shapes the mango… As he was almost done, we heard the train come…
There are many ground chiles you can use. They all add that something that makes the flavor of the fruit come out and pop. There is the typical chile piquín.
There are also some liquid chile sauces you can use, and are found in many Fruit Carts. Such as La Valentina, Bufalo, or Cholula. These days, it is incredible, but one can find all of these chile mixes and sauces throughout the US.
That day Mr Fruit Cart Man added a ton of the chile, a bit of the salt and a giant squeeze of the fresh lime juice. By the time he was done, all the travelers had hopped on…
I am so lucky, because my monsters waited for me. It was a close call, but we made it.
See, Juju is licking his fingers from that last piece of mango…
And we did make it to our next stop…
Now that the summer is pumping up, you can make some too…
You will have made a wonder to run home for.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables from the Cart
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- Any fruits or vegetables that you are craving!
- Pineapple watermelon, mango, jicama, cucumber, carrots or any of your choice, peeled and sliced or diced
- Salt to sprinkle throughout
- Ground spiced up chile such as Tajín, or a sauce like Valentina, Buffalo or Cholula
- Fresh squeezed lime juice
- Peel and slice the fruits and vegetables. Sprinkle salt and chile to taste. Bathe with fresh squeezed lime juice. Eat up!
21comments inRunning to Catch the Fresh Fruit Cart!
Pati Jinich » Piquín Chile
[…] to covering the rims of tasty drinks. It is also ever present in street food stands that sell fresh fruits, veggies and crazy corn, where these ingredients are drizzled with lime juice, sprinkled with salt […]
Thank you for posting wonderful recipes, I can’t wait to try! they are so much what my mom would cook. She was born in chihuahua and later lived in Puebla a few years after marrying my dad. She passed away 5 months ago and my only comfort is cooking her dishes….
Hola Sonia, I am so sorry to hear about your mom; she sounds like she was a wonderful woman. I hope you are finding plenty of dishes that remind you of her here. Please let me know if you have any requests.
Healthy eating has really been good for my family. It’s very satisfying to grow and then prepare your own food.
Made a large batch of these for a Memorial Day bbq and everyone loved them! Tried doing the mango flower as well, but the mango was no where near ripe enough. Maybe I’ll do it again for the office?
Hi there Charlie Warlie,
Thanks for your comment ; ) Yes. These fresh fruits will just rock the office!!! You go!
Love it! Una vez mÃ¡s, capturas la esencia de la fruta fresca en un dÃa de calor. Para mÃ, no hay paseo al museo de antropologÃa en el DF, si no termina con fruta comprada en los carritos que estÃ¡n afuera.
Pati, this is *so* amazing. I cant believe Mexicans, just like Pakistanis, have fruit with chili, lime and salt. We call it fruit “chaat”. I have learnt so much about Mexican food from you and want to learn (and eat!) more. x shayma
Thank you so Shayma!! I cannot wait to try your food and learn more from you. Here or there, but it will most likely be first here in DC ; ) Can’t wait.
We loved the gorgeous flower the fruit cart man created! It made my family want to go to Mexico so we could enjoy the finger licking goodness first hand. Thanks for sharing!
Debra, so funny. Yes, if you come down to Mexico there is sure to be a lot of finger licking goodness!!!
The best video!!!!
I could “smell” this scene!
I shed some tears and smiled as I watched….
The vibrancy of flavor and sweetness of Mexican fruit well, there is just nothing like it!
Thanks for bringing the wonderful “fruit man” vignette to us.
Dear Cheryl, Love how you could “smell” the scene! It is my pleasure, always.
Genial! Como siempre!
Las fotos y los vÃdeos lo hicieron tanto mas especial!
I love it! Keep it coming Pati!
Gracias Gaby!! Le sigo…. Claro!
Mouthwatering. Let’s make some this summer!
Hi Jeanie!! Yes!!!
I love this. you are so poetic. I saw your video of the mango flower and my jacob will want me to do this. but, I have a feeling that this is one of those things your shouldn’t try at home! xo
Hola Tamarita!!! Gracias ; ) Lo probamos en el verano!!
Being in Texas we salt our watermelon and I salt my peaches, nectarines, grapfruit…. OK if it stands still I put salt on it! LOL I need to try the spicey sour one! I know I would love it!
I have watermelon and avocados in my kitchen right now and I just love them for summer time eating!
Oooooooooooh great idea for peaches and nectarines!! ; )