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.
- 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!