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Esquites, elote (street corn)

Esquites from the street in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Elote is grilled corn on the cob, usually spread with mayonnaise (or butter) and topped with crumbly cheese, chile powder, and lime juice. Esquites (pictured) are its easier-to-eat sister: Cooked corn kernels, usually in a juicy mix with chiles, are scooped out of a big steaming pot into a small cup and topped with some combo of mayo, crumbly cheese, salt, chile powder, and lime juice, then eaten with a fork or spoon.

These are spicy, citrusy, chewy marinated corn snacks that make for a perfect (healthy, even!) late-afternoon bite.

Where: You’ll find elote and esquite vendors (both are often sold together) in markets and street stalls around Mexico. Any town’s zócalo, in fact, is likely to have some corn vendors skirting its edges. Our pic is from Oaxaca, where we had our esquites (10p), sin mayonesa, one block south of the zócalo. It’s a popular early-evening snack among locals there, along with raspas and, interestingly, bacon-wrapped hot dogs.


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