If the clock strikes 2pm in Mexico and you want to eat something home style, then find your nearest fonda for comida corrida – it’s how the locals lunch. It’s also a satisfying and well-priced option for travellers who want to taste the flavours of authentic Mexican home cooking.
How do I find a fonda?
Follow your nose! In Mexico, a fonda is a small tavern, inn or café usually run by a family, that serves well-priced meals for the working class for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Friday. From around 2pm every day they serve comida corrida, also referred to as the menú del día or ‘meal of the day’, to lunchtime crowds of hungry locals.
What is Comida Corrida?
The term comida corrida translates as a meal (comida) on the run (corrida). It is usually a set lunch of three or four tiempos or ‘courses’ just like a French prix-fixe menu. At at around 50 pesos – around $3.50 Australian – comida corrida is the ideal meal for busy workers who need a healthy lunchtime option that’s served quickly.
What’s for lunch?
Comida corrida lunches usually start with a simple soup like a chicken consommé or a vegetable or fava bean version. The second course is either rice, pasta or salad. This is followed by a main course that is usually a meat dish or a guisado, which translates as a ‘stew’. The ingredients in the guisado vary from region to region and are served with house made salsas to add at your pleasure.
Sometimes at the end of the comida corrida there is a complimentary dessert, like a mini-flan or jelly, and you always get a flavoured water or aguas fresca flavoured with hibiscus flower, watermelon, horchata, lime, tamarind or pineapple.
One of the most enduring practices inside a fonda is that of saying Buen provecho to the stranger dining next to you when you arrive and leave. It translates as ‘enjoy your meal’ or, more precisely, may you find your meal satisfying. It’s the Mexican version of bon appétit.