Top 5 Inexpensive Latino Foods and Snacks

If you are on a strict budget and are not in the mood to cook, you are in the right place. Latino foods and snacks are some of the most inexpensive treats you will come across. The best part is that many of these foods are sold in small mom and pops shops and you would be supporting communities of color. I apologize in advanced if you live in a Latino food desert and are unable to find these foods. But, be assured that you can attempt to make some of these foods or have them shipped by online stores that offer these snacks.

  1. Pupusas
    El Salvador is known for their pupusas. Anyone who has tried a pupusa raves about how delicious they are. I concur and I am also here to rave about something that people forget to mention, the cost. A pupusa is a handmade masa mixture that is filled with beans, loroco, cheese, chicharron or a mixture of all of these fillings. It also comes with a side of curtido, which is similar to a coleslaw, and a side of a mild tomato salsa. One pupusa can be very filling and I have paid anywhere from $1.00-$2.50 for one pupusa. I would skip the dollar menu anytime and go to my local Salvadoran restaurant for one of these babies.
    Price: $1.00-$3.50

Image from LAist
  1. Elotes (Mexican Style Corn)
    There is a meme on the internet that us Latina women know very well and it is that they will chase no man, except for the corn man. When you hear the horn, you very well know the corn man is within reach and you will chase after him. The corn man is a street vendor that sells elotes on a stand, in a shopping cart, or in a van. This may seem a bit too unconventional for some, but all of the Brown kids have been happily eating elotes from the corn man for generations. So what are elotes? Elotes are Mexican style corn that have been boiled smothered in mayo, grated parmesan cheese, Parkay butter, and chili powder. Don’t worry, the corn man will ask you what you would like on the corn if any of the ingredients aren’t to your liking. The prices range from $1.50-$2.00. I will have to end this one with a disclaimer given that this is almost exclusively a street food and you will have to use your judgement on this one.
    Price: $1.50-$2.00
Image from LA Eater
  1. Pan Dulce (Sweet Bread)
    I love pastries. What I don’t love is that they can run anywhere from $3-$6 for one pastry! If you have a sweet tooth and you are on a budget, go to your nearest panaderia (bakery) and get yourself some pan dulce. There are different varieties of pan dulce ranging from the classic concha, empanada filled with cream or jelly, cuernos, puerquitos and so many more! You can also get Mexican or Guatemalan style sweet bread, which are both very delicious. The prices range any where from $0.50 to $2.00 for their sweet bread depending on the size of the bread and the contents. These bakeries tend to be cash only.
    Price: $0.50 to $2.00
Image from We Like LA
  1. Duritos (Wheat Wheels)
    We will be revisiting the corn man once again because the corn man not only has elotes, he also has these amazing snacks called duritos (not Doritos). These are dried wheat snacks that you fry in oil and they puff up and make a delicious crunchy snack. Some people like to eat them plain and others like to add some lime, salt, and Valentina Red Hot Sauce. It is customizable because the corn man is that awesome. If you don’t feel comfortable buying food from a street vendor, then you can definitely find these tasty snacks in a local Latino supermarket, but they will be a little more expensive than ordering them from the corn man. The price ranges from $1.50-$2.50. This is a shareable snack and will get soggy if you don’t eat it fast enough.
    Price Range: $1.50-$2.50
Image from Untold LA
  1. Street Tacos
    How can I not include street tacos? Let me emphasize the fact that street tacos are not meant to be expensive! If you are looking for a cheap date night, taking your SO to a taco joint is a great choice! Street tacos can be purchased from a taco truck or a street vendor selling tacos on the corner of a main street. Do not be afraid to order your choice of meat outside of the typical carne asada. There are so many different kinds of taco meats worth trying such as lengua (tongue), cabeza (head), or suadero (meat cut between the belly and the leg). There are also more extreme cuts like sesos (brain) and eyeball! Mexicans do not like to waste any part of the animal. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can also find delicious bean, potato, and soyrizo tacos that are equally as delicious. You will know when you are in a good taco joint when they have a good variety of salsas, pickled veggies, and grilled onions and chilies. I encourage everyone to go outside of their comfort zone and try street tacos.
    Price range: $1.00-$2.00

No Soy Coda

Karen Carranza is a personal finance content creator and enthusiast. She is a first generation Mexican American determined to build generational wealth and spread financial literacy through her blog, workshops, and Instagram page.

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