Oaxaca is the slow food destination of choice.
From elaborate moles to “simple” barbeques, this state leads the rest in variety of local ingredients and diversity of dishes. Here is our “top-7” list of the dishes to try on your next trip.
- Ceviche: Fresh mahi mahi or shrimp cooked by lime juice and garnished with onion, tomato, cilantro, lime and a sweet, tangy sauce served over tostadas. Our Huatulco favorite!
- Barbacoa: slow roasted goat or lamb roasted in the ground in maguey leaves, the traditional Mexican barbecue can easily be found Saturdays and Sundays.
- Chocolate: Sometimes prepared with cinnamon, sometimes with almonds, Oaxacan chocolate is traditionally served as hot chocolate at breakfast or dinner and made with water or milk.
- Mole: Oaxaca has a long list of mole sauces. With a list of ingredients 25 items or more long, the chocolate, red, and green moles are as unique as their chefs.
- Tamales: Wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks, the corn masa, or meal, is topped with anything from mole to shredded chicken to almonds (or pineapple for a sweet version). The tamales are wrapped in neat little packages and steamed to be enjoyed on the beach or at the market.
- Tlayuda: A great big taco! A crispy corn tortilla, spread with beans, pork lard, shredded cabbage, tomato, avocado, quesillo and topped with sun-dried beef called tasajo, or flavorful chorizo then folded and roasted over the coals for a few minutes, served up with some homemade salsa. The tlayuda is a lunch-time favorite.
- Oaxaca quesillo: or Oaxaca string cheese. Introduced into Oaxaca by Dominican monks, this cheese is similar in flavor and texture to mozzarella. You will see it everywhere in big balls of long ribbons of string cheese. Be sure to bring some home to make a caprese salad with fresh tomatoes and basil from the market.
This little list doesn't mention chapulines, roasted grasshoppers that are used to spice up some dishes or tried in a taco, of course, with some lime and salt, or garnachas or elotes, the local corn-on-the cob prepared with mayonnaise, cheese, hot pepper, and lime. However, as one friend said, “In Oaxaca, you don't have to worry about finding the food. The food comes to you.” On the beach, in the street, at the market, on the road side and everywhere in between, Oaxaca is a permanent feast.