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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Vaxevanakis

OAXACA: My favourite native dishes

Updated: Jan 25



I started writing these at the end of my previous blog but I started going into the history of some of the dishes, got excited and started writing a bit too much, so it’s got it’s very own blog!


Full disclosure: I am not a food blogger or a chef, I just absolutely LOVE cooking food, eating food and clearly talking and research all things food - so do with this list do as you wish but certainly don’t expect any sofisticed foodie language that goes further than delicious or banging!


Mole

One of the most popular dishes in Mexico, mole (a sauce made of a mix of spices, fruit and chilli) is also the oldest known prepared food in Mexico dating pre - European contact!! There is some evidence of mole being made by the Aztecs to honour the Aztec god of fire - MAD!! 


In Oaxaca, there are seven most notable moles within the region, hence it often being referred to as the “land of the seven moles. These include: rojo, coloradito, amarillo, verde, negro, chichilo, and manchamantel.


Where I enjoyed: Comedor Tipico La Abeulita in Mercado 20th November is famous for their mole negro con pollo (with chicken) however, I had a very tasty mole verde with fillet of fish at Tierra Del Sol. We also tried mole negro with the steak there but I felt like the mole verde was a much lighter accompaniment. 




Tlayuda:

A partially fried or toasted tortilla with refried beans, Oaxacan cheese, quessilo as a base where meat or veg is often added. Super tasty, can fold or eat like a pizza. 


Where I enjoyed: My favourite one was at Fonda Sofi’s in Mercado 20th November. We had a veggie one (my friend is veggie) and it felt a lot lighter than the one with meat and was piled with pumpkin flower, courgette, tomato, avocado and enough cheese to get that dairy satisfaction we all crave but without putting you in a food coma (although, thinking about it, can you ever really have too much cheese…?)





Empanada de Amarillo 

Empanadas are enjoyed across the whole of Latin America, but Oaxaca is famous for it’s filling of shredded chicken and mole Amarillo which is a yellow mole.


Where I enjoyed: I went to Empanada Del Carmen (also featured in Netflix Latin America Street Tour) and it was truly delicious. Quite messy so get lots of napkins and also I would recommend trying their quesadilla con champiñónes (mushrooms) - they were BANGINGGGGGG. To be honest, I preferred to the Empanada but think I am just not really a sauce gal!


Tetela

A pre - hispanic dish originating form the Mixtec region, these are triangular pockets of corn masa filled with ingredients like black beans, crema (cream), and fresh cheese. 


Where I enjoyed: We tried three variations of Tetela at Tierra Del Sol from pork, chorizo and beef. These were accompanied by a salsa that was made in front of us and with ingredients of our choice - we chose chapulines (crickets) and it was delicious!




Carnes Asadas (Tasajo, Cecina, Chorizo)

Although grilled meat is popular everywhere in Mexico, Oaxaca not only specialises in these three meats which include: beef, chorizo, pork but it has a whole aisle called the ‘passillo de carne’ which translates to meat aisle and is in Mercado 20th Novembre.


From walking in the market, you see the smoke coming from this loud and carnivorous aisle filled with multiple stands of raw meat, ready to be cooked by the chef, nearly always a woman btw - fresh to order often with cuts chosen by you! 


You have different vendors shouting at you, calling you to come to their stand and choose from a selection of sides from salsa ketchup, radishes with cucumber and grilled cactus - which is what we chose and it was delicious, reminded me of texture of boiled green beans. The dish comes with warm tortillas and is best shared! I can honestly say, hand on heart, I had the best chorizo there!! 





Seeing the variation in dishes, ingredients and techniques used was exciting and inspiring. It introduced me to the expansive culinary genius of Mexico.


Hope that's got you hungry and keen to explore Mexican cuisine.


Buen provecho!

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