La Poblanita

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This is Street Food

La Poblanita , located right near the Catedral de Puebla (in the historical center), is a street food vendor which sells antojitos. If you were to ask me what I think of when I think of Mexico, one of the first things I would say is ‘antojitos’. Antojitos means ‘little cravings’ and are the street foods of Mexico. Street foods in Mexico mostly include corn as their main ingredient. Here are just to name a few: tacos, tamales, memelas, gorditas, quesadillas, tortas, cemitas, chalupas, elotes, taquitos dorados, tostadas and molotes! Antojitos are sold EVERYWHERE, and I mean everywhere. You can always find something to eat in Mexico, day or night. You can’t go a block without antojitos being sold. And just because they are off the street doesn’t mean they are not safe to eat. I have never gotten food poisoning from street food, so don’t be scared to be adventurous. Try something new and be a real Mexican. Because real mexicans love their antojitos. Antojitos are sold by a lot of places during the day and generally close up shop by early evening, but at night a whole new set of vendors appear whether its in an actual building or being sold on the side of a street. I plan to make a lot of posts about different antojitos, so do not fret if you are puzzled as to what many of them are.

This post is about Molotes. Molotes are deep fried corn tortillas which have an oval shape. They are filled with the filling of your choice such as quesillo (my favourite) , mushrooms or many meat options. Aside: quesillo is a cheese from Oaxaca generally used in quesadillas and lots of antojitos. For vegetarians its a very tasty option. Anyway back to Molotes, once they are filled, they are deep fried, and served with salsa (rojo or verde) and sour cream. They are really really delicious- crunchy on the outside and the salsa and cream take it to the next level.

La Poblanita which is very well known in Puebla has been around for about 30 years. The weird thing is that they sell molotes throughout the day whereas usually molotes are mostly sold as a night street food. It’s cheating a bit eating them during the day, but they taste so good I don’t really care if it’s not the proper way! I guess eating a molote during the day is a bit like having a cappuccino after 11am in Italy.

Señoritas de la Poblanita

Here are some tips for ordering antojitos in Mexico:

  • Its not really in the mexican culture for them to ask you what you want to eat. To get the vendors attention you need to say either ‘señorita/señora’ for women and for men you say ‘joven’ which means young man (usually you will only find men selling tacos).
  • You should then ask for what you want and ask how much it costs (‘cuanto cuesta?’). A molote at La Poblanita costs about 16 pesos. If you want a soda with it I recommend Mexican Coca Cola (in the glass bottle). Mexican Coca-Cola is the best coke in the world so don’t pass up on the opportunity to try it. Often the soda will cost more than the antojito (usually 10-12 pesos). Its also absolutely fine to ask for whatever you want even if its not necessarily on the menu. For example if you want mushrooms and quesillo, then go for it. Mexicans are very accommodating. Same goes with if you don’t want the salsa (though I think that would be a fatal mistake).
  • At La Poblanita they will give you your antojito on a plate and along with everyone else you should stand and eat your food. This is very normal in Mexico. Even if there are no chairs, people will stand by the vendor and eat their food. There is often a little sideboard to place your dish on as you can see in the picture below. At night if you are driving around you will see people standing outside vendors eating, just like I have described.

Mexico is probably the best place in the world to eat after a night out or if you are craving a midnight snack.

  • Now if you want to be really Mexican here’s the way to do it: when you get your food or if there are people around you eating, you always say ” ¡Provecho! (short for buen provecho), and when you leave , if people are still eating then you also say ¡Provecho!

I have met a lot of foreigners in Puebla who are a bit wary of eating street food. Don’t be. It’s one of the things that makes Mexico so great.

¡Provecho!

Un Molote de Quesillo con Salsa Verde y Crema

PICA PICADITAS

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This is Picadita

A picadita is an antojito (see this previous post on antojitos/street food for all the information you need on them). They are made using a circle ofmasa which is then pinched all around its circumference, fried and topped with salsa (red or green as always, remember to ask which is spicier), and a variety of toppings such as cheese, chorizo/longaniza, chicharron, and papas if you so desire. More often served in the morning, picaditas are very tasty, and easily made at home. They can be bought before they are cooked (pinched and made into the correct shape) just the same way you can buy tortillas and memelas. Usually these are sold by indigenous women on streets, but can also be found in local tiendas (shops). In some neighbourhoods (colonias) they come selling door to door, so don’t pass up on this opportunity to try them!

Cost: approximately 6 pesos each for cooked ones, 2 pesos each for “raw” ones.

¡Provecho!

Dos picaditas por favor, una verde y una roja

Memela Compro, Memela Como

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This is Memela

A memela is an antojito (street food) from Oaxaca (pronounced Wahaca, which also happens to be the name of an excellent mexican restaurant chain in London). It is made, like many antojitos, from masa. Frijoles (refried beans) are added to the masa before it is flattened with a tortilla press and then cooked on a hot grill. Once the base, which is touching the grill, is cooked and charred, salsa (red or green is your choice) is smothered across it, to which usually crumbly cheese (I recommend to ask for quesillo which is oaxacan stringy cheese similar to mozzarella) is added. Additional toppings can also include avocado, papas fritas (fries), nopales (cactus) and/or chicharron. You can always order a dish however you want in Mexico, so if you want everything on your memela, or a different topping, don’t hesitate to ask for it (as long as they have the ingredients). The easiest way to eat it is by folding it in half and using your hands. As usual, it is best served with an ice cold glass bottled coca-cola. Like picaditas (see post here) they can also be bought ‘raw’ as discussed.

Cost: between 9-15 pesos.

¡Provecho!

Una memela roja por favor con puro quesillo, aguacate y papas fritas

 

Taquitos de la Juarez

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This is Tacos de Asada

Best Tacos in Puebla?! Well I couldn’t possibly say that, as I haven’t tried all the tacos in Puebla. However these are UP THERE!  And no Mexican is going to disagree with that statement. Students of UPAEP, the University which it boarders, are probably its best customers and its biggest fans.

Taquitos de La Juarez, is an example of a Puesto. It is found, only in the evenings, right next to the very popular football pitch. If you go during the day, there is no sign of it whatsoever, but at night it appears from nowhere. This is why I consider eating tacos as a street food, a very evening affair, because many places like this one are only open at night, and their atmosphere fit with an evening mood. This place is popular throughout the evening, and even more so with drunken diners.

Taquitos de la Juarez

Tacos come in many form in Mexico, and generally a puesto will focus on one type (more posts to follow on other types). In this case they are tacos made with Carne Asada. Carne Asada are thin strips of beef which are marinaded and then grilled. They are DELICIOUS.  As I discussed in a previous post about antojitos (see post here), tacos are only ever made and sold by men. Being a taquero (the person who makes tacos) really is a man’s job.

This taqueria sells taquitos (which means little tacos).  A bit like eating off someone else’s plate, there is something a little less naughty about eating taquitos rather than tacos, though you’ll probably end up eating more than if they were bigger (but don’t worry you won’t feel guilty, because they are just that good!). These taquitos are served with onion, cilantro/coriander, and guacamole. You will be asked which of those you want, I recommend you ask for all of them.  Then help yourself to lemon (essential to making them taste like heaven) and salsa. I like the green one, which is quite spicy, so be careful how much you add.

The Best Kind of Mexican

You have got some choices, including, if you want just carne asada, or if you want Longaniza (which is like chorizo) or combinados (a mixture of both).  I recommend the first and third choice as the carne asada is just too good to pass up on. You always can add cheese, which they melt on the tortilla before they add the meat. Also very delicious, however not ascommon with locals. This is because the tortillas are corn, not flour, and usually you have cheese with flour tortillas. Flour tortillas are available too (tortilla de harina) but beware they are much bigger in size as they use Pan Arabe (again look out for a post coming soon about Tacos Arabes). These I would definitely recommend with cheese. You can also get the same meat options in a Cemita (see previous post here) which is a type of roll ( also delicious with cheese).  There are a couple other options but the ones I have mentioned are what I think you should go for. Basically you’re choosing what combination of meat/ tortilla you want.  Best served with a nice cold BOING (a fruit flavoured drink).

Dos Taquitos con Queso : uno de asada y uno combinado

Locations:

1. On Avenida Juarez between Los Remedios and KOI (the sushi restaurant).

2. At the cross section between Avenida 13 Poniente and 25 Sur (on the corner of the football pitch).

Please note both of these are very close to each other (less than 10 minutes walk).

Cost:

10 Pesos per Taquito (2 pesos extra for cheese).

20 Pesos for a Cemita.

All other prices are in the photo of the menu below.

¡Provecho!

Menu de Taquitos de la Juarez – with cheese or without?

LA CHALUPA : ORGULLO POBLANO

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Courtesy of soypoblana.com (facebook.com/SoyPoblana)

This is Chalupas

A plate of chalupas

I haven’t said this in a while, but seriously, how amazing is Puebla! After living here for a while I think we all tend to forget what an amazing city and state this really is. My admiration really comes from the vast amount of dishes that are unique to Puebla. People think they know Mexican food, but really you don’t Mexico till you go to Puebla. Just thinking about uniquely poblana dishes, a huge list comes to mind, from Cemitas,Memelas, Mole, Chiles en Nogada, Tacos Árabes, etc. The list is endless. (More posts to follow on all of Puebla’s eclectic street food).

This post is about ‘chalupas’. It is true that a lot of Mexican dishes are very similar, many of them being variations of different tortilla combinations. But that doesn’t make any one of them any less delicious.  So what are chalupas? Well what they are not are those hard shelled things you get at Taco Bell. No, no, no.  Real chalupas are antojitos. Typically you eat them as an evening snack or as a starter, and always when celebrating Mexican Independence Day. They are lightly fried small corn tortillas (a little bit crispy but still soft), which have either red or green salsa, that are topped with onion, chicken and sometimes some cheese.

This is a dish for sharing. You don’t order one chalupa, you order a plate of chalupas. And you share them and you eat them with your hands. This is what Mexico, and Puebla is all about: food that is delicious and food that is for sharing. 

¡Provecho!

Check out Soy Poblana’s facebook page for additional posts and information about life in Puebla and Mexico!

El Flamingo – Tortas de Puebla

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This is Tortas

Okay, you got me! Tortas are not specifically from Puebla, but good ones are. Too controversial? If you disagree, then please comment below, and pictures provide good evidence. So what’s so special about Poblana tortas? Well I am just basing this on DF and Puebla tortas, but first of all they are crunchier, and most definitely a different shape. For my tasting DF’s tortas are a little too soft. Yes I am a crunchy roll kind of a gal.

A torta in my opinion should be about the size in the picture (maybe a little bigger) and either an oval or circular shape. Inside the Torta, there should be frijoles (beans), avocado, onion, tomato, rajas (if you like spicy), quesillo, and a meat of your choice, if you should desire. Also a bit of mayonnaise can make quite the difference. Personally I also like my Torta toasted.

If that sounds good to you, and you like the look of the picture, then check out ‘El Flamingo’ which is in ‘El Centro’. I recommend these tortas, as they make them just as I mentioned before, and a bonus is that the ‘Milanesa’ isn’t greasy. ‘Milanesa’ is either pork or chicken covered in bread crumbs that is fried (similar to Escalope Vienes/ Wiener Schnitzel), so sometimes if not done correctly can be a little greasy. That is certainly not the case at ‘El Flamingo’. They also serve delicious juices, licuados, and aguas. More on types of drinks to follow in another post!

¡Provecho!

El Flamingo is located on Av. 2 Poniente between 3 Sur and 5 de Mayo.

Tacos al Pastor

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This is Tacos al Pastor

Let the taco education continue. Previously I have written about tacos de asada which are one of my personal favourites, but now it is al pastor’s turn. Heavily influenced from shawarma, Tacos al Pastor are slightly different in that the meat is cooked on a standing spit (the same way in which kebab meet is cooked) however the meat is pork rather than lamb. If you are in downtown Puebla around 10am you will see the meat being prepared at every taqueria in sight. Layer by layer the meat is marinaded in spices and layered on the spit, where it then takes hours to reach the tasty meat, which is used in the tacos. Don’t be surprised to see gigantic spits of taco meat before lunch/dinner begins.

What’s that on top of the spit, in the picture below? It’s a pineapple! A crucial part of tacos al pastor is the pineapple. The pineapple, if done correctly, should stand atop of the spit, so it gains the heat, and then pieces of it are cut off and added to the already prepared meat. Being a ‘taquero’ (like the man pictured below) is a real skill, one that you can see in this video. I recommend watching right to the end where you can see how the taquero skilfully cuts the pineapple and catches it with his other hand, that has a taco in it.

Tacos al Pastor vary considerably, in how much the meat is cooked. Some taquerias cook their meat so it is crispier than other places. Now once you have your tacos, which come with cilantro, onion and pineapple, you need to add lemon and green salsa. Tacos al Pastor are always served with a unique green salsa, which takes the flavours to the next level.

Tacos al Pastor are traditionally made using corn tortillas, though you can switch it up and ask for flour tortillas and/or added cheese. ‘Gringas‘ are a flour tortilla, with melted cheese, pastor meat and closed on top with another tortilla.

Where do I go get some delicious tacos al pastor? Well they are not hard to find, especially if you are downtown, but if you are looking for a recommendation then please send me a message through our facebook page.

When should I eat tacos al pastor? Like every type of taco, these are more popular at night but also make for a delicious (all be it a bit naughty) lunch!

¡Provecho!

two tacos al pastor prepared with pineapple, cilantro, onion and salsa

Vamos a Cuetzalan, Pueblo Mágico

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This is Cuetzalan

Welcome to Cuetzalan! A hill-top town which has a reputation that proceeds itself amongst most poblanos, but for us foreigners is [most likely] completely unknown. Cuetzalan is a small town set high in the hills of the sierra norte of the state of Puebla, which makes for a great weekend trip. It is only 183 km from the capital, Puebla, but takes around 3 to 4 hours to get there, due to the mountainous roads. Cuetzalan is not just any town but a ‘magical town’ or ‘Pueblo Mágico’. ‘Pueblo Mágico’ is an initiative run by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism to promote towns that have been specifically hand picked as they offer a magical experience due to to their natural beauty, rich culture or historical importance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes Cuetzalan so magical? It is a stunning town characterised by its cobbled streets and rustic buildings. It offers a breathtaking setting amongst the hills of the Sierra Madre. Cuetzalan’s main town square (zócalo) is beautiful and offers a few market stalls most days. However the best time to visit is the weekend as Sunday offers the biggest market of the week with the local indigenous community selling all types of goods from fruit to meat to textiles. The food sold in Cuetzalan is delicious, just like in the city of Puebla, but somehow eating street food from a town makes it always that much tastier. The prices are very appealing too. For example the ‘gorditas’ pictures below would cost you approx. 2 pesos each (bargain!).

It is not only the town center that makes Cuetzalan so worth visiting, but also its surrounding area. Pretty much located amongst a jungle type environment, there are many hikes and trails which will lead you tobeautiful waterfalls like the one pictured below. I suggest you go to the tourism office, located in the zócalo, and ask for a local guide, who you can pay for the day to take you around to all the waterfalls. If it is a warm day, you can even go for a swim!

Where to stay? I stayed at a hotel called ‘Hotel La Casa de Piedra‘, which I highly recommend, it is about 2 minutes walk from the zócalo and offers a very rustic, intimate and hacienda-like setting. Prices start from approx. 800 pesos.

How do I get there? You can go from Puebla’s biggest bus station CAPU with the bus line, VIA, the trip takes 3.5 hours and costs 161 pesos. You can find the full bus schedule and costs here as well as how to get to Cuetzalan by car.

Any info missing? The town has a website which is a fantastic resource full of information about hotels, places to visit, restaurants and adventure trips. Check it out here. Be warned it is all in spanish, so if you need any help contact me here or on Soy Poblana’s facebook page.

¡Buen Viaje!