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

 

The (Poblana) Cemita

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This is La Cemita

The Cemita has a lot of sandwich respect, not only in its hometown of Puebla, but also across Mexico and the entire world. Super foodies know about cemitas; as I discovered in an article entitled ‘iconic sandwiches in the world‘. Two of Mexico’s sandwiches are listed in the 27, and deservedly so. The other sandwich is called a Torta (but I will save that for another post). How do cemitas and tortas differ? Well the real difference is the bread. A cemita, which is also the name of the roll, is a brioche type bread with sesames on it.  The filling is usually refried beans, avocado, chipotle or some chiles if you like spiciness, quesillo (Oaxaca stringy cheese) and a meat, the most popular being milanesa (which is breadcrumbed beef). Cemitas are often served toasted, as I prefer, and are really sabrosa (tasty).  You can also buy the rolls on their own in markets, if you want to make them at home. These days cemitas are easily found across the states, so don’t worry if you are not planning a mexico trip soon. Though you might have to wait a bit longer if you are from the UK or Europe.

Cost: 20-25 pesos per filled cemita. For just the roll approximately 3 pesos.

 

¡Provecho!

Cut in half toasted cemita

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Mercado 5 de Mayo / Mercado de la 18

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This is El Mercado

Welcome to one of Puebla’s markets, officially known as Mercado 5 de Mayo but most commonly known as el mercado de la 18. Both names are due, I presume, to 5 de Mayo being historically important to Puebla and its location on Avenida 18 Poniente.

The market, which is located near el centro historico is vast inside, and also has numerous stores, fishmongers and butchers surrounding its perimeter. You know you are nearly there as you begin to smell fish as you approach the area.

Outside the market

On the outside wall of the market, it is written ‘Mercados Poblanos – Lo Mero Nuestro‘ which translated means ‘our very own’. Really the expressions means that it is a place of pride, and its what they excel at (in this case being the markets of Puebla). And from what I saw the statement can not be argued with. Inside the market, and outside it too, is filled with hundreds of stalls divided up into sections of meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, fruit, flowers and that’s not all…

It’s not completely in the mexican culture to go to a supermarket though it is more and more part of daily life because of its convenience (a bit like supermarkets in France and Belgium where people like to buy their groceries from individual shops). It’s not easy to go to a market like this one which is in the historical centre. Saying that, if a mexican is making an important meal, or has the time and the means to go to a market then they will. The produce you find in markets, like this one, is impeccable. And its not only of high quality but cheaper too. Inside you will also find a lot of puestos (stands) selling prepared food , using produce from the market. Theres a few quirky things in the market as well like alive chickens for sale and one place selling stuff which I can only describe as witchcraft products…but I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusions when you visit the place…

Pollos Hermanos

This is a mexican market, a poblano market. Don’t be fooled, if you expect to find a farmer’s market like the ones back home, that’s not what you’ll get. But what you get is something so much better; a place rich in character and personality which captivates the hustle and bustle of Mexico.

Be sure, you’ll be very hungry by the end of your visit.

¡Provecho!

frutas y frutas

Crabs and Crabs

El Mural de los Poblanos

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This is Chiles en Nogada

El Mural de los Poblanos is a high end restaurant located in the historical centre of Puebla. It serves traditional poblano dishes and prides itself on locally sourcing all ingredients. El Mural considers itself to serve the most authentic and best tasting food of Puebla. It is part of the Tesoros de Mexico, ‘a group of hotels and restaurants that have gone through a careful selection process and meet the highest quality standards’ . The restaurant is named after a mural which covers one of the walls inside, which depicts many famous poblanos (I have to admit I didn’t recognise a single one) . There is much that can be discussed regarding this restaurant, as the menu is vast and covers a huge number of dishes important to the city such as Mole and street foods such as Chalupas and Cemitas. However I prefer to look at one dish in particular, and save other dishes (at different restaurants) for other posts. For a more in depth review of the restaurant and all its dishes check out this great post by blogger Docsconz.

Inside the Restaurant

The dish is called Chiles en Nogada. If you have ever been to Puebla in the summer, you will know that around July something in the air changes. Suddenly from nowhere, posters and banners appear everywhereadvertising the dish. This is a poblano dish; authentic only to Puebla and only in season for the months of July, August and September.

So what are Chiles en Nogada? And why are they seasonal?

Chiles en Nogada are:

  • poblano chiles filled with picadillo (which are then dunked in egg batter and fried)
  • topped with a walnut based cream sauce (nogada)
  • and pomegranate seeds

Many of the ingredients of the picadillo are seasonal and unique to Puebla such as special fruits like manzana panochera and pera de leche, but in particular the nogada is seasonal and only available for these brief months. El Mural prides itself on using the correct ingredients bought only from the state of Puebla, for example they do not use regular apples which are more easily sourced and cheaper. They make sure that the Chile en Nogada is made as it should be, to the very last detail.

The three elements give the three colours of the Mexican flag: green (chile), white (nogado salsa) and red (pomegranates). This is no coincidence, as the dish is tied historically to the independence of Mexico. As it is said it was famously served to Agustín de Iturbide (a general during the mexican war of independence).

The dish is served at room temperature (usually a little bit warm on the inside) , and is very sweet due to the sauce. The centre, which is filled with picadillo, is a fruit, spice and meat mixture which contributes to the sweet taste. The inside can often be a bit spicy due to the pepper, a taste which really compliments the sweetness of the creamy sauce.

The three parts of Chiles en Nogada

he Nogada salsa being poured onto the Chile

Chile en Nogada

Chiles en Nogada are best served with a white wine or a sparkling white wine. Accompanied with the dish is always bread, which is very important because you use it to mop up the delicious sauce. The bread can be a bit of a deal breaker, if the bread is not up to scratch, then it can really let the dish down. You want to have a nice crispy bread like photographed below.

the ever important pan

So what makes El Mural de los Poblanos’ Chiles en Nogado so worth the visit? Well you can’t go wrong with any dish here – as a foreigner visiting Puebla, if you have a decent amount of money to spare, then this is the place to go because you know you are getting high quality cuisine which is truly poblano. And if you happen to be in season try the chiles! This is the real thing with every ingredient being directly sourced from local farmers.

If you want to make them at home here is a recipe though they say there are as many recipes for Chiles en Nogada as there are families in Mexico. An even better option is the cookery classes offered by the restaurant; if you are a keen chef or foodie check out more information on classes here.

Wherever you go in Puebla, don’t pass up on this very tasty poblano dish.

I will leave you with wise words, ‘Puebla is Mexico’s best kept secret’. No doubt about it; don’t pass up on visiting this magnificent city and all its delicious food.

¡Provecho!

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

Vamos a Huatulco

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This is Huatulco, Oaxaca

Soy Poblana loves Puebla, BUT Mexico is a big place full of other great places to visit too. Recently I visited Huatulco which is in the state of Oaxaca. Huatulco is a beach town consisting of nine beautiful bays, located on the pacific coast. It is also home to a vibrant town centre that has many bars, restaurants and shops. Huatulco is a welcome change to the obvious choice of Cancún, and a much cheaper one too. Though Cancún has much to offer and is worth the visit, Huatulco is far moremexican, more authentic and offers a beach resort which has not been americanised. And of course it is in the great state of Oaxaca, which has so much character and charm. Huatulco remains a well kept secretly internationally with only 20% of its tourism coming from oversees. Its high seasons are in the months of June/ July and over the Christmas/ New Year period.

All roads leading to Huatulco

There is lots to do in Huatulco, the most popular being visiting the bays.  There are daily boat trips offered my numerous companies that take you around all the bays leaving from Bahía de Santa Cruz. One of these bays is Bahía Cacaluta (protected by the national park in which it is located) which is only accessible by boat and was the filming location of the beach in ‘Y tu mamá también‘. The bay is about 1 km long and has been untouched by tourism.  These boat trips allow you to get off and swim in a couple of the bays, and also grab lunch.  Alternatively (or additionally) you can access the bays by foot or taxi if you want to spend longer at individual ones. Bahía Chahué is the most easily accessible beach and in walking distance from many of the hotels. It is home to a couple of beach clubs, and a bar/restaurant which has two swimming pools available to the public.

Playa Entrega

Bahía Chahué

Aside from the magnificent bays, which offer great snorkelling opportunities (I recommend La playa Entrega which is accesible by Taxi), boat trips, speed boats and banana boats, there are also other activities available such as white water rafting, horseback riding, or relaxing at a local spa. This is a lively town by night, with the town centre (La Crucecita) located away from the beaches, offering its own unique atmosphere and a great night out. There are also night clubs and bars by the beaches such as La Papaya.

White Water Rafting at a nearby river in Huatulco

The prices in Huatulco are very reasonable for a beach resort, you should except to be paying around 20/25 pesos for a beer (the cost of a beer is always my measure of whether I am getting ripped off or not). However if you want to drink/eat right on the beach, the prices increase dramatically. For this reason I recommend eating out in La Crucecita, and if you want to drink on the beach (who doesn’t?) then bring a cooler full to the brim with ice cold cervezas.  One beach-side restaurant which offers good prices is ‘Ve el Mar‘ located in the bay of Santa Cruz. Like many restaurants in Huatulco they offer excellent fish and seafood dishes.  Within La Crucecita, along with restaurants and bars, there is also a market called ‘El Mercado 3 Mayo’ which is a great place to grab breakfast or lunch for great prices.

Sunshine is expected for about 330 days of the year in Huatulco with an average temperature of  28°C.

Temazcal Spa

Where to stay in Huatulco? It really depends on your budget, keeping in mind that you can get a lot more from your money if you are coming from abroad, you can get high standard hotels for cheaper than you would expect.  Also there are cheaper options too. I recommend usinghotel/travel websites using the budget you have, keeping in mind whether a swimming pool is important to your trip as not all hotels offer them. Many hotels also offer beach clubs (if they are not located on a beach) which often also have a swimming pool.

How to get to Huatulco?  Huatulco has an international airport which receives flights from the USA and also Mexico City (2 hour flight) and Oaxaca (the state capital).  You can get there by car which takes about 8.5 hours (from Puebla) or by bus which takes about 12 hours (from Puebla). The bus is a very good option if you don’t have a car, with the cheapest return fair costing only 1000 pesos. The bus leaves (from CAPU) in the evening so you arrive in the morning in Huatulco. Mexico offers different levels of buses, with added things included for the more you pay (for example movies / larger seats / wifi). Though the basic buses are very comfortable and an inexpensive way to get around Mexico.  ADO is the bus line which goes to Oaxaca and Huatulco.

Anything else?  Puerto Escondido, only an hour or two away from Huatulco, is a bohemian beach town which is also worth the visit and worth tagging on to your trip if you can.

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

Chila Chilaquiles

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This is Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles are one of the dishes that come to mind when I think of real authentic Mexican food.  If you are not in Mexico and you find a Mexican restaurant selling this dish, then you know it’s the real deal (not the type of place that sells HARD shelled tacos-what is that all about?!).  Chilaquiles are lightly fried strips of tortilla which have a red or green salsa poured on them. The dish is then topped with avocado, sliced onion, sour cream and cheese. It is most commonly also served with fried eggs or chicken, though a variety of toppings are often available (see picture above). The spiciness of the salsa depends place to place so always ask before whether the red or green is spicier. This is generally a breakfast dish, though delicious at any time of day and an excellent hangover cure!

Chilaquiles rojos con dos huevos estrellados

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LA CHALUPA : ORGULLO POBLANO

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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