Vamos a AFRICAM

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

This is Africam Safari

Africam Safari is a drive-thru zoological park about 30 minutes outside of the city of Puebla in the municipality of Tecali de Herrera. Africam is a fantastic zoo, and in fact the first to be accredited in Latin America by theAssociation of Zoos and Aquariums. It has very high standards of animal care, and protects numerous endangered species. Recently the park has welcomed 9 new elephants, which were rescued from Africa. Thousands of animals are able to roam freely without being confined to cages. The drive-thru enables you to get really close to the animals (with windows down depending on the area). If you don’t have a car, the park offers a guided bus tour around the park which leaves every 15 minutes or so. The bus company Estrella Roja, offers an all inclusive deal which includes bus tickets there and back and the entrance fee to the park (this only costs about 30 pesos more than the entrance ticket so is a very good deal). Check out costs at the bottom of the post!

Mr Camel

As you drive through the park, you enter different sections according to the animals and the danger they pose. There is only one section where you have to wait to be let in, which is for the white tigers that are absolutely stunning, if you are lucky you will get to see them moving around, but often they are snoozing (though still incredible to look at!).

About half way through, there is a rest area, where there is a souvenir store, and also places to buy refreshments (including beer) and snacks/fast food. This area also offers restrooms/toilets. In addition there are also boat tours available on the nearby lake. Once you continue on the safari, there are two subsequent walking areas, where you can park your car and walk around. The first is where the lions, monkeys, hyenas, turtles and hippos live, and the second is the ‘adventure zone’, which is more like a traditional zoo where you can get close to animals in more confined areas, these include reptiles like crocodiles and snakes, kangaroos and many more. This zone is also where you can pay for additional activities such as a zip-line, and also where they offer an animal show. The shows are free and start at 2.00pm and 4.00pm. This is the last stop before you leave the park, so if you want to buy any gifts or souvenirs this is the place to do it.

baby elephant

I suggest getting to the park nice and early when the park opens at 10 am, which gives you loads of time to really enjoy the whole place. The park stops entrances at 5pm, and closes completely at 6pm, so don’t leave it too late in the day to get there.

The list of animals in Africam Safari is very long, so don’t worry, all the ones you will be hoping to see will be there. Personally, this is the best safari/zoo I have ever been to, and exceeded my expectations completely (and they were pretty high given all the great stuff I had heard about it). Even if you aren’t a huge animal lover, you will still have a really fantastic day out, and its a great one for families and children.

Don’t miss out on visiting this fantastic place, and if you needed another reason to go to Puebla, this is most definitely it!

Hey Zebra!

Cost (all prices are in Mexican Pesos):

Entrance to the Park : Adults- $232 ; Children $225

Estrella Roja Bus Deal [to and from the park from CAPU (11.00am) or el Zocalo (11.30am)] with entrance included:

Adults- $290 ; Children-$260

Giraffes

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

 

Mexican Eggnog

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

This is Rompope

Rompope is an alcoholic beverage which was created in Puebla at the Convento de Santa Clara. It is an eggnog-like drink made from, not surprisingly, eggs, milk, vanilla flavouring and aguardiente. Additional ingredients can be added to create different flavours such as strawberry, cinnamon or coffee. Weirdly, no matter what flavour it is, the colour always ends up fluorescent (as seen in the picture below). Like the subjects of many of my previous posts, Rompope is very poblano, and is sold across the city and state. You can buy it easily wherever you go; for example in Cholula (see post here) and cantinas like La Pasita (see post here).

¡Salud!

Rompope Stall in Cholula

Best Rompope in the world’ available at La Pasita

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

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

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

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!

 

Los Rudos Siempre Pierden

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

Recently I wrote about the Luchas and then happened to come across these photos (thank you Universe!), which perfectly capture the atmosphere of the luchas arena. The featured photographer is Iraís Fernández, a very talented local documentary specialist. One of our aims at Soy Poblana is to support local artists and businesses, by writing about them or publishing their work. Please check out Iraís’ facebook page andflickr!

La Pasita

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

La Pasita

This is Licor

La Pasita is most definitely part of Poblano culture and history. The oldest cantina in Puebla, La Pasita has been open since 1916 and sells shots and bottles of hand crafted liquor. The most famous of these, is the so-called ‘pasita’ which is pictured below. It has an unusual taste so I won’t even try to describe it, but it’s worth the try. It is served with a piece of cheese and a grape (or raisin?) which you are supposed to eat before you take the shot. Usually people enjoy the shot sip by sip, but each to their own. Each shot goes for 25 pesos with other crafted liquors available such as Rompope (look out for a post on this) and other flavours such as lemon, coconut and pineapple.

The address is Av 5 Oriente 602, Puebla Centro, 72000 Puebla, Mexico, and is located in the historical centre. It is open till 5.30pm.

¡Salud!

Rompope and Pasita Bottles

Three shots of Pasita Por Favor