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10 Foods You Must Eat in Oaxaca

Home > Oaxaca City > Bakeries | Food and Wine
by The wanderer (subscribe)
Outdoor,photography,coffee, nature, food and culture lover; seeker of life's simple pleasures.
Published May 3rd 2015
Make your taste buds happy and your heart warm
Within Mexico; Oaxaca is one of the biggest culinary gems this country hosts, by eating these dishes you will understand why Oaxaquenos always have that kind warm smile and pleasant nature.

So if you are in a traditional "Mercado" or a fine dinning restaurant, these traditional dishes are not to miss.

mexican food oaxaca food
Mexican food mural on tiles.

oaxaca food mexican food
Rick sauce over juicy chicken
1. Mole oaxaqueno

With over 20 ingredients such as: chocolate, chillies, peanuts, banana, breadcrumbs and garlic, this glossy earthy sauce usually poured over chicken or enchiladas is a great body and heart warmer.

Must try: Mole oaxaqueno served with Mexican rice and refried beans.
tamales mexican food oaxaca
Moist dense, flavour rich tamales

2. Tamales oaxaquenos

Waking up to someone yelling "Tamaleeeeees" through the streets is the best alarm clock. Head outside and yell back or blow a big whistle to get the "tamaleros" attention.

Tamales are a combination of tortilla meal or "maseca", lard or butter, chicken, beans, cheese, raisins or pineapple which are wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed; this all makes for a dense, moist and full of flavour pattie.

If you enjoy these treats, tune your ears as most "tamaleros" ride the streets later in the evening.

Must try: Tamales de rajas con queso o de dulce (sweet).

3. Tasajo
Thin sliced beef with a smoky flavour, usually charcoaled and served with a tlayuda (giant tortilla), radishes, chiles and spring onions.

oaxaca cheese mexican food
quesillo stringy cheese

4. Quesillo

This traditional Oaxaca cheese is stringy, salty and slightly acidic. Buy a small ball in one of the "mercado" stalls. Pull out the strings and enjoy it on its own, melt in in a tlayuda and make a quesadilla, shred into in a taco de tasajo the ways to eat quesillo are as infinite as its stringy deliciousness.

chapulines mexican food oaxaca food

5 Chapulines

There's a theory out there which says our future main source of protein will be insects, if this theory is right then oaxaquenos have got it all figured out, you will find "chapulines" or crickets being sold everywhere. They are crunchy, spicy and salty, traditionally eaten as a snack out of a little plastic bag with drops of lemon. You can also sprinkle them in a taco or a quesadilla for extra crunch.

oaxaca market foods to try in oaxaca
Mercado in Oaxaca city

6 Pan de yema

Baked in traditional clay ovens, these sweet breads are crusty and glossy on the outside and airy on the inside, designed this way for you to dunk it in a cup of hot chocolate so the bread absorbs as much liquid as possible. Perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

chocolate caliente oaxaca
Molinillo traditional utensil to stir chocolate

7 Chocolate oaxaqueno
Oaxaca has the best chocolate in the Mexican Republic,no question about it, so head to one of the many chocolaterias, mercados or cafes and order a "Tradicional Chocolate caliente". This is usually unsweetened hot chocolate made with water - the way ancestors would drink it, but of course for a creamier texture you can order it with milk and add as much or as little sugar as you like.

When in Oaxaca; eat like a Oaxaqueno, buy a piece of sweet bread and dunk it in your chocolate; if you worry this might be rude simply observe the way oaxaquenos do it with such gusto and little worries!

oaxaca food tlayuda
Tlayuda with filling

8 Tlayudas
(Warning: the size of this dish is not suitable as a snack, therefor you must be hungry to ingest it).

Everyone who has ordered a tlayuda without seeing one prior wishes someone had warned them about its size.

This gigantic tortilla (sometimes bigger than 40cm in diameter) is usually filled with: beans, chicken, lettuce, cream, tasajo meat, maguey worms, quesillo, avocado, tomato and of course served with a grilled chilli on the side.

enfriijolada traditional oaxaca food mexico
Enfrijoladas for lunch

9 Enfrijoladas

Very similar to enchiladas, these tortillas are usually filled with chicken or quesillo and topped with a sauce made from beans, garlic, onions and avocado leaves.

tejate traditional oaxaca drink
Tejate drink in traditional cup

10 Tejate

This ancient prehispanic drink is very popular amongst oaxaquenos, made from a mixture of cacao, toasted corn meal paste, cold water and sugar syrup.

Although it doesn't particularly look very appetising it is a combination of interesting flavours and will give you an insight of traditional mixteco food.

Images taken from Wikipedia
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Where: Oaxaca city
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