A Diverse Collection of Oaxacan Food
Oaxaca is Mexico’s undisputed culinary capital, and the birthplace of some of the richest traditions on the planet. Every Sunday the communities of the central Oaxacan valley converge on the Tlacolula market to buy and sell one-of-a-kind Oaxacan staples. This is one of the oldest markets in North America, and a direct reflection of the region’s rich farmland and agrarian culture.
Tejate, a cold, refreshing beverage of cocoa and corn, is still made the ancient way. And with a laundry list of ingredients that are toasted and ground by hand, it can take up to 8 hours to make.
Ancient traditions thrive in this market. Authentic Mesoamerican chocolate, loaded with cinnamon, is an essential ingredient in Oaxacan cooking and can be found throughout the market.
There are reminders of Oaxaca’s roots everywhere you turn, and especially evident in the primeval meat section. A style of meat preservation that’s been practiced here for centuries, beef organs are butchered and then left to dry for 48 hours in the sun. For our tacos placeros, we sprung for the 3 day dried beef heart and aged intestine, cooked on a communal grill and served with fresh tortillas, charred scallions and chiles.
Spit roasted chicken is marinated in butter and a Oaxacan medley of achiote, oregano and cinnamon. It’s served in halves or quarters with rice, tortillas and ash black beans.
Photographs courtesy of Travel Channel.