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Jul 29

Eat Rio Eats Mexico

Even though I’ve been running my own culinary tours in Rio for almost a year, I had never been on a food tour as a guest until just a few days ago. Mrs Eat Rio and I put ourselves in the hands of the good people at Eat Mexico Culinary Tours and we did not regret it!

Here are a few of the highlights:

anais-eat-mexico

This was our guide, Anais. First stop: a street stall for seafood tostadas.

 

seafood-broth

These little cups of seafood broth were complimentary and a great start to the day.

 

seafood-tostadas

Seafood tostadas: Crunchy tacos topped with octopus, crab, shrimp and other good things like avocado, onion, coriander (cilantro) and a generous smattering of hot sauce. These are typical of everything I love about Mexican food: fresh, zingy and delicious.

 

Mexico-Market

Next stop was Mercado San Juan to taste loads of interesting fruits, jellies, salts (to accompany Mezcal), grasshoppers and plenty more besides.

 

pitaya-dragonfruit

Pitaya (AKA dragonfruit) – looks better than it tastes, but still pretty nice.

 

tuna-prickly-pear

This is a red prickly pear fruit, known in Mexico as tuna (I must find out what alternative name they use for the fish).

 

grasshoppers

There are loads of stalls selling insects in Mexico (especially down here in Oaxaca). These grasshoppers were crunchy, salty and a little bit spicy.

 

mamey

This is Mamey. Tastes like a bit like avocado.

 

chilli-peppers

Chillis! I had to be dragged away from this stall…

 

Marañao

Couldn’t resist showing you this – cashew nut butter all the way from Northeast Brazil (Maranhão)!

 

mexican-streetfood

After we left the market, we found this nice lady making various forms of tortilla. These ones are called Tlacoyos.

 

Mole

Finally I got to taste Mole, a seriously complicated sauce that takes ages to make and includes about 30 different ingredients. This was was slightly sweet and chocolatey.

 

pulqueria

We finished up in a pulqueria, a bar specialising in Pulque, the fermented juice of the Maguey cactus.

 

pulque-selection

Most of the kids in this bar were drinking their pulque out of huge glasses that they refilled from buckets! We enjoyed this more refined selection. The white one at the back is pure pulque and had a very odd, yeasty flavour. The others were flavoured with mango, guava and cinnamon. They all have a slightly strange viscose texture which takes a bit of getting used to.

 

All in all it was a great day out and we learnt a lot from the lovely Anais – as well as as the delicious food, she also gave us some great recommendations for places to go out drinking, so I guess she is partially responsible for the hangover I endured the next day.

I’ll leave you with some footage of an amazing tortilla making machine that we saw on the tour. This thing churns out hundreds of tortillas every hour and although it wasn’t running when we dropped in, they were nice enough to get it going so we could see the magic happen.

 

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8 comments

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  1. Mau

    Tuna (the fish) is called atún in Mexico.
    We also have green tunas (the fruit), they’re both yummy.
    Be sure to try tacos al pastor and pozole.

    1. tomlemes

      Hi Mau! We tried the green tuna too – very nice! We also found Tacos al pastor on our first night in Mexico – utterly delicious! :)

  2. The Gritty Poet

    “The white one at the back is pure pulque and had a very odd, yeasty flavour. The others were flavoured with mango, guava and cinnamon. They all have a slightly strange viscose texture which takes a bit of getting used to.”
    This from a man that champions marmite :-)

    1. tomlemes

      Heh heh, fair point – Marmite takes a bit of getting used to too (for some people it takes a lifetime).

  3. Ana Quiñónez

    This was a FANTASTIC article! The pictures are beautiful. Beleza, I mean belleza (in Spanish). :D
    I absolutely love mole and tunas. Tlacoyos are a new scrumptious snack that I barely tried this year. I’m glad you and Mrs Eat Rio like them too. I also like that you appreciate avocado with savory foods unlike all of the Brazilians that I met while in Minas. I also like the little cups of broth, consomé, that work as an appetizer while you wait for your food to be prepared. I had to google this, but it looks like that word is used in several languages including Portuguese.

    I’ve been trying to follow your Mexican adventure, but I’m a little confused as to where you are. Are you traveling all over the country or Mex City and Oaxaca?

    I was a little jealous of your tortillería video. I have that written on a “To Do” list. I had mentioned that I wanted to blog about Mexico. I wanted to do a little write-up and interview about tortillerías. They are everywhere, on every block, in every neighborhood. In the U.S. I can find a tortillería at specific markets, but they aren’t common. I usually just buy pre-packaged tortillas that are good, but they just don’t compare with the yumminess of a fresh, warm tortilla. I have a friend that says, “La vida sin tortilla, no es vida.” And I agree. While in Brazil, I definitely missed tortillas.

    When I went to Mexico City for the 1st time last year, I was on a food mission. I wanted to eat a torta de tamal (tamal sandwich unique to Mexico City) and quesadillas de huitlacoche (quesadilla with corn fungus- a delicacy from the Aztecs!). Sadly I wasn’t able to find the 2nd. If you have a chance, I hope you give it a try!

    Oh, and I’ve never tried pulque (but I should, especially now since you’ve posted about it) but I wanted to recommend my favorite Mexican drink (aside from the aguas frescas). It’s a “paloma”: tequila with grapefruit soda, lime, salt, and ice. It’s refreshing and tasty. Did you get a chance to try it yet?

    Post more México por favor! Keep having lots of fun. Try to stay kinda sober so you can stuff your face with more food! ;)

    1. tomlemes

      Hi Ana! Ha ha, sorry for the confusion – I’m only just catching up on our time in Mexico City, but we’ve been down in Oaxaca now for the last 3 days. This morning we’re finally heading down to the coast (Zipolite) for some beach relaxation. I have to be quick because our bus leaves soon, but I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and there is definitely a LOT more to come :) I just have to find the time in between all the eating, drinking and sight-seeing we’ve been doing. We haven’t tried a Paloma (yet!), but have been enjoying lots of mezcals and micheladas.

      We did try the huitlacoche corn fungus stuff. It was pretty interesting – nice and mushroomy! OK, I still have to pack my bag (which is getting bigger by the day with all the cool stuff we’ve been buying!). Catch up soon,

      Tom

  4. Angela

    When you get a chance, please tell me what the dragonfruit tastes like. I see it here in the Washington, DC area. Is it sweet, tangy, like citrus, banana, berry?

    Have fun at the beach! (Look who I’m talking to. Of course, you’ll have fun at the beach.)

    1. tomlemes

      Hi Angela – I think this was the 3rd or 4th time I’ve tasted dragonfruit and every time it’s been very disappointing. I found it sweet but completely lacking in the zingy acid you get in citrus, passion fruit or even apples. It also didn’t have the nice fragrance of a banana or a strawberry. Basically it is just mildly sweet, soft fruit which looks very cool ;)

      We had a very hot, cramped 6 hour bus ride to get to the beach, but finally arrived this afternoon and it is amazing! I haven’t organised my photos properly yet, but here’s a sneak peak (we’re staying in that cabin on the right)

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