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:
This was our guide, Anais. First stop: a street stall for seafood tostadas.
These little cups of seafood broth were complimentary and a great start to the day.
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.
Next stop was Mercado San Juan to taste loads of interesting fruits, jellies, salts (to accompany Mezcal), grasshoppers and plenty more besides.
Pitaya (AKA dragonfruit) – looks better than it tastes, but still pretty nice.
This is a red prickly pear fruit, known in Mexico as tuna (I must find out what alternative name they use for the fish).
There are loads of stalls selling insects in Mexico (especially down here in Oaxaca). These grasshoppers were crunchy, salty and a little bit spicy.
This is Mamey. Tastes like a bit like avocado.
Chillis! I had to be dragged away from this stall…
Couldn’t resist showing you this – cashew nut butter all the way from Northeast Brazil (Maranhão)!
After we left the market, we found this nice lady making various forms of tortilla. These ones are called Tlacoyos.
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.
We finished up in a pulqueria, a bar specialising in Pulque, the fermented juice of the Maguey cactus.
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.