27 May Best Eats of Puebla
At the mention of Puebla, people begin salivating. I’ve never seen a city so consistently remind people of food. But many Mexican folk are quick to say that Puebla has the best food in the entire country, which (might I add) is a lot of competition. I left San Miguel with a list of about 15 things to try, ready to ascertain the best eats of Puebla.
Mole Poblano is probably the most commonly associated dish with the city of Puebla. It may be eaten in a variety of forms: enchiladas, chalupas, cemitas, or over rice, usually with chicken, though turkey is more common for events like weddings and baptisms. This dish consists of as many as 20 ingredients, including chocolate, as well as several different types of nuts, seeds and chilies.
Interestingly, there are 3 states of Mexico who claim Mole and no one is truly sure of its origin. Whether it comes from Puebla, Oaxaca or Tlaxcala, we’re just thankful it exists. No need to fight about it. The story goes that some nuns were pushed to pull together a dish to feed a surprise guest from the clergy. They had little, but scraped together the hodgepodge of items that make this dish famous. While in Puebla, I had Mole twice – once in enchiladas with Mexican rice, and then over a chicken thigh with rice. Amazing. However, I still have to say that my favorite way to eat it is on a Tlayuda – served frequently in Oaxaca, it’s like a giant quesadilla smothered in mole and salty Oaxacan cheese.
CHILES EN NOGADA
This is officially my favorite Mexican dish, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, that’s saying a lot. A Poblano chile stuffed with ground beef, dried fruits and nuts, drizzled in an almond sauce with pomegranate seeds; it’s one of the best eats in Puebla. It’s important to note that this dish is seasonal and if ordered out of season it’s both more expensive and frozen. Fall is the season for Chiles en Nogada.
It’s almost always an expensive dish (ranging from 120-300 mxn) due to the amount of hours that go into making the dish. A couple of years ago, a Mexican couple offered to teach me how to prepare Chiles en Nogada. Being such a beloved dish to me, I was thrilled. All told it took us nearly 6 hours to prepare them and wow, it was worth it.
Commonly a breakfast dish (and a very yummy one), the small corn discs are thick enough to stuff with refried beans and top with a simple mixture of salsa, onions, aged cheese and cream, or a more flavorful guisado (stew), each about the size of your palm.
I hadn’t heard much about these tasty treats, until some friends in Puebla began talking about them. What are these delicious things you speak of? They took us to their favorite hole in the wall to find out. Our buddy Freddy has been eating there for 10 years and we quickly learned why. Yum. Inexpensive, filling and unique to Puebla.
Tasty corn tortillas topped with red or green sauce and chicken or cheese. They’re not very filling, as in, I could easily eat six, and how good they are really depends on the salsa. A well-made salsa makes this a spicy, filling snack, while a sub-par salsa makes them …well …not worthy of writing about.
It’s interesting to note that green salsa is often spicier than red salsa and is often the preferred sauce of the locals. I’m not sure how universal that is, but it certainly rings true regionally. I can enjoy a good tomatillo-based green sauce, but unless its paired with seafood, will always choose red. However, I ate both delicious red and green chalupas in Puebla.
Chalupas are a cheap, yummy option – at about 40 mxn for a plate of 6, and even more so if eaten outside of touristy areas. They are also served with Mole, but i didn’t get to try them.
This middle-eastern themed taco has a pita-like bread component and is filled with a shwarma style sliced meat that’s also used for traditional tacos. While this dish has major potential, the lack of a tzatiki-like cream sauce killed it for me. In it’s basic form it’s pretty bland and with traditional salsa it either gets soggy and extremely spicy or seems dry. It costs about 30mxn depending on the location.
Cemitas are large sandwiches made on fluffy bread with versions from milanesa de pollo (chicken fried chicken) to Mole Poblano. The bread is a round, sesame covered, egg-based roll. The sandwiches (and bread by itself) are both filling and quite inexpensive at around 50 mxn a meal, making cemitas a great budget option. There is also a great variety of fillings so as not to get burned out on them.