In honour of Cinco de Mayo, we have asked Flight Centre to tell us the must-eat foods and must-visit markets in Mexico! Can’t make it to Mexico? Join us to celebrate in style on 5 May with $20 margaritas and $10 tacos all night long at Caliente!
Mexican food is synonymous to a carb-rich glorious mess of burritos and tacos. But that’s not how it is – at least not in Oaxaca. The most captivating state of Mexico, Oaxaca excites guests through spellbinding flavours. The state’s recipes are infused with history, revealing its colonial past. You can dine in Casa Oaxaca, one of the two Oaxacan restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, enjoy a tequila shot or two in the state’s laidback bars, and don’t forget to add a sweet finish to the spice by sampling Oaxaca’s chocolate.
However, for a genuine taste of Mexican cuisine, you need to delve into the state’s many mercados (markets) and sample the country’s national dish, mole. With numerous food markets selling mounds of mole sauce, fresh vegetables and authentic mole dishes, Oaxaca offers the most distinctive flavours. Whilst meandering through the mercados itself is a venture of colours, textures and scents.
Sánchez Pascuas Market
The indoor food market is packed with family-run food stalls. Sample some of the seven varieties of moles on offer: memelas – tortillas topped with lard, cheese and salsa verde; and grilled empanadas – pastry filled with fiery chicken and yellow mole sauce.
20 de Noviembre Market
The 20 de Noviembre market hides within a large, square building. But once inside it is a very different world. Imagine curling smoke rising from the grills, vendors waving menus at their eateries. You can of course try tacos here, but what I recommend is Oaxaca’s signature tlayudas – baked corn tortillas topped with everything from lard, mozzarella-like cheese, quesillo, to avocado and tomatoes.
Benito Juárez Market
Just a few steps away from 20 de Noviembre market, the Benito Juárez market is Oaxaca’s oldest. Other than typical food like sweets, pastries and tlayudas, the Juárez market also offers quirky and exotic food like chapulines – crispy grasshoppers toasted with garlic, lime juice and salt; and escamoles – edible ant larvae cooked in butter.
At the shops along downtown’s Mina Street, masked men toil over cocoa mills to grind cocoa beans into chocolate and moles. Also known as Chocolate Street, Mina Street is home to the country’s many big names in chocolate including Mayordomo and La Soledad, as well as family-owned shops – Mina Street is the place for chocolate lovers!
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Caliente is inspired by the vivacious, colourful taste of South America, serving up a fiery array of Tex-Mex dishes and drinks. Chomp down on some gooey quesadilla or bite into a crispy taco and then wash it all away with a great big icy glass of margarita. Also on offer here are a variety of Mexican specialty dishes that are hard to find elsewhere in Hong Kong. Chicken Flautas, Fajitas, and Mexican Fried Ice Cream are just a few dishes you’ll fall in love with.