Saturday, August 13, 2011


Last weekend I ventured to the historic city of Puebla with my friends Stephanie and Alina. Puebla is the fourth largest city in Mexico, just about 80 miles from Mexico City. It is known for the Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo (1862), its beautiful churches, its talvera pottery, and its food! We stayed with a French couchsurfing friend Benjamin who has an internship in Puebla and an apartment in the city center- near all the best museums, churches, and restaurants. Our brief tour of the city- about a day and a half- revolved around food (no problem with that!)- and the highlights are below.

Chile En Nogada- this famous dish originated in Puebla- supposedly created by some Spanish nuns for the visit of an emporer of Mexico in the early 1800s. It looks very patriotic with white sauce specked by red pomegranates and green flecks of cilantro. The taste is like nothing I’ve ever tasted- a stuffed chile with peaches, apples and some kind of meat, smothered in a creamy nut sauce. I thought it was too sweet and rich to be a main dish- I couldn’t finish it!

Pipían Verde- This dish revolves around this amazing sauce called “mole” (rhymes with “Óle!”) Mole is said to be Mexico’s national dish. There are tons of versions of it from all around México- but the first is also said to have come from a convent in Puebla- this time in the late 1600s. The Poblano version is called Pipían, it is green, and it has a strong pumpkin seed base. Here you see my friend Steph finishing her chicken leg with remnants of the green poblano mole.

Tacos Arabes- In terms of history, this is one of the more recent dishes that has become popular in Puebla. The most important part of this dish is the meat- which is pork cooked on a coal-fueled vertical spit. We ordered our meat by the kilo and then made our own tacos with either corn tortillas or “pan arabe” which is pita bread. Condiments included sour cream, onions, and chiles.

La Pasita- La Pasita is a term of endearment for pasa or raisin. It is also the name of a famous Poblano bar that serves a creamyraisin liquor of various varieties- it is all very well described at the link above. I took all the same pictures that are included on the site and here I include one more of a very interesting sign which translates as: "So that you don't contract AIDS, drink pasita as soon as you can." As much as we tried, we just couldn't quite figure out the reasoning on that one.

Cemitas- This is the poblano version of a Torta (and a torta is the Mexican version of a sandwhich). Cemitas are distinct from other tortas due to its bread which has sesame seeds. We had asked some locals where to buy the best cemita bread late on a Sunday afternoon and we were directed to a market that wasn’t too far from the city center, but far enough that you could tell it was definitely a market for the locals. In the picture to the left, Alina has found the corner of the market with the cemita bread. Later, we found a little stand to buy our cemita sandwiches and watched a little assembly line put it all together: milanesa (breaded beef), yummy Oaxacan shredded cheese, chipotle sauce, very thin slices of avocado, and an amazing green leafy herb called pápalo .

As we were leaving Puebla, we decided we must return soon- there was just too much more to expereince- talvera pottery factory, great pyramid of nearby Cholula, Container City, more food, etc! As I write about all this yummy food- I can't help but noticing a lot of it was created by Spanish nuns or other immigrants to the area. It makes me wonder what parts, if any, of the modern day quintessential poblano cuisine were influenced by the indigenous cuisines and is there anything that has remained fairly unchanged since pre-hispanic times? My next trip to Puebla will certainly seek answer to this question. Hasta Luego Puebla!- until next time!


  1. Sign me up for some of that chile en nogada; sounds yummy. Have you developed your own favorite recipe for mole yet? I heard it has like 28 ingredients, including chocolate.
    BTW, your blog post could be called "Taco Bell, Eat Your Heart Out." Glad you're enjoying REAL Mexican fare so much.

  2. Yum! Sounds like you had a great time in Puebla. Thanks for linking to my website (