If you think American baristas can be strict, wait until you see the tejateras of Oaxaca. These makers of Oaxaca’s signature drink spend hours cleaning the mamey seeds which provide the foundation, just to get the drink to be the right color.Tejate is a cold drink which dates back to before Hispanic culture. The mamey fruit seeds and flowers are an important part of the recipe, along with maize and cinnamon, but these are not the most important. That honor goes to rosita de cacao, a cacao tree native to San Andres Huayapam renowned for its medicinal properties. The flavor of tejate is hard to describe, but it is sweeter now that it is no longer made with the traditional chiles.Oaxaca also prepares two other traditional cold drinks. Especially good during the hotter months, aguas frescas and tuna are still popular any time of the year. Aguas frescas come in a variety of flavors, but are all made of sugar and water blended with a fruit, cereal, or seed. Tuna is a type of aguas frescas made from the prickly pear cactus fruit. Read the rest of this entry »

Given its reputation as a culinary hotspot, it’s not surprising to find Oaxaca at the center of a forgotten food revival. However, just which snack is coming back in vogue may surprise you. They’re called chapulinestoasted grasshoppers.In Oaxaca, they serve a role filled by nachos or peanuts in America: as cheap snack food served at sporting events, which is currently gaining popularity. The earliest reference to the food, however, appears in Fray Bernardino’s 16th century work, General History of the Things of New Spain. Chapulines are also used as the filling for a variety of foods, such as stuffed tlayuda.The majority of chapulines are harvested from the milpa fields where they live. The catch is cleaned thoroughly and stored for two to three days before being boiled with garlic and herbs and then toasted in a comal. Lemon juice and worm salt are traditionally added during the toasting process as well. If you’re interested in trying chapulines for yourself, make sure you get them from a reputable source, as uncleaned catches can carry parasites or chemicals which can affect humans.