When visiting Oaxaca, every meal is a chance to explore the area’s history and culture. To take advantage of it, you’ll have to visit a traditional restaurantone which may not feature the brightest dcor, but will satisfy when it comes to authenticity. At such a restaurant, meals go in steps, beginning with cocktails, appetizers, and then the soup.Be careful not to rush through this delicious course. There’s an Oaxacan soup for every palate, whether you like hot and spicy or cool and subdued. Some traditional recipes include sopa Azteca and pozole. Sopa azteca made headlines earlier this year, as it’s supposedly President Obama’s favorite Mexican starting dish. The prime ingredients are tomatoes, shredded chicken, pasilla chiles, tortillas, and queso fresco. Avocados, onions, garlic and other seasonings are added to give the soup depth and flavor.Pozole (Nahautl for “foamy”) is a ritual stew which dates back to the time of human sacrifice. Today, it’s made from dried maize and any type of meat, whether pork, fowl, or seafood. However, vegetarians and vegans have developed their own versions of the soup.If you’re dining in Oaxaca, there are several restaurants renowned for their soups. For example, at the La Olla Restaurante y Galeria you can sample a Xochitl broth similar to sopa azteca, a cream of squash blossom soup, or a refreshing bean or tortilla soups. Run by Chef Pilar Cabrera, the long-running restaurant has been satisfying locals and tourists since 1994. Cabrera opened a cooking school in 1998 to further explore the realms of flavor available in Oaxacan cuisine.El Biche Pobre has been around even longer, opening in 1973. There are now two locations in Oaxaca. Sample one of their amazing soups, but be sure to leave room for one of their outstanding tlayuda or mole dishes when you’re done.

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