The cuisine of Oaxaca is one the richest and most varied in all of Mexico. The region’s food is heavily influenced by the indigenous Zapotec people that have lived in the area for around 3,000 years. Since most food consumed in Oaxaca is fresh and locally grown, the food is of exceptional quality.

One of the main traditional Zapotec dishes is sopa de calabaza which is a soup that uses the abundant crop of squashes grown on Oaxacan mountainsides. Chocolate is also a typical Oaxacan drink. It is integrally tied into local life as it is served at many important functions like funerals and christenings. Typically, the chocolate is mixed with water and cinnamon.

Another popular ingredient is watercress, which is grown in village streams all around Oaxaca. The ensalada Oaxaquena is a salad made from radishes and watercress. Watercress is also used in the torta de berros, a type of flatbread made from watercress that is eaten for breakfast. Like many local breads, the torta is topped with chile sauce and some Oaxacans still prepare it on a traditional metate. Chile sauces in Oaxaca are made from a variety of chiles, including tiny chiles called chiles paraditos.

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