Food Lover's Guide to Oaxaca

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Located in southern Mexico, the Oaxaca region boasts world-famous cuisine that’s based on staples such as corn, chile peppers, and chocolate. Influenced by its geography and indigenous cultures, its dishes and cooking styles offer a delicious way to learn about Mexican history and traditions. See below for some foods and experiences you’ll want to try.

Must-Try Dishes
Foodies and hungry visitors alike will appreciate the gastronomy of Oaxaca, along with its open-air markets and street food stalls. Popular local dishes include tlayudas, oversize crunchy tortillas topped with black beans, lettuce, meat (typically chicken, beef, or pork), and cheese; memelas, snack-size toasted cakes made of masa with black beans, salsa, shredded cabbage, guacamole, and cheese; and a variety of mole sauces, which are usually flavored with chiles. For those who like spice, Oaxaca is the hot spot—it produces a rare assortment of dried chiles found only in the region.

As for something sweet, chocolate holds a special significance for Oaxaca, having been used as a ceremonial beverage during pre-Hispanic times. Grab a mug of chocolate con leche (hot chocolate with milk) or try it in a savory dish with mole negro.

Must-Do Experiences
  • Learn how to make a variety of southern Mexican dishes during a hands-on cooking class, plus pick up tips for creating them at home.
  • Explore food stands serving chocolate, bread, and fresh meats just outside the city of Oaxaca in the town of Villa de Zaachila during a day trip that also includes visits to Cuilapam de Guerrero and San Antonio Arrazola.
  • Feast on a traditional Mexican dinner while enjoying the popular Guelaguetza folk singing and dancing show in Oaxaca.
  • Visit a corn field farmer and find out how tortillas are made from scratch during a tour through the indigenous villages in Tlacolula valley.
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