One of the best ways to experience a destination is through its food and Guadalajara is no exception, boasting cuisine that is synonymous with Mexican culture that cannot be found anywhere else.
April 2018 - CHASING DREAMS - CHEF DARREN WALSH by Jake Kilroy
Spaniards introduced cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and all other animal‐based foods, including dairy products and lard, as well as wheat, olive oil, rice, spices, and several European varieties of fruit, nuts and vegetables, to the area in the mid‐1500s. The settlers who came to the region from different parts of Spain, including Austrians, Basques, Galicians and Andalucians, quickly adopted chilies and tomatoes, which they used in barbacoa and stews called pucheros. Their voyages to Jalisco's coast yielded culinary combinations such as fish and seafood seasoned with saffron and other European spices. Eventually, they accepted the Mesoamerican dietary staple, corn, using it to make enchiladas, quesadillas, gorditas, and even tamales – the pre‐Hispanic version of which was transformed from a somewhat dry, grainy (though healthy) food into a light, lard‐infused dough filled with pork and chilies.
Today, there are some key ingredients that are ever‐present in Guadalajaran cuisine. The classic corn tortilla appears on every table to accompany absolutely every meal regardless whether if it is sweet or salty. Chili is a must in all dishes, from a simple tomato sauce with chili to the more elaborate chipotles and guajillo peppers crushed in stone molcajetes (mortar and pestle). Beans are a primary legume, another element of Guadalajara culture that is synonymous with the inhabitants of Mexico – and used in all the regional dishes. Fruit is often used to make desserts, liqueurs, jams, and preserves such as guayabates (quince rolls) and peach jam.
Local street food includes tacos with various fillings and flavor profiles and breads and tortas (sandwiches) filled with meat or vegetables. Refreshing drinks made with fruit create a beautiful rainbow of color; red from hibiscus flower, pale rose from watermelon or strawberries, yellow from mangos, and deep orange from tamarind. Traditional sweets include apples wrapped in caramel, candied fruits and coconut alfajores cookies.
Guadalajara’s signature dish is the torta ahogada, a “drowned sandwich” that is a sandwich stuffed with fried pork before being drenched in a spicy tomato chili sauce and served with avocado, onions, and radishes. The dense roll used in this dish can only be found in Guadalajara due to the type of wheat used to make the bread and the city’s altitude. The torta ahogada can be found throughout the city at various food stands and restaurants.
Culinary specialties in Guadalajara also include birria (a spicy Mexican meat stew made with either goat or lamb, cooked slowly with spices and served with minced onions, cilantro and limes); pozole (a corn hominy soup made with either pork or chicken); fish ceviche (made from whatever is fresh that day, marinated in lime juice and served with tostadas (fried tortillas); and chilaquiles (a Mexican breakfast of eggs, home cooked beans, white, crumbling, slightly salty cheese and tortillas). A local favorite is the filling comida corrida (meal of the day), which usually consists of a soup and main course including tortillas, rice, salad, and a drink, which is served from about noon onwards.
Made with pork and hominy (dried corn), pozole is a traditional Mexican soup that is available at food stands, markets, and restaurants throughout Guadalajara. This dish is served at celebratory events such as Mexico's Independence Day, Quinceañeras, weddings, birthdays, and baptisms. Get the full Recipe >
The Spanish adjective tapatío means coming from the city or region of Guadalajara, and these simple enchiladas originate from Guadalajara.Get the full Recipe >
Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs
Chilaquiles are a breakfast staple in Guadalajara. This hearty dish is typically served three different ways, either verde (green salsa), rojo (red salsa) or divorciados (a combination of red and green salsa).Get the full Recipe >