Flavors of Jalisco
Between the four of us, we had a pretty hefty list of restaurants, botaneros, and specific dishes we wanted to try while in Guadalajara. Some popular dishes in Jalisco include tortas ahogadas (smothered sandwiches), carne en su jugo (sort of like a ground beef au jus), pozole (hominy stew) and birria (another meaty stew). In addition to the local classics, Guadalajara is also a city with varied cuisine and trendy fusions. Being the second largest city in Mexico, some international flavors can also be had (although disappointingly, only a handful of Asian restaurants).
Pozole is likely to be that dish I’d take with me to the deserted island. Throughout the country the dish is made a few different ways but my favorite is the white or clear version, which is what is predominantly found in Jalisco State. I tried it at four different locations in Guadalajara in an attempt to find my favorite. I nearly missed out as we’d kept leaving the famed La Chata Restaurant for later and on the morning we were leaving we still hadn’t been. A quick game time decision had us stopping by at 9am for a quick bowl for breakfast before making our way out to the airport. Smartest decision I’ve ever made! I can see why there are long lines at certain times of day! 5/5 stars!
Other pozoles tried were on the street during the street market in Tonala (4/5 stars), at La Gorda (2/5 stars) and in Zapopan at a delightful find, Fonda Doña Gabina Escolastica (4/5 stars).
Birria is a dish that hasn’t quite sold me yet. It’s a stew of spices, chiles and goat and can be served more as a soup or with just the meat and tortillas to make tacos. Some restaurants make versions with mutton or beef, which are a little more friendly for my palate. We tried this dish in the famous 9 Esquinas area, a part of town full of birria shops and also at a place near the Santa Tere Market.
I didn’t get too excited about the local dish, carne en su jugo. We tried at Garibaldi, supposedly the best in the city and while it was ok and tasty, it didn’t really rock my boat, although anything with a little bacon in it deserves a try or two!
Guadalajara also has several up-and-coming artisanal breweries and also has beer shops where you can find other small brewers from elsewhere in the country, that we can’t find in Chiapas. Of course, this was a big hit with my husband and brother and sampling was a MUST! We gave our best effort in trying all the varieties we could find….and were pleased with several good ones!
Other awesome flavors sampled in Guadalajara included this amazing homemade rosemary ice cream and cheese filled chile guerros that we found in Mercado San Juan de Dios. Can’t lie, we made a special trip back to the market for a second try of these yummy chiles. We also had a fancy night out at a South American restaurant called La Pasion to try out some finer dining. As is usually the case, the markets and small food shops are better.
For my own future reference, other recommendations would include:
Pigs Pearl, for incredible burgers.
Juice and sandwich stand in Santa Tere Market.
La Fuente is an excellent botanero (el centro).
With a new direct flight between Tuxtla and Guadalajara with occasional cheap fares, we’ll be back to eat some more of Jalisco’s delicious cuisine!