Cultural Excellence

Gorditas elude photographers worldwide

Only 2/3 of a gordita has ever been captured on film.

Breaking news: photographers everywhere are unable to capture a photo of a whole gordita. By the time your order makes it to the table, it is genuinely impossible to take a picture before it is eaten. More on gorditas here:

Gorditas are about as close you can get to authentic Mexican “fast food”. I say that ironically because they are traditionally prepared by hand. Even fast food in México is prepared with care.

Gorditas
True love is sharing your gordita.

Depending on the region of México you are in, the dough will be prepared differently. In Querétaro, the dough is typically prepared out of corn. Those are called gorditas de maiz. In my vlog, we are enjoying blue corn gorditas in Peña de Bernal.

Once the dough is prepared, it is patted down into a ball before it is flattened. You can see the lady on the far left of this photo preparing the dough. Next, they cook both sides on the grill, and later add fillings.

Gorditas grill
Preparing the corn shells on the grill.

Most restaurants will prepare the fillings for the gorditas in the morning, and serve them throughout the day. My favorite fillings are nopal (cactus), champiñones (mushrooms), or carne deshebrada (shredded beef). I also enjoy chorizo as a filling, but I avoid it in México because it tends to be greasy.

Gorditas Assembly Line
The many different options for fillings for gorditas. See how many you can eat!

If you are a tourist in México, be picky about where you choose to eat. Many street vendors sell perfectly safe and delicious food. However, tourist stomachs are often not as strong as the stomachs of locals. I recommend looking for a restaurant rather than a street vendor, especially for your first few days in México.

I do not recommend going to restaurants with menus in English. Those are the tourist traps. You can definitely find a local Mexican restaurant with authentic food. Look for where the locals are going.

Keep an eye out for establishments with local women and children. These are typically the safest, because moms do not want their kids to get sick. Dogs hanging out around establishments are also a good sign. Dogs will not stay around places with meat that makes them ill.

Look for steam coming off of your food- that means it was recently cooked. If you are especially wary about getting sick, avoid meat (especially chorizo).

Watch the hands of the people preparing the food. Most food handlers in Mexico do not wear gloves. Check what they are touching. If they are handling both money and food without sanitizing their hands in between, that is a red flag.

In summary: look for locals- especially families- watch for sanitation, and enjoy!

Gorditas
The 2/3 of the gorditas that I was able to capture.

In my opinion, the best drink to go along with your gorditas is horchata, which is a type of rice milk combined with cinnamon and sugar. Another classic drink is Agua de Jamaica, which is made from the hibiscus flower local to Mexico.

One thing you absolutely cannot do in Mexico is drink water with your gorditas. That would be a rookie move. If your gordita is too spicy for you, water will make it much worse. Either way, drinking water with Mexican food is just not a typical aspect of their food culture. If you order water, you will get weird looks and will immediately be voted off the island.

IMG_0696
Our friend Alejo enjoying his first-ever gordita.

Where is your favorite gorditas spot? The comments are yours 🙂

Until next time- Saludos!

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