Food that Inspires: 10 Must-Have Food & Drink in Oaxaca
August 26, 2017
Exploring Oaxaca’s food is absolutely one of the best ways to dive into it’s vibrant history and culture. The cuisine features ingredients that have remained the same over hundreds of years, telling the story of deep ancient wisdom and celebrating what is local in the area of Mexico. Each meal offers another opportunity to learn, meet locals and humbly enjoy the art of cooking. And frankly, the food is so good and so flavorful here, it could just be the best food ever… Join us and taste for yourself.
Here are a 10 popular Oaxacan foods and drink that you’ve got to try. Visit or Oaxaca Guide to learn more.
Cacao: Yes please! Cacao is beloved and uniquely popular in Oaxaca and it comes in many forms: chocolate, chocolate, Atole, tejate, atole de chocolate (champurrado), tascalate, and popo. Tejate is an ancient drink that can be made with ground mamey seeds, corn, cacao, rosita de cacao (a flower), and water, and is served cold with a frothy layer on top. All of these forms of can be enjoyed at different times of day and offer different flavors, so it’s always cacao time. Be open, try it all and seek authentic experiences to see how cacao is prepared and enjoyed.
Memela: A favorite local snack – a thick masa-based corn tortilla that is toasted with toppings of pork, refried beans, crumbly cheese, choripapa (potatoes and chorizo) and more. A savory option typically eaten in the first half of the day.
Mezcal: One of Oaxaca’s most well-known products, Mezcal is made by roasting the agave plant underground. This gives it a distinct smokey flavor, different that it’s sister tequila. There are plenty of options to taste Mezcal in Oaxaca and learn about the production, history and qualities that make it so special.
Mole: Another favorite and can’t miss in Oaxaca, known for it’s seven kinds of classic mole sauce which typically use 15 or more ingredients in each. The seven types include: Mole negro (black), moles rojo (red), verde (green), amarillo (yellow), coloradito (“little red”), manchamanteles (dark red), and chichilo (another red). We recommend eating as much mole as possible while in Oaxaca.
Oaxaca cheese: A white, semihard cheese that was first made in Oaxaca. It uses a type of string cheese process made from cows milk and used in multiple local dishes.
Paletas: Refreshing and popsicles made with fresh fruit and a variety of typical and unusual flavors depending on how daring you are.
Pan de yema: A light bread commonly eaten for breakfast with hot chocolate for dunking – desert turned breakfast.
Tamal Oaxaqueño: A great snack, these are masa (corn) tamales wrapped in a banana leaf, typically filled with chicken and mole sauce.
Tetela: Almost like a pita wrap, these corn pockets are a delicious way to sample all kinds of seasonal stuffings.
Tlayuda: Similarly, these are big crispy tortillas will all kinds of toppings found commonly as a street food snack.