Having spent some time on the West Coast of Mexico I have realized again that this country is massive. While dishes may be similar, they are still very different from what I eaten in the Yucatan or Oaxaca.
Known as the shrimp capital, food tends to be a little less spicy here but there is a lot of great stewed meat.
I did not love everything; I suspect it may have been due to some of the restaurants that seemed to cater to foreigners. I need to spend more time with locals eating on the street and in the cenadurias like at La Copita.
But what I loved about Mazatlan was that many traditional Sinaloan foods are prepared in a caldo or large pot. It is then served in small bowls so people can serve themselves and I was able to do it at El Meson de los Laureanos.
This means you can try a lot of different things.
I’m in heaven.
1. Shrimp stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon.
I first had this at Pedro y Lola and I thought it was their genius creation but this is a dish typical to the area.
A great shrimp cocktail where seafood is marinated in green chili and lime and then served with red onion and cucumber.
I have eaten this in a few places around Mexico, including Playa del Carmen. It is a soup made from hominy, which is related to corn and can include different meat with onions and cabbage. I liked it the most here in Mazatlan.
4. Drinks: jamaica, horchata, agua de cebada
I love juice in Mexico and these are found everywhere in large jugs on tables. Jamaica is made from boiled hibiscus flowers which are then mixed with sugar, lime and fruit and is like a natural Kool-Aid.
Horchata is made from rice but then mixed with sugar, vanilla and sometimes cinnamon. When I visited the Casanovas in Campeche they used coconut milk as well and it was heavenly.
While I had jamaica and horchata before, I had never heard of agua de cebada. It is made of barley and very similarly prepared as horchata and it turned off most people in our group until they tried mine.
A meat stew which is usually made with beef but it can also be made with goat or lamb. The meat is simmered for hours with onion and coriander and is perfect on a tortilla.
Seafood cooked by the acid of citrus, it is one of my favourite foods in Latin America. Learn how to make Mexican ceviche.
This is tongue and I had to force Cailin O’Neil to try it, she claimed she did not want her food to taste her back. I first had this at a bus station in Colombia and it is incredibly tender meat and one of my favourite parts of the cow. If someone offers you lengua do not turn it down.
A thicker tortilla that is fried and loaded with meat and onions and topped with cheese.
10. Tunas aka prickly pear cactus fruit
If you are in Mexico when these are in season grab them and eat them whole. Otherwise you can find them in jam and other preserves.
11. Shrimp Boat
No joke, they serve buckets of shrimp in Mazatlan with shrimp prepared every way you can imagine.
12. Shrimp quesadillas
I told you this was the shrimp capital.
I could name a million other shrimp dishes: cooked in tequila, beer…whatever you do make sure you try the shrimp in Mazatlan.