Zacatecas Food: 9 Dishes That Define the State’s Culinary Identity

zacatecas food
DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links to help support my blog, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Disclaimer

Sharing is caring!

Zacatecas Food: 9 Dishes That Define the State’s Culinary Identity

As I’ve mentioned several times in another one of my posts, the state of Zacatecas is a treasure trove of culinary delights, boasting a rich tapestry of flavors that reflect its vibrant cultural heritage.

From hearty stews simmering with local spices to sweet treats steeped in tradition, Zacatecas’ gastronomic landscape is as diverse as it is delicious.

In this gastronomic journey, we delve into the essence of Zacatecas cuisine, uncovering nine iconic dishes that encapsulate the soul of this enchanting region.

Zacatecas Food: Background

zacatecas food

It was the old mine workers who during the Colony, made corn, the staple food of the indigenous people, the axis of the current typical dishes of Zacatecas that today give life to the gastronomy of this state.

The first inhabitants of Zacatecas fed themselves mainly with fruits, roots, and meat from whatever animals they could hunt.

Later, Spanish explorers arrived in search of gold and silver, which they found in large quantities.

Because of this, they decided to establish several mining camps, among them the one of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios de Zacatecas on January 20, 1548.

From then on, Zacatecas was populated in its vast majority by miners; that is to say, hard-working people, who made corn, chili, tomatoes, beans, quelites (a type of green plant), guajolotes (turkey), atoles, and sometimes tamales, their main food.

Due to the aridity of the territory and the increasing mining activity, not much could be cultivated.

For this reason, Zacatecas became an important trade center with other provinces.

Salt, sugar, pigs, rams, cattle, wheat flour, spices, dried fish, lentils, chickpeas, rice, etc. were sold there.

The place became a must-stop for traders, so the inns also increased, where they served snacks and dishes that incorporated regional elements with the new ingredients brought from the Old World, such as picadillo empanadas, quesadillas, chiles rellenos or tasty pucheros and pipianes.

To drink, they served fresh water, aguardiente, and pulque from the region.

Read the full guide: Zacatecas Mexico: A Journey Through Culture and Beauty

The French heritage in Zacatecas gastronomy

In 1864 the French took Zacatecas and remained there for two years, bringing with them their food customs.

Thus, the invaders introduced butter and cream, almonds, prunes, generous wines, coconut, pine nuts, wrapped and covered fruits, sponge cakes, and milk chocolate.

In the times of Porfirio Díaz, the state’s economy recovered and livestock was a success, so the locals enjoyed meat cooked in various ways, especially roasted over charcoal or grilled.

Zacatecas Food: 9 Typical Dishes

1. Asado de Boda (Wedding Roast)

zacatecas food
The secret here is the perfect blend of chile guajillo, chile ancho, and tomato.

Perhaps, the most relevant dish is a typical pork stew usually prepared with chile ancho and guajillo marinade in a tomato broth. 

Besides being a delicious preparation, the asado de boda is very significant in the region.

You may want to read: 15 Must-Try Mexican Tamale Varieties: Unwrap the Magic

It is called this way because it is an offering given by the groom’s family to the bride’s family. This is to reaffirm the marriage commitment.

The asado de boda became popular during the Mexican Revolution.

2. Enchiladas Zacatecanas

Classic enchiladas made with corn tortillas and covered with red or green salsa prepared with poblano peppers and cream.

The big difference lies in its filling, which is cooked and shredded pork loin, later fried in lard.

They are usually covered with fresh crumbled cheese and slices of raw onion or radish.

3. Tostadas from Jerez, Zacatecas

zacatecas food
A “cuerito” tostada with salsa Jerezana

A typical tostada in Zacatecas is nothing more than a crispy fried or baked corn tortilla topped with pork pieces. They can be carnitas, buche, or even cueritos (pickled pork skins).

They are covered with a slightly spicy red chile and tomato sauce.

These “tostadas Jerezanas” are one of the most representative typical dishes of Zacatecas.

4. Prickly pear cheese

In reality, “queso de tuna” (prickly pear cheese) it’s not a cheese, but more of a type of candy.

Queso de tuna is a traditional Zacatecan food processed in copper pots, a typical sweet made by reducing the juice of the Cardona prickly pear.

It is called “cheese” because of its small rounded and spongy look. Also, its elaboration process is somewhat similar to making cheese.

This juicy and popular product in central Mexico comes from the “tuna,” the fruit of the prickly pear cactus.

The result is a highly sweet texture similar to that of cajeta (artisanal caramel)

5. Caldo de Rata (rat soup) – Wait, what?

rat soup

Also consumed in San Luis Potosí and Durango, this broth is made from wild field rats.

Obviously, this typical food from Zacatecas has generated controversy, but at the end of the day, it is part of the identity of the people who live in the rural areas of this region.

The wild field rat is boiled with some vegetables and herbs, the flavor is similar to chicken, and it provides a high nutritional value, especially for its high mineral content.

6. Pacholes (or Pacholas)

zacatecas food
Beef Pachola

As in Jalisco, this recipe is made with pork or beef ground in a metate. The steaks are very thin and highly aromatic.

Cinnamon, cloves, oregano, and mint are usually added.

Pacholas is one of the typical foods of Zacatecas most appreciated by the locals, and visitors.

7. Brujitas de Sombrerete, Zacatecas

zacatecas food

A traditional food made in the town of Sombrerete, Zacatecas.

These “brujitas” are a kind of corn empanadas stuffed with shredded meat, potatoes with cheese, or beans.

The brujitas are usually fried in abundant oil and accompanied with green or red sauce. 

8. Tortas Malpaso

mexico travel and leisure
Visit Tortas Malpaso in Downtown Zacatecas City
tortas de malpaso
So simple yet so delicious!

For nearly a century, this torta shop has been a gastronomic reference in the region.

This Zacatecan business is distinguished for offering the best tortas in Zacatecas.

“Tortas de Malpaso” are living history of the gastronomy of Zacatecas. These tortas are made with chorizo sausage and pickled serrano chiles.

A gastronomic experience not to be missed in Zacatecas.

9. Tacos de Papel (Paper Tacos)

zacatecas food

These crispy tacos became well known among the city’s gourmands, a creative way of calling “thin” but full-of-flavor tacos.

Tacos de papel is one of the most famous representations of Zacatecas street food.

Small crispy tacos filled with picadillo with potatoes and cabbage, evolved over time, and today they are made of various stews that are also topped with cream, green or red salsa, and cheese.

Zacatecas Food: Final thoghts

Discover a surprising gastronomy, full of curious preparations and legendary culinary traditions.

The gastronomy of Zacatecas is a faithful representative of Mexican cuisine.

These typical dishes of Zacatecas are a sample of the great gastronomic legacy of the region.

So, as you explore the bustling markets and cozy cocinas of this vibrant state, let your taste buds be your guide, and immerse yourself in the flavors that define Zacatecas’ culinary identity. Buen provecho!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *