Cyprus Mail
Food and Drink Life & Style

What’s Eaten Where: Chihuahua

There’s a rich history of foods named after places. Baked Alaska, Peking duck, and the wiener are all obvious examples. Thankfully, Chihuahua isn’t one of them. This northern Mexican state was named for its main river (which, in turn, takes its moniker from the local Nahuatl phrase meaning ‘The place where the water of the rivers meet’). The Chihuahua dog was, of course, was named for the place. You can rest assured that nobody’s chowing down on cute canines in this state! Instead, what the residents of Chihuahua enjoy of a mealtime is the burrito: flour tortillas and a refried bean paste filled with beef, pork, chili and cheese.

Up here in the north of Mexico where the food most probably originated, they’re referred to as burritas (the feminine version). And they come in all sorts of delicious varieties, including the traditional chicharrón en salsa verde (pork rind in green sauce) and Deshebrada (shredded beef with pepper strips). There’s also the Burritos estilo Chihuahua, a popular version which begins with the usual wheat-flour tortilla and a layer of refried beans, and is filled with a cup of pork rind in green sauce and a spot of shredded beef and pepper strips.

Of course there’s a great deal more to the local menu then burittas. Given the climate and terrain of this, Mexico’s largest state, the cuisine is pretty varied. Mountain ranges, huge forests, plains, deserts – this place has them all. Which means that agricultural practices greatly vary across the region.

For the most part, fairly hot summers and cold winters result in a short harvest period, and that has traditionally dictated the fare: dehydrating vegetables, grains, fruit and even meat makes sense when foods need to be stored for long periods of time. Thus we get dishes such as chacales (cooked dried corn), chile pasado (a dehydrated green chili used as the base for stews), and the ubiquitous machaca – a dried meat, usually spiced beef or pork, rehydrated and used in dishes such as Machaca Mexicana (dried beef with chili, onion, cheese, and beans) and Machaca con Huevo (with dried beef, eggs, diced onion and tomatoes).

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