The state of Tabasco in Mexico is located at the southern end of The Gulf of Mexico. ‘The Gulf’ is a body of abundant water that spans 1,500 kilometres wide. It creates a shoreline from Mexico to the United States and flows into the Caribbean Sea. The neighbouring Caribbean countries and their Afro-Cuban culture have heavily influenced the food of Tabasco. The flavours and ingredients of these countries are combined with greater Mexico’s Hispanic food traditions, as well as the well preserved ancient food customs of the indigenous folk, to create a distinct Gulf cuisine. It is said that the food of Tabasco is a cuisine more steeped in tradition than any other style of Mexican cooking.
Tabasco has a long coastline that connects a network of lakes, rivers and estuaries to The Gulf waters. As such, the area is a haven for fish and seafood with local waters teeming with several distinctive species of crab and crayfish. While fish is one of the most popular foods of Tabasco, local beef, pork and chicken are also eaten as well as turkey and duck. The balmy climate of Tabasco is also conducive to growing tropical fruits like papaya, plaintains and sapote. Other farmed crops such as chocolate, corn, yucca and sweet potato also feature. Recipes from Tabasco blend indigenous herbs such as acuyo (Mexican pepper leaf) alongside European herbs like bay and coriander.
Some traditional dishes that make up the food of Tabasco are:
Pejelagarto Asardo: a freshwater gar fish that has a prehistoric long nose like an alligator. The whole fish is skewered and then grilled. To eat, you tear off a piece of tortilla and pick up some fish with it before adding a squeeze of lime juice, chilli and salt.
Yuca en Naranja: Yuca is what we know in Australia as Cassava. The root vegetable is cooked with garlic and orange juice to create sauce and served topped with coriander.
Platanitos rellenos de carne: Plantain fruits are cooked & mashed then stuffed with spiced minced meat.
For some of the oldest flavours and recipes of Mexico, why not delve into the less unadulterated food of Tabasco. Planning a trip, add these to your must eat list!