Som Tam (Papaya Salad)
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What: Empanadas in Oaxaca consist of oval tortillas heated over a comal (a clay or metal griddle), then folded over your stuffing of choice. They resemble the size and look of what’s called a quesadilla in other parts of Mexico (including Mexico City). Besides those con mole amarillo, a common empanada around here is one stuffed with quesillo and flor de calabaza—stringy Oaxacan cheese and delicate squash blossoms. (Probably the third most common, FYI, is quesillo and mushrooms or huitlacoche, a corn fungus…but keep in mind that at any comal, you can choose the filling you want.)
Where: We had this beautiful empanada at La Güerita in Mercado de la Merced (Insurgentes betw. Murguía and Morelos, map). Though we were tempted to add more ingredients—mushrooms or huitlacoche or tinga (shredded chicken)—we stuck to this yummy, cheesy Oaxacan classic. (And we didn’t regret it.)
When: Daily, 8am-3:30pm
Order: Empanada con flor de calabaza y quesillo (20p). If you’re like us, you’ll just add a little spice using the salsa on La Güerita’s counter.
Alternatively: Once again, these are popular in Mercado Abastos (betw. Calle Mercaderes and the periférico, map) as well—just ask where the comedores are located once you’re inside. (We believe they’re along the market’s back wall, by Mercaderes, when you come from el Centro, but it’s hard to be certain in such a mazelike market.)
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