Visiting the Jamaica plant and flower market is one of our favorite activities in Mexico City; we love getting lost in its green alleys and never fail to emerge with at least one new plant and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. And of course, we’re always on the lookout for new places to eat. Our favorite barbacoa joint is in this market, but when we want a different experience we head to the huarache alley, where several stalls offer this tasty Mexican specialty.
The huarache is a large – about 10 inches long – masa patty stuffed with refried beans and so called because its oval shape is similar to the sandal of the same name. They can be prepared differently in other parts of the city, not to mention around the country. In some venues, a huarache is a large, flat corn patty without any filings; usually these huaraches are topped with refried beans and other ingredients while they’re being fried on the griddle.
However, in Mercado Jamaica huaraches have a reputation of being large meals that can satisfy the hungriest of customers. Our favorite slinger of this specialty here is Huaraches Rossy, which has been in business since 1982. Its menu features different combos, from a single huarache that costs 10 pesos (around US$0.55), to the double steak huarache with cheese that costs around US$4. One or two huaraches are served on a plate with your selected topping – egg, chicken, steak or chorizo – red and/or green salsas are added as well, and avocado slices and fried spring onions accompany the already substantive meal.
“We started selling pumpkins outside the market in the early 80s,” owner Señor Enrique said. “After a while, we added huaraches to increase our income. We were offered one of the booths inside the market a few years later; we took the opportunity and started selling huaraches only. Ours was the first huarache stand in the market.”
Huaraches Rossy is located in a corner booth where the ingredients used to make their dishes are attractively displayed. We sat on the counter right in front of the prep area where two young women skillfully rang up order after order. We later learned from Señor Enrique that the young women were his daughters. “We named the business Rossy,” he said, “after one of [them]. It’s a tradition to name your business after your firstborn.”
When our order arrived, we were surprised by its size. Two big cornmeal patties were topped with a large steak, cheese, avocado and spring onions – a plate that could feed an army. We also ordered tepache, a kind of fermented agua fresca made with pineapple skin and the perfect accompaniment for our huaraches. Huaraches might not be sophisticated or trendy at the moment, but in their simplicity, they’re deeply satisfying.