Oaxaca Food Tour
Earth, Corn & Fire: Tasting the Roots of Oaxacan Cuisine
Quick bite: On this walk through Oaxaca’s historic center, we’ll get an edible crash course on the ingredients and techniques that are a bedrock of traditional Oaxacan cooking and on how they are being safeguarded.
We like to think of Oaxaca as the heartland of Mexican cooking. All those things that seems so classically and elementally Mexican – corn, chiles, moles, mezcal – can be traced back to the fertile area that surrounds this historic city. This is true about not just ingredients but cooking techniques as well. The use of smoke and fire to flavor food and of the comal – the large circular griddle that is essential for making tortillas – are all deeply connected with the Oaxaca region and its indigenous people. Oaxaca plays another important role: that of a place where many of Mexico’s traditional ingredients and techniques are maintained and protected. Here, the seemingly simple act of growing a strain of heirloom corn is also a deeply political one, an earthy act of resistance against the forces of corporate agriculture that have pushed Mexican farmers in other parts of the country to change the way they work the land.
All those things that seems so classically and elementally Mexican – corn, chiles, moles, mezcal – can be traced back to the fertile area that surrounds this historic city.
On this walk through Oaxaca’s historic center, we’ll get an edible crash course on the elements that are a bedrock of traditional Oaxacan cooking – as well as on how they are being safeguarded. We’ll go through neighborhood markets and visit home-based restaurants and the stalls of streets vendors, stopping to taste some of Oaxaca’s most iconic dishes and street snacks, from memelas to eggs cooked on the comal. We’ll taste local corn in various forms and see how it’s transformed from kernel to tortilla, in the process learning about the key role it still plays in Oaxacan cuisine and culture. Along the way we’ll meet market vendors who have been holding steady for decades and even visit the gallery of a group of young artists who are doing their part to document local life. We’ll end our journey with a meal in a family-run market restaurant, sampling several different types of the city’s most famous creations, mole – a dish that, much like Oaxaca’s rich culinary heritage itself, is the result of numerous ingredients being lovingly and carefully mixed together.
Fee includes everything consumed on the walk. Some special features:
|Some, but not all, stops can be altered for vegetarians||Children welcome|
|Not stroller – friendly||Includes market visits, can be crowded at times|
|Pork is served, but can be substituted||Can accommodate a pescatarian diet|
|Cannot accommodate a vegan diet||Can accommodate a gluten-free diet|
How are you dealing with COVID-19 risk on your walks?
We have reinforced our commitment to safety with new guidelines to assure maximum safety of our guests on our walks in terms of social distancing and hygiene while maintaining the quality of the experience. For more details on our precautions, read here.
Our routes have been altered during this period of time to ensure the safety of our guests, guides and community. Our cancellation policy is extremely flexible to deal with changes in travel plans.
What are the current travel restrictions or requirements in Mexico?
You can read the full travel regulations by location for Mexico here. There are currently no travel restrictions in Mexico. Our cancellation policy is extremely flexible to deal with changes in travel plans. Please contact us for specific questions on travel restrictions.
Am I going to get sick from eating Mexican street food or tacos?
Mild discomfort is common for people who aren’t used to eating Mexican spices or produce. However, all the food stops on each of our tours have been personally tested by our founders, as well as each of our guides. We stand by their quality and cleanliness.
Can you pick me up from my hotel? How will I return once the tour is over?
Our tour prices don’t include transportation. If you book a tour, you’re responsible for arriving to the pre-arranged meeting spot on your own. Most Oaxaca hotels provide taxi services for guests, and it’s generally easy and convenient to use them. If you chose to have a private walk, the guide may be able to meet you at the hotel.
Once the tour is over, we will help you get an authorized, safe taxi to your hotel, or provide directions on public transportation, if you’re interested in that.
Is English spoken?
English is definitely spoken! Our guides are either American and bilingual in Spanish, or they’re Mexicans who speak fluent English. We will also happily do a tour in Spanish if you prefer.
Can vegetarians or vegans take this tour?
Vegetarians, pescatarians definitely. Vegans will have a difficult time in Oaxaca, but we will do our best to accommodate. Our tours also work for anyone with cheese, nut and wheat allergies. Please let us what know your dietary restrictions in advance.
What should I wear?
Comfortable, closed-toed shoes (no flip-flops please), pants, and shirts in layers — it can be cooler in the morning and warmer in the afternoon. Please bring an umbrella if you’re traveling in Oaxaca’s rainy season, from June-September.
How much walking is involved?
Quite a bit. We want you to experience the most amount of food and culture possible, and while we are not actively walking the entire time, you will be required to walk from stop to stop. The entire walk is about 2.5km on fairly flat terrain but the sidewalks can be challenging. Some of the street stands we visit also do not have seating, so you will eat standing up.
How much food will I get to try?
This is really up to you. We generally taste around six items on each tour, but the price includes as much food as you’re open to trying. We offer a suggested portion size at each stop and you can take our recommendation if you’d like. Our goal is to have you end the tour pleasantly stuffed, not so full you can barely walk. That said, everyone’s appetite is different and we welcome all varieties!
What if it rains? Our tours are conducted rain or shine.
Can I bring my children on this tour?
Sure! Children under 6 are free of charge, but Oaxaca is not very stroller friendly, so you should either bring a baby carrier or have a kid ready to walk. Children 7-12 are 50% off. Teenagers 13 and often eat more than their parents and pay full price.
What is your cancellation policy?
The entire reservation can be cancelled with 100% refunded minus credit card processing fees if cancelled more than 1 week in advance. Cancellations of more than 3 days, are refundable at 50% and less than 72 hours are not refundable.
What should I bring?
We strongly recommend leaving passports, credit cards, jewelry and professional cameras at home and carrying only a small amount of cash with you as we will be paying for everything you consume. We also strongly recommend not wearing open-toed shoes, shorts or jewelry.