Nahuatl Delicacies

The myriad of Tlaxcala’s local dishes can be presented in a long list of tongue-twisting names derived from Nahuatl (an indigenous language) or in Mexican slang that can obscure the ingredients and spices you will encounter after ordering. To make a dining experience all the more exotic, why not sample the dishes laced with traditional insects, worms, and grubs that have found their way to the region’s culinary delights. 

Many of these dishes were concocted by a nomadic town suffering from a lack of food due to a blockade by the mighty Mexica Empire. Such desperate times called for a broader definition of what is considered food. Many insects are traditionally swallowed alive. Exotic!  

Two influences guide the Tlaxcala cuisine. The region of the north has its center on the “maguey.” The maguey describes the many uses of the indigenous plant in many local dishes. Lamb spiced and wrapped in the leaves of this plant is just one example. 

The other region that affects the flavors of Tlaxcala is the southern region. Here the staples are tamales, moles, and vegetables. As is a custom in Mexico and, therefore, in Tlaxcala, food can be a daily necessity, a festive dish, or a ritual meal. Do not think being a daily necessity would diminish a meal’s worth. Festive meals focus on the social events that bring families and communities close. Ritual meals are made for celebrations of a local sort, towns, and villages. 

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