foodie: i ❤ tlayudas, oaxaca city

Tlayduas combine all that is great about Mexican food, in the largest portion size available. It's basically like opting for a supersize on a Big Mac or Whopper when you're hungover, but on, you know, healthy and non-processed food.

Alongside various moles, mezcal, and grasshoppers, tlayudas are regional speciality to Oaxaca, the culinary capital of Mexico. Enjoyed traditionally as an antojito (a snack of sorts), these oversized delights are often large enough to keep you sated for hours.  

Classically they are a large, thin tortilla spread with frijoles, filled with with stringy melted cheese, avocado and tomatoes, often with marinated meat and then folded before crisped to perfection on a hot plate.

Throughout our travels in Oaxaca state, we had some good, some bad, some mediocre and some exceptional versions. And, unsurprisingly, the exceptional were found at 'I ❤ Tlayudas' in Oaxaca City. 

Passing through a wall of smoke from the charcoal barbecue at the entrance, your tastebuds are already on high alert. For the carnivores and omnivores, you will struggle to choose instead of struggling for choice. Spicy marinated pork, thinly sliced steak, smoky chorizo or roasted chicken are the most common options and each is excellent.  For vegetarians, the choice is as limited as you may come to expect in Mexico, with beans and cheese your only option. 

A key difference between eating here and a normal street stall are the array of salsas and accompaniments available to spice up or bulk out your tlayuda to personal taste and heat preference: four different types of fresh homemade salsas, red and white onion, chillies, jalapeños, cabbage, radishes, lime and herbs, and excellent guacamole can all be ladled on. With very limited vegetarian options, as in the rest of Mexico, this provides a welcome addition to the usual limitations of beans and cheese.

With so many high-end restaurants and street food options available in the centre of town, few are likely to find ❤ hidden down a side street; we definitely would not have ventured there if not for our friend, an English teacher living in Oaxaca. As soon as you enter, it's clear that this is a local's favourite, rather than a guidebook recommendation. We visited in the afternoon and evening, and the place was full each time - a testament that in the town of tlayudas, these are a cut above the rest. 

Address: Pensamientos 1115, Col. Reforma, Oaxaca

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