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VILLAHERMOSA

MEXICO

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VILLAHERMOSA

GASTRONOMY

Tasty, original and exotic, that is how one could define gastronomy in Tabasco. Singular dishes of Maya and Chontal - a regional ethnic group - origins are prepared in the regional kitchens, authentic delicatessens that are complemented with the dishes created on the colonial fires, marked by Spanish seasoning.

This tasty gastronomic fusion is enriched not only by the use of ingredients, not consumed elsewhere in Mexico (aromatic herbs, fruits and meats), but also by the way people prepare their meals.

The culinary shades of Tabasco are ample and variegated; there are dishes with fruits and herbs of the region, such as the chaya, the chipile and the amashito chilli, which add an agreeable taste to the dishes. The stew of beef stands out, along with the exquisitenesses made of fish and seafood, species abundant in the rivers and lakes of the state.

The local menu offers exotic adventures to the most daring palates, such as the roasted pejelagarto, a fish of delicate taste that is captured in the rivers of the region; it is prepared on live coal and accompanied with lemon and amashito chilli.

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Another tempting recipe is the chimol, a stew of Chontal gastronomic roots very much like the mole; the main ingredient is the pejelagarto, which is served over seeds of pumpkin and epazote, an aromatic herb.

Equally daring are the turtle in green sauce, the tepescuintle adobado (a local agouti), and the cake of iguana, elaborated with boned and chopped meat from this animal, which is mixed with eggs and dressed with parsley, onion and garlic; it is then baked over banana leafs.

If you do not wish to experiment and are looking for rather everyday tastes and ingredients, you can try and "bite" the salty meat with chaya (a fruit from the region), a delicious stew that is served with bananas and leafs of chiplin; or the black frijol with salty pork, a weighty recipe based on black beans, pork and fried cracklings, which is accompanied with white rice and a salad of radish, cilantro, onion, chilli and lemon.

Do not ignore the Tabasco bass at mealtime; on this recipe the bass is stuffed with squid, octopus and shrimp, and seasoned with orange juice before being taken to the oven; it is served over aromatic chaya leafs with white rice and green banana.

In addition, Tabasco's cuisine seduce the palates with an interesting variety of tamales and empanadas, but also with sweets such as the tortilla of coco, a mixture of fruit and milled panela (sweet bread) that is baked in an oven, and the sweet of zapote (mamey) papaya, prepared with fig and honey.

The luring list includes the bread of banana, based on butter, flour, eggs, vanilla and bananas; and the sweet of guapaque, an agreeable bittersweet fruit boiled in sugar.

And since every good meal has to be accompanied by something to drink, Tabasco offers its visitors liquors and beverages of ritual use, such as the lliztle, a liquor based on sugarcane, grapes, peaches or pears; and the balche, prepared with the bark of the homonymous tree, which is left to be fermented and sweetened with honey or anis; it is consumed by the Chontal people on their tributes to the earth.

Though the possibilities do not end in here, we must include the bitter atole, elaborated with fermented maize and panela; and the thepozol with pixte, a result of mixing boiled maize and pixte (the seed of the red zapote), amongst other peculiar drinks.

But beyond these regional recipes, in the City of Villahermosa, capital of the State of Tabasco, visitors will find more than one restaurant serving international food and establishment offering fast food as well. For this reason, both the gastronomic adventurers and the conservatives rather sticking to everyday tastes will be well served.

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