Chiapas has some incredible corn-based drinks like atole, pinole, and tascalate, but they are also known for their pox—an aguardiente made from corn, sugar cane and wheat, and comiteco mezcal, a type of mezcal made exclusively in Chiapas.
Tamales de Azafran
Azafran (or saffron in English) is native to Chiapas and used in lots of dishes there. These tamales are corn dough mixed with pork lard and either chicken or turkey stock. They’re stuffed with peeled almonds, prunes, red bell pepper, and either chicken or turkey meat mixed with saffron, tomato, onion, garlic, clove, cinnamon, allspice and wheat germ. This is one of the most interesting tamales you will try in Mexico.
Tostados de Carne Molido
Tostados are similiar to the concept of tortilla, corn-based, but slightly thicker and crispier. These tostados are topped with mixtures of meat and veggies traditional to Chiapas—ground beef marinaded in lime juice, with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, salt and pepper.
Caldo de Xote
A dish that is specially made to commemorate Good Friday and Jesus Christ’s final supper with his apostles, Caldo de Xote is made with a type of fresh-water snail common to the lakes of Chiapas and Tabasco. It is cooked with the Mexican herb epazote, chimborote peppers, tomatoes and onions.
A special treat for Patron Saint festivities in August in Comitán, Chiapas, los pickles constitutes a pickled vegetable salad of carrot, cauliflower and jalepeño peppers. Added to this are candied onions that have been misted with olive oil and cooked over a low flame with vinegar, bay leaves, oregano, allspice, cinnamon, salt and a pinch of sugar.
Pan de Indio
While not a very politically correct name, Pan de Indio is a wildly popular bread in Chiapas. This is an artisanal bread, made simply with yeast, flour, sugar and red food coloring and is popular in San Cristobal de las Casas.
Cabeza de Pobre
To make this traditional dish first a leg of pork and a pig’s head are boiled. Ancho chiles, tomates, tomatillos, and onion are blended with a little bit of the resulting broth and the meat is then added to the mixture. It’s then seasoned with thyme, oregano, bay leaf, onion, garlic and salt. This is then cooked until the broth evaporates.
Cerdo en Momo
Commonly encountered in Tila, Chiapas, pork is cooked in a large pot with tomatoes, onion and hot green chiles. The dish is covered with a type of cooking cloth and a layer of hoja santa (Mexican pepperleaf), it’s then topped with banana leaves and the pork cooks in the fragrant vapor of the other ingredients.
La Cajeta de mango
These sweet treats are popular in Comitán during the August festivals. They are made by cooking pieces of manila mango in a sugar syrup with peanuts or almonds. Then they are served cold.
Flan de Frutas
Flan is a classic Mexican dessert and this one has a little twist—it includes orange juice, chopped candied lemon, raisins, and cherries, along with condensed milk, eggs and carmelized sugar.
Chiapas has quite the cheese culture and if you get a chance you must try the regional crema tropical (a mild, smooth cheese you will recognize by its yellow aluminum foil wrapper); Queso de bola de Ocosingo (a round, ball-shaped cheese with a crust of hard skim milk on the outside of a creamy cheese in the middle); and Queso de sal (a cow’s milk cheese that is very salty—once a way of preserving it in the tropical heat).
Chiapas is one of the best regions in Mexico for coffee growing, so you’ll find some great coffee here. If possible, go straight to the source and visit a local coffee plantation for a taste.