airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
Colored tortillas | © Photo courtesy of Thames & Hudson in association with TransGlobe Publishing
Colored tortillas | © Photo courtesy of Thames & Hudson in association with TransGlobe Publishing
Save to wishlist

These Amazing Photos Will Take You on a Culinary Quest Through Mexico

Picture of Stephen Woodman
Updated: 27 September 2017
Cooking and eating are traditional focal points for community life in Mexico and there’s a simple reason why: Mexican cuisine is delicious. Now a stunning new coffee table book by the photographer Hossein Amirsadeghi sheds light on the culinary impact of the country’s varied geography, culture and history. In Mexico: A Culinary Quest, Amirsadeghi chronicles a journey across the country’s 32 states and captures the spirit of Mexico’s cuisine and culture in more than 800 glorious photos.

Amirsadeghi’s passion for the project stems from UNESCO’s 2010 designation of traditional Mexican cuisine as an intangible form of cultural heritage. Still restricted internationally by notions of melted cheese and burritos, the book explores the unique ingredients and cooking techniques that define each of its diverse regions.

Querétaro city center
Querétaro city center | © Photo courtesy of Thames and Hudson Ltd
Cantina Tizoc in Jerez de García Salinas, Zacatecas state
Cantina Tizoc in Jerez de García Salinas, Zacatecas state | © Photo courtesy of Thames & Hudson in association with TransGlobe Publishing

Ultimately, each of these recipes are a reflection of their surroundings. Amirsadeghi’s journey takes him across peyote trails and cocoa plantations. He visits humble local eateries as well as high-end restaurants.

Le Chique’s suckling pig and chirmole
Le Chique’s suckling pig and chirmole | © Photo courtesy of Thames and Hudson Ltd
Le Chique’s Hamachi aguachile – raw hamachi cured in lemon and spices
Le Chique’s Hamachi aguachile – raw hamachi cured in lemon and spices | © Photo courtesy of Thames & Hudson in association with TransGlobe Publishing

In Quintana Roo’s Le Chique the gorgeous dishes on the tasting menu are designed to be eaten in a single bite. In Mexico City’s stylish Quintonil, head chef Jorge Vallejo sources the vast majority of ingredients from local producers. A keen gardener, the contents of his dishes have often traveled less than 100 feet before they arrive on a plate.

Quintonil’s meringue with berries
Quintonil’s meringue with berries | © Photo courtesy of Thames and Hudson Ltd

The book also explores some of Mexico’s most unique dishes, including delicacies such as lightly fried scorpions served on sliced avocado as part of a taco.

Lightly fried scorpions
Lightly fried scorpions | © Photo courtesy of Thames & Hudson in association with TransGlobe Publishing

Restaurante Monte Cristo in Mexico City offers pricklypear cactus salad with acociles, tiny red freshwater crayfish, a common dish served since prehispanic times.

Nopal salad
Nopal salad | © Photo courtesy of Thames & Hudson in association with TransGlobe Publishing

In the southern state of Oaxaca, even more exotic dishes are available. At the Casa Oaxaca Restaurant the specialty is tostada of chicatana ants, gusanos de maguey and chapulines.

Tostada of chicatana ants
Tostada of chicatana ants | © Photo courtesy of Thames & Hudson in association with TransGlobe Publishing

Along the way, we are introduced to the lively characters that inhabit the world of Mexican cuisine: the nuns, campesinos, neighborhood personalities, businesspeople and master chefs and cooks. The book contains more than 100 fascinating profiles of the culinary stars in Mexico.

Ángel Solís is the head chef at Pangea Restaurant in Monterrey, where he combines traditional Mexican cuisine with French influences and techniques. Solís gradually rose through the ranks under the mentorship of Guillermo González Beristaín (considered a father of contemporary Mexican cooking). Together, Solís and González Beristaín have created north-eastern Mexico’s most highly regarded restaurant and are regularly listed in the ranks of Latin America’s 50 best restaurants.

Angel Solís
Angel Solís | © Photo courtesy of Thames and Hudson Ltd
Pangea’s chocolate financier with beetroot and goat’s cheese
Pangea’s chocolate financier with beetroot and goat’s cheese | © Photo courtesy of Thames & Hudson in association with TransGlobe Publishing

Antonia Chulim Noh, known to everyone as “La Tía,” (the aunt) has been making tortillas for 60 years. She rises at 4 a.m. every day to serve passing lorry drivers and only returns to her hammock at midnight. One of her specialties is huevos encamisados – literally “eggs in shirts,” which consists of eggs fried between two tortillas.

Antonia Chulim Noh
Antonia Chulim Noh | © Photo courtesy of Thames and Hudson Ltd

With its focus on Mexican cuisine, the lavish volume moves beyond the recipes to explore the human stories, history and settings behind an extraordinary culinary tradition. At times intimate and always insightful, Mexico: A Culinary Quest really is a feast for the eyes and intellect.