Eating With Reckless Abandon in Baja California (Mexico)

Guess I have a thing for border cities.  I used to live in Shenzhen, China, a city that straddles the Hong Kong border.  Back when Hong Kong still stamped passports, I’d sometimes cross just to buy a drink, or to witness a public restroom that had soap, or to change the equivalent of US$2.

I’ve crossed a bunch more – Niagara Falls, US to Niagara Falls, Canada, Lefkoşa, Turkish Cyprus to Nicosia, Cyprus, and even the one from North to South Korea…and back, to name but a few.

There’s clearly something about the atmosphere of border cities that is a lure.  Partially, it’s the international aspect, but it’s also the fact that internal migration often plays a large role in the composition of a frontier town.  Consequently, you can sometimes see a great variety in food in such places as Shenzhen and Tijuana, in the state of Baja California, Mexico, right across the border from the suburbs of San Diego, California.  Today, we’ll check out a few different – though mostly local – meals sampled in Tijuana and its southerly neighbor of Puerto Nuevo, part of the beach resort called Rosarito.

Another thing many border cities share is notoriety (for whatever reason).  Tijuana and again, Shenzhen are two oft-cited examples of this…naturally by folks living on the other side of the border.  For the most part, bollocks.  As in most places, don’t wander around tugging one of those gold bullion vending machines on your person, and you’ll be fine.  Oh, and don’t go to the bad neighborhoods.  Duh.

Let’s abruptly move on to the food:

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (4)Flautas (flutes), or tacos enrollados (rolled tacos, this time with chicken) with guacamole, grated cheese, crema, and lettuce.  Starting off with an appetizer that will already leave me full.  Great idea, eh?

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (7)A tamal with salsa verde.  Wish I had actually read the sign, because I then would have ordered a champurrado (chocolate drink with corn flour) too.  Then again, how full would I have been after that?

Note to self: I need a “full meter” somewhere in this post.

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (1)One of the vendors called those bratwurst-looking things “Mexican caviar.”  Still not sure what it was, though it was yellow.  The hemispheres are marlin tacos.

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (2)¿Curious about the history of tacos al pastorYou can thank eastern Mediterranean immigrants for that picture.

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (3)End result.  Can’t believe that, after eating so many limes, radishes and cucumbers – and everything else – that Mexico has yet to offend my innards.

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (5)Have another photo of tacos al pastor, this time, with the vitamin C- and fiber-packed jicama.

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (6)Tacos de pescado y un taco de camarones (fish tacos and a shrimp taco)–one of the primary gastronomic reasons I’ve been to Tijuana a few times.  Ok, it is fried, but I compensate for that fact by walking to and fro the border crossing…

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (9)I said leche (milk), not pickled pig tails, dang it!

Puerto Nuevo, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (1)Puerto Nuevo’s main draw – besides prescription medication? – is the langosta, in the lobster family.  That day, my friend and I enjoyed langosta burritos, margaritas and…what, no guacamole?

Puerto Nuevo, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (2)Dessert time.  The bricks flecked with (and without) pecans are called jamoncillo (de leche), aka Mexican fudge.  As that stuff isn’t commonly found in New York – and due to a request from a friend across the border – I tried some.  I’d buy it again, if only I weren’t so full from everything else.  Yawn, such a cliché refrain.

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico - Food (Comida) (8)In Madrid, you might eat churros with hot chocolate, but in Tijuana, you eat them standing behind traffic-choked lanes bound for San Diego.  These way-too-sweets are another reason I like crossing the border, and as an added bonus, they were encanelados, filled with cinnamon cream.

In short, Tijuana isn’t as bad as you want it to be.  Just look at the food!

See anything you like?  Have you visited Tijuana/Baja California?


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9 Responses to Eating With Reckless Abandon in Baja California (Mexico)

  1. Babette says:

    What a hot mess that pile of flautas is!

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  3. Seriously know how to make a gal salivate!!

    • How are the Mexican food finds in India? Surely, you can get most of the ingredients fresh – even if they all originated in Mesoamerica anyway;)

      • You can.. however the best Mexican food I’ve ever had here was made by a friend from Mexico who had several specialised ingredients brought out by her mother and brother when they came to visit.

        I’ve never quite understood why Mexican food isn’t more popular or better made in India but generally it is rubbish Tex-Mex (which can be good but here often isn’t!). Let’s just say after Ethiopian, an authentic Mexican meal is my next stop when back in Canada. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Event Review: February Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo, San Diego, California | buildingmybento


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