When I think of a snack to satisfy a slight hunger in Puerto Vallarta, I usually think of the many types of tacos available to taste. But one recent evening when walking the malecon with a new friend, she asked me to try one of her favorites. I ordered a cup of corn. I ordered esquites.
Esquites, derived from the indigenous language of Nahuatl, translates to toasted corn. For many it translates to “delicious (rico)” too. Very popular at street fairs and main plazas across all of Mexico, this food favorite seems to satisify not the just kids, but the child in all of us.
It starts with the grains of corn boiled in salted water and chili, but then you add the “condiments.” People add cheese, mayonaise, more chili, butter, and the Mexican favorites salt and lime. We had ours with the works. An explosion of tastes, but the core of the snack, the corn, the mighty Mexican maiz, delighted at every bite.
As we shared a cup, she told me about how she ordered it as a child on walks with her family. A special treat she always looked forward to and a taste apparently she continues to crave today. And I don’t recall if it cost 20 pesos, more or even less, but as the sun set I tasted something special. I tasted Mexican history, it’s real history – it’s food. I savored every bite. It was worth it.
If you love grilled late summer corn, spend a moment and a few pesos and try a cup. You will not be disappointed. Travelers can find numerous food carts serving esquites, but the one I tried, was just over the bridge on the north side of down town Puerto Vallarta along the famed Malecon.
Photos by: Craig Zabransky