As in many parts of Mexico, South Baja California cuisine dates back thousands of years when the first settlers of the state of Baja California Sur practiced hunting, fishing, and gathering fruits. Its main settlements were located in what we know today as San Ignacio and Mulegé with its privileged microclimates with springs and abundant vegetation.
When the missionaries led by Father Juan María Salvatierra arrived in the region, the gastronomic fusion began to give a new direction to the customs of the place by introducing crops such as vine, olive trees, wheat, and corn, in addition to the breeding of pigs, cattle, and goats. Thus, Baja California Sur has an extensive menu that takes advantage of the natural wealth of the products found on land, but mainly they are made up of the abundance that comes from the sea.
On this occasion, we list the 7 most typical dishes of this state as a little taste to savor while you plan your next visit to this beautiful region of Mexico.
Lobster in butter
The lobster is present practically throughout the entire length and breadth of the Baja California peninsula, and in the southern side, this delicacy had to take part in its gastronomy. Prepared in butter, it is considered one of the stars of South Baja California cuisine.
Beef Machaca Burritos
Machaca is always present in the north, and if you add the word “burrito”, another typical dish from that region, you get a delight.
The meat is covered with salt and let dry in the sun. Later it is crushed or “machacada” with a stone as it has been done since colonial times. This preserved the meat for long periods of time.
The most typical way to prepare the machaca is stewed or scrambled with egg, prepared with chili, onion, and tomato. To prepare the burrito, you just have to fold the flour tortilla at the top and bottom ends and roll it up like a taco.
As we said, the beef machaca, and even lamb or goat, is well known in the north of the country, but in Baja California Sur they have given a twist to their recipe by including stingray meat in their preparation.
Its origin comes from the witty spirit that comes with scarcity, thus, in the days when the drought decimated the livestocks, the peninsulars continued to enjoy this traditional dish, but using manta rays, whose meat is shredded with their fingers.
Fish tacos La Paz-style
Fish, fish, and fish is the protagonist of many typical dishes of the region: in ceviche, empapelado or wrapped, tatemado or zarandeado, but perhaps the best known is the capeado or battered with a mixture of flour and fried until golden and crisp. Served in tacos it is a must!
Chocolata clams, tatemadas
Tatemar, from the Nahuatl tlatemati which means “roast in fire”, is a technique that pre-Hispanic cultures already used and continues to this day in most of the states that make up Mexico. In Baja California Sur they apply this cooking to chocolata clams, —as their shell has a color similar to chocolate—, and the flavor obtained is simply delicious and smoked.
It is a gastronomic symbol of the Magic Town of Loreto, where they celebrate the Chocolata Clam Festival in early June.
Lion claw clam ceviche
The texture and flavor of the lion’s claw or lion’s hand clams have made it one of the most sought-after delicacies in the cuisine of this state.
Its shell is circular and can measure up to 7.5 cm in diameter. Its name is due to the ridges on its shell similar to a lion’s hand. You have to try them in ceviche to make the most of their freshness and flavor.
As you already know, many ingredients from the sea are the stars in the dishes of Baja California Sur, but also those that are produced on land. The date palms arrived together with the Spaniards to the New World, and found a very conducive climate to adapt and spread.
In Mulegé alone, a large expanse of date groves can be found around the town. Due to its sweet taste, bakers take advantage of the pulp of this fruit and prepare an exquisite bread that has the intense and natural sweetness of dates.
Enjoy them! If you have another dish in mind, share your favorite Baja California Sur’s dish with us in the comments section.