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2.4.2021 – Samie recommends “Street Food: Latin America – Oaxaca” and also memelas…

Street Food: Latin America

If you’re like me and consider yourself a foodie, then you should definitely check out “Street Food”! It’s an amazing series on Netflix that visits several different Latin American countries, including Argentina and Bolivia. I chose Oaxaca, Mexico because I have visited this city myself and I really enjoyed tasting all the different types of street food that can’t be found in the northern cities of Mexico. Also, watching this reminded me of my grandmother who is from Mexico! When I was younger, I used to beg my grandma for a small ball of masa so that I could play around with it and while she started prepping the food for dinner that night. I used to be so obsessed with masa that my parents bought me a mini tortilla maker so that I could at least make some tortillas while my grandma was cooking!

Oaxaca is one of Mexico’s most famous southern cities that is known for its large indigenous population, and this episode introduces viewers to different vendors, who are masters at their craft. Two vendors really caught my attention!

First, Doña Vale, the owner of the street stall named Memelas Doña Vale, is introduced and one of her employees can be heard describing her strong character as clips of her making her famous memelas are shown.

Oaxaca has many different street foods, but memelas are one of the most common ones that you’ll see being sold by street vendors as you explore the historical streets of Oaxaca. A memela is a thicker than usual tortilla. It’s made out of corn masa and it can have any filling/topping possible, but the most traditional memela just has fresh Oaxacan cheese.

As Doña Vale prepares all the masa that will be used for the day, she tells us about how she would help her mother cook for all her siblings and how she used to play with the soft masa while making memelas. You can really tell that she looks back at those memories and treasures them. It also seems like it’s the root of her passion for cooking since she recalls how much fun she used to have making memelas with her mother.

The next food that made my mouth water were the empanadas de amarillo (empanadas with yellow mole) Sandra, the owner of Empanadas del Carmen, is famous for these special empanadas, and she tells the story of how her great grandmother, Carmen, founded the business in the 1960s.

Sandra has been in charge of the restaurant for 20 years and has made sure to continue its good reputation. As she is serving customers, she describes how she used to help her grandmother make the yellow mole, which is the most important part of her empanadas. It’s made out of a yellow costeño chile that gives the sauce such a recognizable color. Sandra still uses the recipe that her great grandmother used so that the tradition of making empanadas filled with chicken and yellow mole is kept.

This episode introduces more people with amazing stories and of course, their delicious traditional Oaxacan dishes are shown–like piedrazos and tlayudas. It is an episode that will definitely make your mouth water and you may find yourself trying to book a flight to Oaxaca just so you can try Doña Vale’s cheesy memelas!

I highly recommend Street Food: Latin America (Netflix) to everyone, because you get to see the variety of street foods that are offered in each country and you meet cooks that have built their business from the ground up. Each episode is simply amazing and it really makes you want to book some flights just to taste all the different foods. The next time you’re thinking about traveling to a new place and you’re not sure where to try, “Street Food: Latin America” just might inspire your next trip!