One of the Lenten traditions that still prevail, although not the only one, is to abstain from eating meat. This is why, in addition to the season’s traditional foods such as chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers) or capirotada (a fresher version of fruitcake), in this region of the Mexican Pacific we indulge in dishes based on fish or seafood.
If you’re wondering what Holy Week tastes like in the Riviera Nayarit, this is the best time to find out. We invite you to taste the following delicacies:
1. Pescado Zarandeado
Of course, in the Riviera Nayarit the pescado zarandeado (grilled fish) is one of the treats enjoyed during Holy Week (and every day of the year)—this is the signature dish of the state of Nayarit. This delicacy is prepared preferably with red snapper or guachinango fish over mesquite firewood. The original recipe called for mangrove firewood, but today that is prohibited. The recipe calls for seasoning the fish with local spices and garnishing with tomato and cucumber slices. The most traditional restaurants serve it on a banana leaf, accompanied by handmade tortillas and a special spicy sauce—a real treat!
2. Oyster sopes
These sopes (small fried tortillas with pinched edges, topped with filling) became famous thanks to chef Betty Vazquez, the Riviera Nayarit’s Gastronomy Ambassador, as they’re a traditional dish from the port of San Blas. Generally prepared in the small restaurants located in the Main Square, they went from a typical street treat, also known as garnacha, to renowned restaurants, such as El Delfin at the Garza Canela or the W Mexico City hotels.
3. Tlaxtihuil or Tixtihuil
Tlaxtihuil or Tixtihuil is a traditional food whose recipe has remained unchanged to this day. Cooks make it with fresh shrimp, corn dough ground in a metate (grinding stone), pasilla chile, water, oregano, and salt; then serve it with freshly made tortillas and lime juice. This dish is served in the northern part of the Riviera Nayarit, mainly on the Island of Mexcaltitán. If you visit that region during these days, don’t hesitate to order it.
4. Shrimp a la Cucaracha
Although the name is not very pleasant, the truth is this dish is delicious. All you need is some good fresh shrimp and a spicy red sauce. The original ones are prepared with the typical Salsa Huichol, originally from Nayarit. They are so crunchy they can be eaten in their shells; they are spicy, but not too spicy. Crunch, crunch!
5. Banana bread
Our alternative to the popular capirotada (a version of is banana bread, which originated in the picturesque port of San Blas. It is a spongy and exquisite dessert with a recipe passed down from generation to generation. Although the bread is considered typical of the port, where you can get the famous “Juan Bananas” recipe, you can now enjoy it in most of the destination’s coastal towns.
6. Dried Shrimp Tortitas
These shrimp tortitas (patties) are among the most popular dishes during Holy Week and Easter and can be sampled in traditional Mexican restaurants. The recipe is prepared with a red broth of guajillo chile, chipotle, tomato, garlic, and onion, to which they add fried dried shrimp tortitas. Tender nopales (paddle cactus) previously cooked in water with salt, onion and garlic, are added to the broth. The result is intense, with all the flavor and fragrance of the sea.
7. Fish Chicharrón
Don’t leave the Riviera Nayarit without trying chicharrón de pescado (“fish crackling”), although initially from Santa María del Oro, in the center of Nayarit, can be found on the coast in almost every seafood restaurant. Chicharrón is almost always prepared with tilapia fish coated with a secret mixture of flour and spices and fried until golden brown and crispy. The fish is eaten in tacos, with freshly made tortillas and a spicy sauce.
We’re pretty sure you worked up an appetite. Which dishes from the list have you tried already?
The Riviera Nayarit is a safe destination. Hotels, restaurants, and tourist establishments follow all the health protocols established by the Federal Government’s Ministry of Health and operate at the allowed capacities. Access to the beaches is limited. Be a responsible tourist: wear your mask and keep your distance.
The Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Bahía de Banderas Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB) work tirelessly to jointly promote the region with the support of the Government of the State of Nayarit through its Tourism Promotion Trust (Fiprotur).
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