Tlayudas in Oaxaca are what street tacos are to Mexico City, or pizza is to New York City. They’re the quintessential meal/snack/post-bar grub/hangover food/etc..
Every restaurant has their own version, plus plenty of street food stands. At worst I’ve had a couple tlayudas that were “good.” But at best, they are ricisimo (delicious) ! So how do you find the best of the best tlayudas in Oaxaca?
We’ll be learning from local food experts, participating in traditional methods of planting/preparing/cooking, touring my favorite mezcal palenque, observing local culture, eating some of the best food in the city and much more. More details here!
What is a Tlayuda?
Let’s start with the basics, what is a tlayuda?It’s often compared to pizza, but that only explains the appearance, not the taste!It’s a large (sometimes enormous) tortilla, slathered in a lard and creamy bean mixture, topped with heaps of Oaxacan string cheese, and usually topped with cabbage, lettuce, avocado, and tomato. The whole thing is then grilled to perfection on a comal (a flat griddle) or an open flame. It can either come open face (like a pizza) or folded like a quesadilla.You can either order it sencillo (simple – no meat) or with your choice of: tasajo (very thin beef), cecina (thin and spicy pork), or chorizo (spicy pork sausage).
The 3 Best Places to Eat Tlayudas in Oaxaca
Ok now on to the important question, where can you find the most delicious tlayudas in Oaxaca?
1. Tlayudas Doña Flavia
This is my favorite tlayuda in the whole city. If you’re staying in the centro, it will take a bit of work to get there, but it’s worth it.Dona Flavia’s is located on the main east-west highway that is north of the centro. You can take a taxi here or a colectivo (a maroon colored shared taxi) heading to any of the towns east of the city (Mitla, El Tule, Tlacolula, etc).You could also make this the last stop on a day trip out east if you plan to visit any of the amazing sites out that way – like Hierve el Agua, Mitla, Yagul, Tlacolula, El Tule, etc.. Just be sure to end up here at dinner time – they open at 5 or 6pm but really get going around 8 or 9pm.You can’t go wrong with any of the varieties of meat with your tlayuda here. They also have the option to order costilla (rib meat) instead of the regular choices.This is pretty much a locals-only spot, so you know it’s good! I think their grill expertise is what makes these tlayudas in Oaxaca so great.
2. Comedor Marie Alejandra’s – Mercado 20 de Noviembre
A tlayuda with chorizo
Another tlayuda from Marie Alejandra’s – this one with tasajo.
This is a much easier restaurant to visit if you’re staying in the centro – it’s a comedor located in the Mercado 20 de Noviembre – a mercado on the must-visit list.The tlayudas here are super delicious – I think it’s because of the extra tasty asiento (pork lard) they use.They also serve their tlayudas open face, which makes for a more crispy texture (while folded tlayudas are a bit more juicey).
3. Tlayudas Libres
This restaurant is famous for their tlayudas in Oaxaca. They open in the evening (around 5pm) and stays open until 4am. So you can come here for dinner, or a super late night/post-mezcal snack.They grill the tlayudas on an open flame out front and their versions come folded. You can sit inside next to a quirky mural of Frida and people watch – this is a local favorite.
4. Luz de Luna, Huayapam
This is only listed as a bonus because most tourists won’t make it out to the quiet traditional village of Huayapam. I’ve lived in this tranquil town for several months because of housesits, but it’s not on the traditional tourist path.If you’re serious about learning and trying the traditional beverage Tejate, you should make a point to stop here (where to drink Tejate post coming asap!). While you try the tejate in Huayapam, also stop at this great restaurant!
Tejate stand in the village of Huayapam, Oaxaca
Luz de Luna is amazing though – it has a lovely ambiance with hip decor (which is a rarity in a quiet Mexican village). If that wasn’t enough, all the food is amazing. Everything I’ve had there has been exceptional. Their tlayudas are consistently great. Sometimes they serve them open face, and sometimes folded – which I think is funny and maybe just reflects their mood that day. 🙂The cook is making the tortillas fresh in front of you, and the ingredients are high quality, including the purple cabbage and avocado.Have you tried tlayudas before? Do you have any favorite spots for tlayudas in Oaxaca?