Tejuino (Mexico)

It may not be well-known outside of that region, but that’s the point; going all-in on new (for me) discoveries to share (with you) is one of the cornerstones of Finding Food Fluency.

Today’s spotlight may taste like a coarse tamarind shake — i.e. something sweet and sour — but there’s none of that legume floating anywhere near this Mexican drink.

Tejuino, a Prehispanic drink attributed to the Nahuas people of northwestern and central Mexico — roughly, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, and Sinaloa — comes from the Nahuatl word tecuín meaning “to beat/palpitate.” It is used for ceremonial purposes by the Yaqui of Sonora and the Tarahumara of Chihuahua as offerings to sacred deities; you may even see it consumed at a typical Mexican fiesta in Jalisco and Nayarit.

Tejuino Culiacán Mexico
Tejuino at a Street Stall, Culiacán, Mexico

I encountered tejuino for the first time in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Having no idea what it was, I further went down the rabbit hole by trying it at a street stall where everything was baking in the sun.

And yes, tejuino is an alcoholic beverage, though has a low alcohol content.

Although some of its ingredients may vary depending on who’s preparing it, tejuino counts as its staples corn masa — you know, the stuff used to make tortillas, piloncillo/panela — that is, unrefined cane sugar, water, and a small amount of lime juice. Boil it all, let it chill out for a bit, then cover it with something breathable. Fermentation will happen, and then you’re done!

What was a bit odd about this street stall was that after trying it as is, the vendor insisted on adding a little Squirt Soda to the tejuino. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of it either way, and in that heat I was that much worse off. Nevertheless, I’d try it again … at a restaurant, when not on a 10-mile trek!

Street Food or Subliminal Messaging? Welcome to Sri Lanka

Kandy is an historical city about 2-2.5 hours east of the commercial hub and largest city of Colombo.  If you still maintain that Colombo is the political capital, oh no, that title now goes to Sri Jayawadenapura Kotte or Beijing, depending on your level of cynicism.  Anyway, Kandy is known as home to the Temple of the Tooth, a sacred Buddhist relic, tea plantations and a pleasant botanical garden, all of which make for a fine weekend trip from Sri Lanka’s largest city.

When I visited years ago, no meals were served on the train between Colombo and Kandy.  No problem, that’s not necessarily standard practice, and there were plenty of options around both train stations.

When returning to Colombo, I was in a bit of a rush, and bought a few grease-laden fried potato snacks, often packaged in local newspapers, but this time, mysteriously wrapped in someone’s health records.

fried potato snack sri lanka
Bad Omens: Street Food Packaging in Kandy, Sri Lanka

It seems your kidneys are fine, Sanjeewa.  Just keep away from the fried potatoes.

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