25 May 2008

Munching on Mojarra

My wife Gina and I went to visit a friend today in the neighboring town of Salamanca. We were not sure if he would be home from church yet or not so first we took a little detour to a nearby town called Valle de Santiago in order to “almorzar” as we say in Spanish or as we might say in English, “to have brunch”. We have a favorite spot in “Valle” (VAH-yeh), as the town is called locally, and we have enjoyed eating Sunday brunch there on many occasions. In fact we don’t seem to be able to pass within five miles of Valle on a Sunday morning without stopping to eat. The object of our devotion is a little street stand that is run by a family from a rancho called “La Angostura” which hugs the shore of a nearby lake called Laguna de Yuriria (la-GOO-nah deh yur-REE-ree-uh) on the opposite shore of the lake from the town of Yuriria itself. The head of the family, Señor Soto is a fisherman and his daughter Maria Magdalena Soto Nava runs a fried fish stand in Valle on the corner of Ignacio Zaragoza and Ignacio Allende Streets. She has help from her cousin Angela Rivera Nava. Together they cook up the fish that Señor Soto catches. They fry the fish in hot oil in a big basin that sits on top of a propane burner under a canvas tarp. You can have a choice of whole mojarra (moe-HAR-ah), mojarra fillets, or charales (char- AH-les) which are small fish that look like minnows. I wrote about charales back in January of this year. You can read about it by clicking here.

A lot of people seem to like eating whole mojarra that are scored on the sides with a knife and then deep fried to a golden brown. I would much rather eat mojarra fillets so that I don’t have to mess with the bones. I also like to eat charales sprinkled liberally with hot sauce. The young ladies serve the fish with tortillas, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, and “limones” (limes). With these ingredients you can easily build your own fish taco. The only problem that I have with eating these fish is knowing when to stop. They taste so good that I keep going back for more. The best thing is that a plate of fish with all the trimmings will only cost you 12 pesos which is about a dollar and fifteen cents U.S. at the current exchange rate. For me there is something special about sitting on a low stool eating fish just the way you like it and watching the world go by. I have many other favorite places and am developing new ones all the time. One by one I will take you there. Like they say, life just doesn’t get any better than this. Viva Mexico!

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.