From the Sonoran hot dog to morisquesta, carnitas, and cajeta, Central Arizona is a melting pot of Mexican flavors. With influences from the Bajío region, Michoacán, Puebla, and New Mexico, the region offers a variety of dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. From traditional Mexican cuisine to dishes with an Afro-Cuban twist, Central Arizona has something for everyone. Let's explore some of the popular dishes from specific regions of Mexico that can be found in Central Arizona. The Sonoran hot dog is an Arizona specialty served with pinto beans, guacamole, jalapeños and salsa, and seasoned with other Southwestern flavors.
Scrapado, eggs rancheros, and tamales are also popular local dishes. The Bajío region is known for its rice, pork, and spices. One of the most renowned dishes in the state is morisquesta, a dish of sausages and rice. Carnitas or fried pork is also a favorite in many parts of Mexico.
The region is famous for its sweet desserts such as cajeta (goat's milk caramel), chongos (curd in syrup), rice pudding (arroz con leche) and bunuelos (fritters). The town of Cotija has a cheese that bears his name. The basic chili, bean and corn dishes of Mexican cuisine have evolved over time and are often served with extremely hot peppers and condiments. Popular foods in this region include barbecue (from the central highlands), birria (from western Mexico), cabrito (from the north), carnitas (from Michoacán) and mole (from Puebla and central Mexico). New Mexican restaurants are successful in the state; for example, the Las Vegas Valley area offers Carlito's Burritos with green chilies from New Mexico in early fall. Valley barbecue lovers flock to Little Miss BBQ an hour before it opens its doors to stand in line to enjoy Scott Holmes' Central Texas-style smoked meats.
Santa María style barbecue is a traditional regional cuisine rooted in the Santa Maria Valley, in Santa Barbara County, on California's central coast. In Arizona, flour tortillas are a prized staple food as they are in neighboring northern Mexican states. New Mexican cuisine is most popular in the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Northern Arizona, Southern Nevada, and Utah. The gastronomic traditions of each region have distinctive characteristics due to differences in local crops and native spices in the area. Doug Robson may have Scottish descent but he grew up in Mexico and makes what is arguably the best guacamole in town.
In exchange for all the delicious foods and flavors they have adopted, what this region gave to the Europeans who settled here was vanilla which is grown locally. The Afro-Cuban influence also includes peanuts and can be tasted in dishes such as peanut chicken or chicken with peanut sauce. Corn is the region's staple food and soft tortillas are also used to make empanadas, tamales, and more. The area also has at least forty different types of flour tortillas allowing for the creation of burritos in Sonora which eventually gained popularity in the southwestern United States.