Puerto Vallarta prides itself as being “the friendliest city in the world,” and hospitality runs through many locals’ veins. But the city of about half a million residents existed long before The Night of the Iguana started attracting visitors. Unlike many other vapid coastal tourist destinations, Vallarta has a strong regional culinary identity. The food style is a product of the stunning landscape, located between the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains on one side and the Banderas Bay in the Pacific Ocean on the other, and the cuisine is historically anchored by tropical ingredients, mariscos culture, and sazón that evokes the bold flavors of Jalisco.
A day of dining for a typical Pata Salada (that’s Mexican coastal surf speak for a native of Puerto Vallarta) usually involves going out to eat tostadas piled high with ceviche molido during the hottest hours of the day and then quenching the ensuing thirst with a fermented drink like tuba or tejuino in the afternoon. At night, the options are endless. Do you want to try Vallarta’s very own regional style of taco, the mighty arriero? Or do you want to keep it old-school with some excellent tacos de al pastor? Or maybe a nightcap of raicilla on the beach? Vallarta has a way of making you feel like you can never spend enough time there — but you can try.
Paola Briseño-González is a cooking writer and recipe developer from Puerto Vallarta based in Los Angeles, California.Read More