Afro-Mexican cuisine marries old world spices with indigenous ingredients

“Black people have been obliterated in ways that are truly unimaginable here in the United States,” says food journalist Bill Esparza. Unrecognized by the Mexican constitution until 2020, Esparza calls Afro-Mexican cuisine the most underrated in the country. The largest concentration of Afroexicanos is found in Costa Chica between Oaxaca and Guerrero.

Using old-world spices with indigenous ingredients to make the moles the region is known for, Afro-Mexicano cuisine is abundant in seafood. banana leaves and cooked over an open fire. Esparza says it’s unlike any other barbacoa because a whole animal is used in the stock. Worthy of any publication in a culinary magazine, Ezparza’s blanket is available on Eater.

Doña Concha serves tortillas, rice, cheese and checks to local workers. Photo by Arturo Santos for Eater.


While reporting for his article for Eater, Bill Esparza came across a local birthday party with barbacoa in the community of Collantes. Photo by Arturo Santos for Eater.


Chanoco holds his traditional Afromexican diablo mask. Photo by Arturo Santos for Eater.


Barbacoa de res with spaghetti and salsa verde feeds an entire city. Photo by Arturo Santos for Eater.

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