Friday, February 23, 2024

Hamburger version of chiles en nogada criticized for damaging dish’s reputation

All one has to do is watch a few episodes of Netflix’s “La Divina Gula (Heavenly Bites, in English), to understand that Mexicans love to reinvent and reorder their cuisine, even the most sacred of national dishes. Concha sweetbread fused with corn muffins, chilaquiles served in a bollilo (Mexican sandwich bread), and Doritos loaded down with every kind of condiment you can imagine represent the innovation of food on the streets of Mexico that the country is famous for.

But the national restaurant association, Canirac, has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to Mexico’s national dish, chiles en nogada. A hamburger version has not been warmly welcomed.

Chiles en nogada is a mild poblano pepper stuffed with a blend of ground meat, fruit and spices and smothered in a walnut sauce with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds on top. Because the ingredients are available during the late summer/early fall and because of its red-white-and-green color scheme, chiles en nogada is often considered Mexico’s most patriotic dish and is served during the Independence Day season in and around September 16.

Representatives of Canirac in Puebla are now lamenting newly invented dishes including a hamburger and a cemita, a kind of sandwich special to Puebla, saying that such quirky interpretations are damaging the reputation of the original.

“[The restaurants] can do what they want, we can’t prohibit anyone from doing anything, but we are calling on them to be clear about the product they are selling called chiles en nogada … This dish is unique, so we must respect its originality,  everything else is just inventions. Canirac doesn’t support these innovations because they only damage the reputation of Poblano cuisine, said Carlos Azomazo, Puebla’s Canirac chief.

Puebla is particularly attached to chiles en nogada as the dish is said to have been created there by Spanish nuns in one of the city’s many convents.

With reports from El Sol de Puebla

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