Chiles en nogada: victim of inflation. Classic dish is victim of inflation.

Inflation hits one of Mexico’s iconic dishes

Price of chiles en nogada has nearly doubled since 2012

Inflation has driven a lot of prices higher this year but by using an iconic Mexican dish as a gauge it is evident that there has been upward pressure since 2012.


Connoisseurs of chiles en nogada are paying almost double to enjoy the delicacy this year compared to 2012 because all of its essential ingredients have been hit by higher prices.

The price in cheaper eateries for the patriotic specialty, whose colors match those of the Mexican flag, has risen by 87.5% in the period corresponding with Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidency. That means the dish is usually selling for at least 150 pesos (US $8.40) whereas in 2012 the cheapest price was around 80.

White tablecloth restaurants have increased prices to as much as 400 pesos (US $22) although in Hostería del Santo Domingo — Mexico’s City’s oldest restaurant and considered the cathedral of chiles en nogada — the signature dish is selling for a more reasonable 230 pesos.

The dish is most commonly eaten during the month of September when independence celebrations coincide with the greatest availability of some of its ingredients.

Today, a kilogram of green poblano chiles costs 29 pesos, up 55% on their 2012 price of just over 18 pesos.

Other essential ingredients have also increased.


Beef is up by just over 50% to 128 pesos per kilogram, cream has risen by a similar percentage while pomegranate —which gives the dish its distinctive red-speckled appearance — has spiked by an exorbitant 242% from 18 pesos per kilogram to 63.

The price of the dish’s most expensive ingredient, walnuts — used in its white sauce, has also risen sharply from 306 pesos per kilo in 2012 to around 800 today, a 161% increase, although its price is expected to fall.

Despite the price hike, the vice-president of the restaurant industry association Canirac, Guadalupe Lozano, told the newspaper Milenio that 2.3 million orders of chiles en nogada were still expected to be sold in the state of Puebla alone this year.

Traditionally served at room temperature, dish originated in Puebla but has been adopted by and become popular in many other states.

Nuns reputedly served the dish to Agustín de Iturbide when he passed through the city of Puebla with the Army of the Three Guarantees in 1821 — the year Mexico won its independence from Spain — adding to its patriotic flavor and the esteem in which it is held. Most of the ingredients are still grown in the state.

Lozano explained that San Nicolás de los Ranchos, a mountain town in the shadow of the volcano Popocatépetl that holds an annual chiles en nogada fair, was a primary source for ingredients while the poblano pepper mainly comes from nearby San Martín Texmelucan and pomegranate is harvested in Tehuacán.

For those thinking about making the classic dish at home, Lozano said the cost to make six chiles en nogada was between 1,200 and 1,500 pesos.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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  • Helena Boxer

    It’s a shame that prices have increased that much. I go to Mexico every year to celebrate Independence day and chiles en nogada is a favorite of mine.

    • Steve Galat

      Stop carping! It’s still cheap….and you DON’T have to eat it EVERY DAY! In Manhattan (Rosa Mexicana, Zarela, Sandoval) it’s $ 25 – 35. Provecho!

      • Helena Boxer

        It may me cheap for me but it’s not cheap for the Mexican people. Everything in Manhattan is expensive. Been there, done that for years and won’t do again.

        • Steve Galat

          ‘Chiles en Nogada’ is not a food staple of Mexican families. It’s a Special Holiday Festive Dish, now containing increasingly expensive ingredients. Many Americans go through life only rarely enjoying white truffles, real saffron or beluga; there are always cheaper alternatives. I agree with your observation about Manhattan (and South Florida). Greetings from Puerto Aventuras, Q.R.!

          • Helena Boxer

            I know it’s not a food staple and that it’s a special holiday dish, mainly for el dia de la independencia because pomogranites are mainly available during that time but I know that many Mexicans do enjoy it once a year. My Mexican friends in el centro de Cancun that I stay with always ask that I bring shelled walnuts and raisins, and have taught me to make chilies in nogada as well as many other Mexican dishes. Have you ever eaten tinga, tlacoyos, mole poblano, or tried chapulines, jicama or nopales?

            I’ve been going to Cancun since 1988, and have also been to many other cities in Mexico prior to the cartels causing a mess there.

            Mis amigos mexicanos me dicen aunque soy americana, en mi corazon, soy mexicana. I can’t wait to hear the Grito de Dolores again. Viva Mexico!!!

          • Steve Galat

            In México City’s “Fonda del Refugio” and “Fonda Don Chon” I’ve savored escamoles, chapulines etc but never even heard of Tinga or Tlacoyos! Was in Cancún last month at The Plaza Caribe (with its pheasants!) across from the ADO Bus Terminal and ate at La Parilla of course. Had a great splurge meal at Calambache and bought botanical teas at Mercado 23. In 1985-87 my wife and I took trains, Pullman sleepers from Nuevo Laredo to San Miguel de Allende….Puebla-Tehuacán-Oaxaca (where we married)….Mexico City-Veracruz-Palenque at 3 AM….Palenque-Mérida….Mérida-Valladolid, and that’s where the rails ended!