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Tijuana Cuisine in Constant Transformation 2/6/2018

There is a continuous struggle between the image that one has of Tijuana and its reality, and when one thinks of this city there are many things that can come to mind. However, one of the things that cannot be denied is that Tijuana has been living a culinary renaissance, an explosion of imagination, creativity and originality that transcends beyond what’s local.

The article by the New York Times “Through a Tijuana Turnstile and Into Tacos and Tortas” is another proof of a city’s ability to reinvent itself and take its culture beyond the problems and the conflicts that may exist within it. Because that’s the story of Tijuana: a constant reinvention, a transformation that has launched and will not stop, in the culinary arts.

The most impressive thing about this movement is the lack of a central axis. Beyond a verdict or a rule by an authority, the citizens themselves, the artists, the cooks and foreigners were the ones who decided with their skills and abilities to give people, national and international, something to talk about. There are no rules or “tradition” as such, there are no ways from or ways towards, and the food cannot be categorized as anything else other than Tijuanense 100%.

The food ends up being a mix of several aspects: some variety of Mexican, such as tacos and tortas, some mixture of the geographical space where it is located, such as octopus and shrimp, and some concoctions by the creativity of chefs and local people. Everything goes in Tijuanense cuisine and everything at reasonable prices, in pleasant environments and with that Tijuana particularity that beats around the entire city.

Taquerías share the space with food trucks, special menus of octopus, chili, sauce and onion tostadas share the same taste as carne asada tacos, and establishments and restaurants serve the same clients as the stands and culinary alleys. Valle de Guadalupe is close by, the ocean and seafood are a constant presence, and the frenetic movement of the city creates a craving of something unique and special, something that cannot be found anywhere else.

It is the triumph and the permanent struggle that makes entrepreneurs, cooks, restaurant owners and the very same people who eat and enjoy of local new/old cuisine make possible the constant transformation and the constant taste and makes Tijuana cuisine gradually take its place in the world of food and taste.  

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