Everyone knows by now that Mexico has some of the best cuisine in the world – a fact that includes tacos. But if you want to try something unique, authentic, true to Mexican culture, and delicious, I encourage you to give tacos con mole a chance. You won’t be disappointed.
On Monday night in the small Island of Cozumel, I met a new friend who introduced me to a restaurant named Guisados. It’s a place I wouldn’t have found on my own to be honest. After all, I booked a five-day stay at a resort and it’s not easy to find little hidden gems when you’re surrounded by tourists who know just as little as you do. But thankfully, I met a local person from Bumble (cheers to technology!) that guided the way forward.
The more we walked and got to know each other in English, Spanish, and French, the further away we got from the tourist sites. I found myself seeing less and less people on vacation and more of the island community. It made me excited since, as a half-Mexican who has tried his fair share of tacos, I knew I wasn’t going to a mainstream place. I was among the people I needed to be with at that moment. It’s where I found Guisados.
Granted, since Cozumel is so tiny, it wasn’t that far off from the more popular, frequented tourist areas. Every now and then, you’d see people on vacation check out the restaurant. But you could tell the people of Guisados’ catered more to a Spanish-speaking population.
A good sign to know if you found a local spot in a touristy location is in the approach. People who work in resorts, for example, are ready to speak to you in English and just English because it’s the main clientele. From the moment we reached Guisados, however, the employees lead with Spanish – only asking briefly “Ingles o Espanol?” to make sure we were cool.
Following my friend’s lead, I got a mole taco with rice and some vegetables wrapped in a blue tortilla. The service was quick and efficient. But most notably of all, it was cheap – less than $200 pesos for about four tacos and two drinks.
The mole had a chocolate-like taste, and combined with the flavors from the rice, chilly, and vegetables made for a phenomenal combination. I almost felt like I was having dinner and dessert in one meal. Another element to the flavors was the tortilla since it’s made from blue corn (maíz azul). It was softer than regular tortillas. But more than that, the blue tortillas had a way of bringing all the other flavors together – the mole wouldn’t have been the same without it there.
When I told my friend about my review, she smiled and told me she knew a place that was even better. I realized at that moment how lucky I was to have met someone on the island. I also realized it is great to have new experiences with new people. With how the pandemic limited human connection the last two years, I began to reintroduce myself to that beautiful feeling. And now that I think of it, my night at Guisados was a bigger success than expected.
So, next time you’re in a new part of the world, pull out your phone and get on a dating app (if you’re single). Write to Facebook groups. Follow travel writers with great resources. Maybe, you’ll see what I learned: tacos con mole are some of the best kinds you’ll try in Mexico.