What: Tasajo is thinly sliced grilled beef; specifically, flank steak that's pounded super thin and then cured in salt before being grilled up. In Oaxaca, it’s an especially popular accompaniment to tlayudas and chilaquiles—the latter, as shown above, are strips or pieces of corn tortillas fried and topped with (tomatillo-based) green or (tomato-based) red salsa, cheese, cream, and sliced raw onion. The combination of spicy, creamy tomato with crispy tortilla, tangy cheese, and juicy beef is downright delicious. This is a dish you cannot miss in Oaxaca.
Where: We had our chilaquiles con tasajo at Casa de la Abuela (951-516-3544; Hidalgo 616, map) in the zócalo’s northwest corner—a somewhat touristy place with solid regional food and breezy zócalo views. Try for a window seat.
When: Daily, 1pm-10pm
Alternatively: A great place to sample some of Oaxaca’s favorite grilled meats, including tasajo, is in the narrow side room of Mercado 20 de Noviembre (20 de Noviembre at Rayón, map)—you’ll know it by the smoky air. There, a line of vendors sells cecina (pork or beef), tasajo, and chorizo to accompany plates of tortillas, tlayudas, and grilled vegetables, like spring onions. For more chilaquiles con tasajo (at cheaper prices), look no further than Oaxaca’s market fondas—particularly Comedor Candita in Mercado 20 de Noviembre and Fonda Florecita in Mercado de la Merced (Insurgentes betw. Murguía and Morelos, map).