What: For a Oaxacan tlayuda, giant, slightly crispy tortillas are spread with asiento, or pork lard, and refried beans, and then often topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, quesillo, and salsa—as well as optional meats like chorizo, tasajo (thin sliced beef), and cecina (thin sliced pork)—to resemble a Mexican pizza of sorts. The tlayuda (also spelled clayuda) is near synonymous with Oaxacan street food—it is the city’s preferred snack for after-hours munchies.
Ed. note: Besides the write-up of the spot below, we have a more updated (2019) blog post about five of the best tlayudas in Oaxaca. Don't miss it when planning your Oaxaca trip, because you can't visit this city without tasting at least one of these!
Where: At nights-only Cenaduría Libres Tlayudas “Doña Martha” (Libres 212, map), the tlayudas are cooked on the sidewalk over a charcoal fire, making them extra charred and, once the tortillas are folded before being served, extra messy to eat. Tasajo, chorizo, and cecina are common accompaniments to the tlayudas; you’re also offered a choice of three salsas. This place is extremely busy late at night; between the small no-frills dining room (note the chipped plate!) and sidewalk hoverers, expect to wait at least a half-hour for your food.
When: Daily, 9pm-5am
Order: Una tlayuda (25p plain; 40p with meat), pictured with tasajo and chorizo. (Vegetarians should order it “sin asiento” to hold the pig fat, but otherwise you want it: It adds some needed rich, salty flavor.) Popular among locals is a starter of patas de cuche (pickled pig’s feet); tostadas are also on the menu. We have to admit: We were a bit disappointed here this time around (we last visited a few years ago and loved it), finding the tlayuda and meat too burnt. Likely it was an off night. Because this place is such a local institution, it remains worth a visit.
Alternatively: Next time we’ll try one of these five tlayudas—I Love Tlayudas (Rayón 619C, Zona Feb 10 2015, Centro, map) is a current favorite in the city—or visit one of the many market comedores that offer it, like Fonda Florecita at Mercado de la Merced (Insurgentes betw. Murguía and Morelos, map) or the carne-filled side room of Mercado 20 de Noviembre (20 de Noviembre at Rayón, map). For a fancier (and pricier) take, try gorgeous Los Danzantes (Alcalá 403-4, map), where tlayudas are sometimes offered with shrimp and chipotle.
Good to know: When you hear the singsong call of “tlayuda, tlayuda” on the streets and in markets, the vendor is likely selling just the oversize tortillas, not prepared tlayudas.