By Nicholas Gilman Original Print Publication: February, 2008
Although I know shouldn’t complain, winter in Mexico City can be cold, and nothing takes the chill off better than a hearty bowl of pozole (pronounced “poh-SOH– lay).
The word comes from the Nahuatl potzonti, meaning to boil or bubble, and versions of this festive dish are served all over Mexico. A thick soup made with cacahuazintle (hominy) was mentioned in the chronicles of Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, an early Spanish missionary: he reported Moctezuma eating pozole that contained thigh meat from a sacrificed warrior. Today’s version is usually made with pork— a whole pig’s head gives the best flavor— and garnished with shredded lettuce, radishes, onion and oregano.
One of my favorite places in the Centro to eat pozole is at Doña Yoli.
Doña Yoli, San Ildefonso 42 (go up the staircase in back), Centro Histórico, Metro: Zócalo. Open Monday-Saturday, 2- 6 PM.
Formerly a sidewalk stall (until the recent cleanup of street vendors), it is popular with European tourists. The rich, dark, chili-infused broth contains pork, maize, all the trimmings described above, and crisp tostadas served on the side, all for 35 pesos. It’s a convenient stop before or after a visit to the spectacular Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso museum across the street (entrance on Justo Sierra).
Nicholas Gilman is the author of Good Food in Mexico City: A Guide to Street Food, Fondas, and Fine Dining, available from Amazon.com. His website is www.mexicocityfood.net.