Less well known than other Mexican destinations – even though his career became defined by seeking out those lesser-visited “parts unknown” –, the reason that brought Anthony Bourdain to Puebla might surprise you. Yes, it’s about food – but it’s more about the people who make it and the unique ways their homes inform that.
Anthony Bourdain visited Puebla, Mexico, to film season 1 (episode 7) of A Cook’s Tour; it was his only visit to the city, and part of a larger trip he took early in his career that also included time in Oaxaca. He called this episode “Where the Cooks are from,” as in this episode, Bourdain is joined by Eddie Perez, his sous-chef back in New York, who happens to be a native of Puebla. He’s there to trace the origins of Perez’s talent and taste – and finds it.
Whether you’re from Peubla or planning a visit, you might want to eat at some of the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Puebla – and this guide can help… a little. Unfortunately, we don’t know the names of two of the three places Bourdain ate here, but I included the foods he tried anyway, because those can more easily be found even if not at the same places Tony ate. Ready to dive in?
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Mexihcah, Ngi-iva (Popoloca), Nahua ( Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosi, Oaxaca), and Cholulteca peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Hotel de San Francisco
They hook up with Eddie’s buddy, Martín, who’s keen on showing both some unusual Mexican delicacies: maguey worms and ant eggs.
Since the meal takes place at a big, fancy hotel, the Hotel de San Francisco, Tony starts the feast with a big, fancy margarita.
Then, the dishes arrive. The ant eggs are prepared with sauté onions in butter, some jalapeños, and some fresh bay leaf. The maguey worms are first fried and then eaten like a taco, wrapped in a tortilla with salsas, guacamole, and some squeezed lime.
While the dishes were actually quite good, Tony admits that he wouldn’t revisit the experience.
Tony continues his food tour well into the evening and is taken by Martín to a pulquería, a dive bar where one can sample the local brew: pulque.
Pulque is the sap from the maguey cactus fermented in a bathtub some place till it gets alcoholic. The beverage dates back to the Aztecs and today is a classic low-rate daytime drink for more humble Mexicans. The pulque tastes good but goes down hard as the consistency is kind of gooey.
Unnamed Puebla Market
Anthony goes with his fried Eddie to the local market to get the ingredients for the big dinner Eddie is hosting back on his ranch.
While they wander around scouting the ingredients, Tony makes a stop for breakfast. He indulges in a zucchini blossom quesadilla, a ball of raw tortilla dough pressed flat, then filled with zucchini blossoms and sprinkled with fresh cheese and pork fat for more flavor.
Puebla Food Tours to Try
As Anthony Bourdain didn’t visit many places – and we don’t know the names of most of them –, you might want to consider adding a food tour to your trip plans to sample more of the flavors Puebla has to offer. Here are some good ones that caught my eye:
Have any questions about these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Puebla – or can you help clarify the ones he doesn’t name? Let me know in the comments below!