Guajes, a hard-to-find Mexican treat
Thanks to a tip from a reader, Taterhead, we’ve embarked on a clandestine love affair. Yes, we’re still on our diet (and shrinking at a rate of 2 pounds per week), but we’ve been sneaky. You see, there are some things that we just can’t resist. And besides, moderation is the key, right?
Taterhead sent us over to the newly opened Sara Market. Sara carries a good variety of traditional Mexican canned goods with a nice smattering of Honduran and Salvadoran goods in the mix as well. But what really makes Sara special is the butcher shop. You see, half of the market is devoted to what I have to say is the best Mexican carniceria that we’ve encountered in Memphis.
The first thing you’ll see when you walk into Sara is the rack of dry cured meats. Loops of dried handmade beef and pork chorizo sausages hang above the butcher counter, just radiating the intoxicating aromas of meat and spices into the air of the whole place. And if the sausages aren’t beautiful enough on their own, there’s also a very nice selection of thin spiced machaca hanging beside them. Fresh (undried) chorizo is available in the case below.
The back of the butcher shop is butcher Antonio’s work area where he prepares not only the sausages and dried meats, but also fries beautiful chicharrones. Tune into FOX13 on Tuesday, February 19th, to watch Antonio work his magic. We were lured into trying to make our own when we saw his line of drying pork skins on our last visit. His tip to us (untested as of yet) is that they have to be fried twice at high temperature with a little bit of baking soda added on the second frying.
The meat and dairy cases also offer selections of Honduran and Salvadoran sausages, cremas and cheeses, as well as a very nice selection of fresh Mexican cheeses. We’ve been enjoying a ball of fresh Oaxaca with eggs and on tostadas as a treat.
Sara also sells Mexican produce that’s not always easy to find elsewhere in the city. There are open boxes of ancho, pasilla, arbol and guajillo chiles available to buy by the pound. There’s also a very nice selection of fresh peppers in the cooler case along with chayote. There are also beautiful nopales, yuca and even guajes.
For those of you like us who are unfamiliar with guajes, they’re a lot like pepitas with a lot less work. Yes, you have to shell them, but at least you don’t have to work with pumpkin guts. Guajes are a traditional ingredient in the Oaxacan mole huaxmole, and they’re also great to eat toasted as a snack or garnish, especially with eggs. The flavor of the seeds in these pods is nutty and slightly garlicky. Give them a try, and you just may have a new snack.
3984 Park Ave
Memphis, TN 38111