By Mariana Gonzalez-Marquez
Guadalajara, Mexico, Sep 10 (EFE).- Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara, on Saturday celebrated for the first time, the day of the “torta ahogada” or “(a salsa) drowned sandwich”, one of its signature dishes.
At the event, promoted by the city council, 32 businesses and restaurants that make this dish gathered in downtown Guadalajara to give away 15,000 sandwiches and celebrate this day full of flavors, smells and festivity amidst mariachi music.
“Torta ahogada” is representative of the city’s identity, food and customs. The locals usually eat it regularly as it is quick to prepare and easy to eat and has a distinctive flavor.
Raúl González is one of the heirs of “Tortas de la bicicleta”, one of the businesses that began this tradition in the popular neighborhood of Mexicaltzingo.
He told EFE that this dish was born out of his father Don José’s desire to make a snack or sandwich that he could sell through the streets on his bicycle.
“It’s a tradition because it’s a fast food that people crave,” says González, who has kept the 62-year-old business running together with his brothers.
This dish has been popular among the inhabitants of Guadalajara since the middle of the 20th century and has also spread to some nearby municipalities.
Although people in some states of the country have tried to replicate the dish, the secret of a good “torta ahogada” that lies in the bread, the sauce and the love with which it is made remains in Guadalajara.
“The secret is the dedication, the love, the seasonings, the richness of the sauce, a fine onion, a salted birote, a rich meat and making it with love. It gives the best result,” says Leticia Flores Dueñas, who owns the business “Tortas Héctor.”
Street stalls and restaurants where this dish is prepared abound in the city.
The dish is eaten at all times of the day, at breakfast, lunch, as a snack or in its most gourmet varieties, accompanied by a cold beer, agua de jamaica, horchata or a bottled drink.
“Within the culture of street food, there has to be ‘torta ahogada’ in the corners, streets and neighborhood. It is what gives us our identity. The dish is very regional because of the birote (bread), the consistency of the dough and the crunch is what makes it special,” Oscar Segura, of “Ahogadas Beto’s”, told EFE. EFE