All hail the “little fatty.”
By Duncan Tucker
There might not be another breakfast in the world quite as good as Mexico’s. From staples like chilaquiles, molletes or huevos rancheros to regional specialties like machaca, tortas ahogadas or birria, few countries have mastered the art of breakfast so well.
In many parts of the country there is one undisputed breakfast king: the gordita. The gordita, meaning “little fatty,” is a popular snack across Mexico, typically consisting of fried masa dough stuffed with any combination of meat, cheese, eggs, beans, or veg.
While prolific in the northern states of Mexico, Gorditas around Puerto Vallarta are a bit trickier to find, but worth the effort! In Plaza Caracol, Las Gorditas Nortenas across from Soriana that has excellent fillings and salsas; our favourite is rajas con crema (chilies in cream). At the Soriana in Pitillal, Dona Tota serves up equally fresh and filling gorditas. Closer to downtown, visit Gorditas Rellenas Lolita at 432 San Salvador in 5 de Diciembre neighbourhood.
Traditionally a food from the northern region of Mexico, I visited Gordy Mania, a small, family-run establishment on a busy Torreón street, early one Friday morning. Gordy Mania is a humble place with cracked floor tiles and white and green paint flaking from the walls. Those are the colors of Santos Laguna, the local soccer team whose photos and memorabilia are plastered on almost every surface.
The owner Luis González founded Gordy Mania 24 years ago and now employs a staff of six, including three family members. Despite being busy making breakfast for his loyal clientele, he took a few minutes to explain to me what makes a good gordita joint.
“The most popular fillings are chicharrón prensado and carne con chile,” González said. Chicharrón prensado is made using pork skin or cheek cooked in salsa verde with green jalapeños, while carne con chile is made with braised pork, with a different salsa verde.
Mexicans take their salsas very seriously, he added: “We have five different salsas that we put out on every table, all different from the sauces that the meats are cooked in. We have jalapeño, tomatillo and red chile salsas, and two different salsas made with chile de árbol.”
Gordy Mania has an extensive menu, including gorditas with beans and cheese, eggs and nopal (cactus), chorizo with cheese or potatoes, and an array of different meat stews, priced at 11 to 12 pesos, well under a dollar each.
Following González’s advice, I try a couple of gorditas filled with chicharrón and carne con chile. The chicharrón is soft on the tongue, complementing the slightly crunchy tortilla casing, while the salsas are every bit as fiery as you would expect. I wash them down with a mug of coffee and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice before thanking González and moving on my way.
It’s not hard to see why the gorditas are so revered: they’re a quick, delicious and filling breakfast that’s kind on the wallet if not the waist.