Walking in the centre of Colima, it won’t be long before you spot a group of men carrying containers full of liquid, and shouting “Tuba, Tuba con cacahuates!” (Tuba, Tuba with peanuts). No, they're not selling musical instruments.
The word “tuba” was stolen from Tagalo, the native language of the Philippines (remember, both Mexico and the Phillipines were Spanish colonies and maintained an important trade relationship). “Tuba” in this context refers to a refreshing beverage extracted from palm trees – Colima has plenty of them – then fermented and, following an elaborate process, sold in the streets. Usually, sellers add dried peanuts directly into your glass. You can’t say you’ve been to Colima if you haven't tried it!
Common to Colima and its neighbouring state, Jalisco, the Tejuino is a definitively West-Mexican beverage. Corn-based and sweetened with piloncillo (raw sugar) alongside cinnamon, lime juice, salt and crushed ice, this refreshing beverage will sweeten up Colima's occasionally inclement summer days.
According to Mexican tradition, the big meal of the day is at lunch time –around 2 p.m. – so get ready and open your mind enough to taste some local food; burgers or hot-dogs would just be heretical here. “Tatemado” is a dish of pork meat topped with mole sauce – the legendary Mexican sauce; don't leave without trying it. If you ask for cuachala, you’ll get the local variation of chicken broth.
Tamales de ceniza (ash tamales) are corn leaf wraps filled with tasty corn dough and beans. If you've tried corundas in Michoacan – the southern neighbour state – you 'll have a better idea of what to expect from this typical dish. Perhaps nothing is more representative of Colima than sopitos: a thick corn tortilla topped with bean sauce, red chilli – warning: this is hot! – and cheese. You'll find them just about everywhere in town. For a complete Colima experience, head for Comala – only 10 minutes away from the centre of the city – and eat them while taking in the beautiful landscape. Have a relaxed coffee in the park while you read one of the greatest classics of Mexican literature, Pedro Paramo, that describes an early 20th-century Comala.
tamales de ceniza