Jorge Hank says there are many traditional types of Tijuana food that are a must try when you visit the city. They are known for tacos, tortas and seafood. But tortas are outstanding in Tijuana. Try a torta in a restaurant in Tijuana or try one from a street vendor and you be amazed by its outstanding flavor.
What is a torta?
A torta is a Mexican sandwich served on a soft roll and filled with meat, sauce, and toppings including crema, avocado, salsa, and lettuce. Unlike tacos, tortas are made with wheat, not native Mexican maiz or corn. Really, a torta can be filled with almost anything including Mexican crema.
Mexican crema, also known as crema Mexican, is a naturally sour, thick cream that tastes like a combination of American sour cream and French crème-fraîche. Mexican crema adds a tangy flavor to vegetable dishes, tacos and soups.
Mexican tortas are a Grupo Caliente favorite and made with two different types of bread, either a teleras or a bolillos. Teleras are flat, soft, and round and they usually have two score marks down the center of them. Bolillos are softer rolls made in an oblong shape. Tortas made on bilillo rolls are also known as lonches. Some bilillos are made with sourdough and they are called bilotes.
What are the different types of torta?
Tortas, like tacos, are usually identified by what’s inside them, turkey, pork, etc. Some tortas are associated with a region or city in Mexico. You can find all of them in Tijuana.
- Pambazo are telera rolls that are stuffed with mashed potatoes and chorizo, then dunked in guajillo chile salsa and fried on a griddle.
- Torta Cubana include almost every filling you can think of piled into one big sandwich. Fillings could include hot dogs, ham, scrambled or fried egg, pierna, which is uncured pig leg, head cheese, chorizo, and chicken or beef milanesa. Even though it sounds as though it comes from Cuba, the torta cubana originated in Mexico City.
- Torta de milanesa includes a pounded, breaded and fried cutlet usually made with pork, but it could also be made with beef or chicken. This is an easy sandwich to take on the go, it’s crunchy and not as messy as some of the larger tortas can be.
- Torta ahogada has carnitas and refried beans on a sourdough roll with a crunchy, salted crust, called a birote salado. It is then covered in a spicy chile de árbol, tomato sauce and topped with a raw, crunchy onion.
- Torta de tamal is also known as guajolota. This is a sandwich sold by tamales vendors and is filled with tamal. Sometimes the tamal is fried and crispy before it is put into the bolillo.
Tortas can be topped with a bunch of different toppings or put them on the side. Toppings include cheese, avocado, salsa, crema, beans, lettuce, tomatoes or onions. When you are in Tijuana, you have to try a torta sandwich to get the authentic Mexican flavor and enjoy a mouthful of savory treats.