Pulque and a True Locals Experience
While on my Experience of the Teotihuacan Pyramids, I got talking (shocker I know) to a couple of locals and they told me that if I really wanted to try the true flavor of Mexico City, I needed to drink Pulque. Ok – sounds like EXACTLY my sort of Experience. They recommend going to a Pulqueria saying the Best one is Las Duelistas. So I pulled up GoogleMaps and found that it was not far from where I had taken the Subway back into town, easy to walk to…
Just past China Town, reputed to be the smallest China Town in the World (LOL), on a side street you will see a brightly painted wall and if you look way up on the wall it’s painted “Pulqeria Duelistas”, also look for the black swinging doors which block the view of the inside. Just push on in to the crowded bar, find a roaming waiter and order a glass of the flavored Pulque. There is Guava, Oats, Mint, Celery, Strawberry & Passion Fruit. If you can find an open seat, which is unlikely, sit. If not stand and wait for him to return, pay right then $25 Peso for a small glass. This hopefully just your first taste, it smells a bit like wet socks and quite viscus but goes down easy. If you burp it will remind you that it’s a “fermented” drink. Now you have tried Pulque, BUT stick around and order 2nd Larger Glass of the Natural Flavor, but be sure to ask for the chili/salt/lime on the rim. This is a totally different Experience and to be honest if you try this first, you will most likely be put off – it’s an acquired tasted. The bar certainly part of the Experience and is funky fun. Look up the ceiling is elaborately painted. Then place is bustling with loud conversation, laughter and every so often musicians come in and really get the place jumping (yes you should tip @10p into the extended hat). You will most likely be the only Gringo in there but don’t be put off, it’s a very friendly place & at least one of the waiters will speak English so you are in good hands. Oh, and this is the only thing they serve here – so don’t look for beer, soda or food.
So that’s your upcoming Experience – This is mine: after pushing open the doors and moving forward into the cramped room, Havier came up and asked me something in Spanish, I apologized “Sorry no hablo espanol”, he retuned in English “what flavor”, meaning the type of drink I wanted, pointing to the sign. I immediately recognized Guava, which I know I like, so I said “Guava”, he said “large/small” I said “1st Small” with a smile. He worked his way thru the crowed and returned in just a minute with my drink & saying payment is now, which I expected. I gave him the appropriate amount with a small tip – Muchas Gracias. I stood there in the crowed mostly ignored and I smelled it first – not bad, little “off” like Mineral water or wet socks. Taste – wow, actually quite good. I just stood in the crowed and enjoyed, absorbing the Experience, the music, the heat and commotion. About halfway thru my glass, Guns & Roses was played on the jukebox and everything got louder. Then a guy standing near me said hello & I reciprocated. That started our conversation. He was born & raised Mexican but had lived in Wisconsin for the last 13 years, where he has a wife and two MexiRecan Kids (his wife is Puerto Rican – get it? LOL). Well this was just the beginning and as the night wore on the party continued. I was invited to sit with his friends and we all became “Zombie”. At the table we sat on small metal stools and the Pitchers just kept coming. About seven glasses in, I started a conversation with one of my new friends about language and hospitality (we all agreed to stay away from Politics & Religion). He was pointing out that if he was in the USA that “we” would expect him to speak English and another point he made was that he would not hear “you are welcome in my country”. I countered saying that while that may be true for many of those in America – that was not true for me. As I travel – I NEVER expect anyone to speak my language. That is my issue – not theirs. I will do my best to learn a few phrases and I love me my GoogleTranslate, at least enough to get by. Note – I’ve been in 19 countries on this current Walkabout of mine – there is no way I would know that many languages. He appreciated this and I also told him, that I would absolutely Welcome him to my country and I really wish more tourists would understand this. if we all did, this World would be a MUCH better place. I have heard numerous times on my travels “You are Welcome Here” & “We wish more tourists were like you, we would welcome them”. DON’T BE THAT TOURIST – Expecting everything to be like “back home”, everyone to speak English, just coming to a country staying at an all inclusive resort & say you’ve seen the country, or just going by group tour bus to all the “Highlights”. You will miss what traveling is really about. It should break down barriers and bring us closer together. Not watching if from a bubble or out the window of your bus.
This night with my 12 new Mexican friends, I will cherish forever. This is the real Mexico. This is who Mexicans are, what they do. Yea just like us – we go out with our friends, have fun, socialize and share stories. It’s what being a “Traveler” is All about. And I Really loved this Experience. It could NEVER be Bought, planned or put in a tour book. But it is required as you wander this wide wonderful world of ours.
To finalize – after about eleven glasses of the Kings Drink (yes at one point about 1/3 of the bar was chanting for me to chug my glass down – which I did, three times), I had a buzz, made new wonderful friends and can write/share about my real Mexican Experience here in Mexico City. Welcome to my Country!!!
Be sure to check out my Video Here: https://youtu.be/iaaVckpTpxM
And here is Wikipedia about Pulque: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulque