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Sweet and Fried Tradition

By Jesús Aguado

San Juan de Dios is one of the oldest neighborhoods in town, and annually it sweetens the lives of children, teenagers, and adults with fried taquitos that are sold only during Lent. One of the neighborhood’s most well-known vendors of these taquitos is Mamá Chuy.

At this time of year, Mamá Chuy arrives annually at the street in front of the church and there sets up her stand, which includes a cook stove, coal, and a pot full of boiling oil. At her side is a small table with all the ingredients for frying tacos—corn dough and unrefined brown sugar. She presses small balls of dough in the tortilla press. After that, she puts in the brown sugar, folds the taco, and throws it into the casserole.

Mamá Chuy has sold taquitos here every Lent for 42 years. She told Atención that she learned the skill from her mother, who also sold tacos for many years. Chuy’s four daughters—all between 30 and 40 years old—have inherited and preserved this intergenerational family tradition with their own taco stands, near Mama Chuy’s own.

The San Juan de Dios neighborhood, located near the historic Ladrillera and Mezquitera neighborhoods and home to the well-known Morales and Patlán families, dates back to the 18th century, according to city historian Graciela Cruz. People made their living here as gardeners, shoemakers, and bakers and also tortilla makers.

The vendors are in front of the church daily until Lent is over from 8am–8pm.


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