Street Food Saturday — By Ben on 21 April 2012
Street Food Saturday – Pambazos

We had been walking all morning shopping for clothes in downtown and had ended in the Sullivan tianguis, where we knew we’d find more clothes and shoes for Erick, my little cousin who was visiting from Sinaloa. It was warm. A beautiful spring day that the jacarandas embellished with their purple flowers. Comida time announced itself with the rumble of bellies. Markus, my cousin’s German husband, was the first one to voice his need for food. When we asked him what he wanted he didn’t hesitate, tortas, Mexican sandwiches.

Jacaranda

I didn’t know any tortas place around the area. We decided to walk around the market to try to find them, but we were unsuccessful. We’d stop at other stalls and ask Markus if he wanted to try something else, quesadillas, sopes or maybe flautas. But he was fixated. He knew what he wanted and he wasn’t going to yield.

Then I saw them in their radiant beauty. They were carefully piled up on the counter looking proud and … orange. I pointed them out to my cousin Zury and said, they’re not exactly tortas, but they’re a kind of sandwich. She agreed with me and explained to Markus what they were. He didn’t look 100% convinced, but I guess hunger had weakened his will to keep fighting us. We sat down to eat and at the end of the meal Markus gave us his verdict: best food ever!

You can find pambazos in the streets of many Mexican cities. They are not the same in different regions of the country, but they all have something in common. They’re made with white bread that is soaked in a red gualillo pepper sauce and then filled and toasted on the griddle before being served.

The bread for the pambazos, also called pambazo, is different from other Mexican white breads. It doesn’t have a crispy crust and it’s made with eggs, lard and flour. Usually it’s not used as a dinner roll because it’s tough and dry, which allows it to retain its shaped while it’s being soaked in the sauce. You might find it at bakeries, but most of it is made for special deliveries for restaurants and street vendors.

In Mexico City pambazos are filled typically with papas con chorizo (potatoes with chorizo), lettuce, cream and cheese. However, you can find a lot more fillings nowadays. At that particular place where we ate last weekend you can order your pambazos filled with beef.

Pambazos is one of my new favorite street foods. For some reason I didn’t at a lot of them when I was growing up. It was until recently that I started consuming them more often. Even though I don’t share Markus’s opinion that they’re the best food ever, they’re pretty dang good. Especially after walking for hours without much food in your stomach.

Street Food Saturday is a weekly section to highlight different street foods of Mexico. However, I want to learn more about street foods from all around the world from you. For more details about this event please visit this link.

¡Buen provecho!

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About Author

grew up around food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City and he spent a big deal of his childhood helping and learning after school the art of creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients. He created this blog to share his kitchen adventures with the world.

(15) Readers Comments

  1. Ohhh looks so good! It must have been a happy moment to feel the best food ever. Looks scrumptious! =)

  2. The Pambazos looked great and I wanted to try to make them. The filling is no problem, but when looking for the bread recipes it was unable to find any thing. I know that the bun has to hold up under the the sauces and just regular make believe bread sold here in the markets could not do that. So, I bake up a roll with a combination to bagel & Focaccia dough. This worked out quite well and the Pambazos were taste tested by my friends who approved. I kept one back wrapped in plastic wrap and then reheated the next afternoon for lunch. It was still good and tasty and the bread roll held up. But, I would still like to located the orginal dough make up as described using lard & eggs. If anyone knows where I can locate this info please give a reply. Chef Robert here in the Land Of Enchantment New Mexico.

  3. Me too a Pambazo…you tempt me with wanting to come and visit…I swear….

  4. Today tried my hand a making Pambazos and the results were quite good. first started yesterday in making a batch of Starter dough. This morning using the starter dough base made dough, allowed to rise and then formed into 3 ox rolls. Allowed the rolls to raise for 20 minutes and then baked in a 400 deg F oven for 20 minutes as I was not looking for a browning of the crust. In the mean time I assembled the filling using my home made pork chorizo, diced potatoes, diced some green and red bell peppers and some whole kernel corn. The sausage was cooked first, adding the hashbrowns, once all cooked and heated added the remaining ingredients and stirred to mix. Shedded some cheese, sliced the rolls when cooled. Dipped the bread in the chili gravey, filled the buns and toasted in my panini pan. worked out great and I will serve them tomorrow at a potluck bithday lunchen. Took some photos but not sure if I can post them on this site. Now I want to cook up the TLACOYOS which was shown on the site. Love to cook Chef Robert here in the Land Of Enchantment, New Mexico.

    • That sounds like an amazing project! Thanks for sharing it with us and for following What’s cooking.

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