Tlacolula Barbacoa

Is it Sunday already? Let's go to Tlacolula!

This is a day ride from a while back – when things were still a lot hotter than they are now. Antonio and I had intended to ride what I effectionally call the St Bartolo Botanical Ride. It follows an unconventional tangle of quiet city roads – dirt and broken pavement – out of the city centre to San Bartolo Coyotepec, climbs up and over to San Antonia Buena Vista, and then heads back into town via the Tule bike path.

But… when we were in St Bartolo, Antonio suggested we grab a barbacoa taco from Tlacolula, as it was a Sunday. When he found out I hadn’t had one before… that pretty much sealed the deal.

We plotted a route we figured would work, keeping us on dirt almost the whole way. As it turned out so well… Tlacolula Barbacoa was born! In fact, I had such a cool experience in this market that I rode out that way Yeshe and Cjell came to visit – a small reroute along the San Jose del Pacífico Grand Dirt Tour.

The ‘Barro Rojo’ earthenware that can be seen all over Oaxaca – from restaurants to homes – is made in the nearby village of San Marcos Tlapazola, also in the Mitla Valley.

I’ll get the lowdown on this particular barbacoa and its various seasonings from Antonio, as he’s the foodie expert. But not only did they taste great (we had two each), the general scene there was wild. Families were tucking into their tacos. Market sellers were yelling in the background. Dogs were loitering for scraps. And a busker was strumming the guitar in his sombrero, belting out a traditional song in the thick, smoker’s voice – the crowd singing along too. Of all the markets I’ve been to in Oaxaca, it felt the least impacted by changes in the modern world.

Check out the route to San Bartolo Coyotepec to get a feel for this ride, as the bonus loop is really an extension – be on farm roads, quiet rural connectors, and even a few faint tracks. I’d suggest popping by Dainzu on the way back – the route passes right by it – to round off your Sunday excursion.

Once we hit the edge of town there was just time for a paleta in Tule, then it was a quick ride back home on the bike path.

Although we hadn’t planned it, ‘Tlacolula Barbacoa’ turned out to be quite the loop, especially in the heat. Antonio was toast and was well pretty done too!

All pics on the little Fuji x100V, processed in LR.

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