From fish tacos at Tacos El Gordo food stand in Tijuana to the Merlot Glazed Tuna at The Restaurant at Las Ventanas Resort in San José del Cabo, the peninsula of Baja Mexico is 55,360 square miles of seafood paradise.
The Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez offer such a ridiculous abundance and variety of seafood, the fish practically leap into the boats. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even catch your own dinner on a sport-fishing adventure.
THE LOCAL CATCH:
- Atún (tuna): Albacore, yellowfin, blackfin, bigeye, Pacific bluefin, and northern bluefin species are all native to the waters off Mexico. Smoked tuna is a popular snack and appetizer.
- Cabrilla (bass): Commonly caught off the southern Baja peninsula. Delicious in ceviches and fish tacos.
- Callo (scallop): Found in the Sea of Cortez and often prepared right on the beach.
- Camarón (shrimp): Hands-down the most popular shellfish in Mexico.
- Huachinango (red snapper): The star ingredient in one of Mexico’s most famous fish dishes, huachinango a la veracruzana.
- Jurel (jack fish): Albóndigas de pescado, "meatballs" made with ground fish, are a Baja specialty.
- Langosta (lobster): The Baja California Peninsula spiny lobster is a favorite at high-end restaurants or fried up Puerto Nuevo-style.
- Lenguado (flounder): Caught in the Sea of Cortez and often served stuffed with seafood — filete relleno — or breaded and fried — filete empanizado.
- Pargo (barred snapper or yellow snapper): In Baja, they cook this fish the zarandeado way — butterflied, then grilled over a wood fire on a woven branch rack called a zaranda.
- Pulpo (octopus): Mexicans use octopus in stews, soups, and seafood cocktails.
- Raya (stingray): The people of Baja love their stingrays. They catch them in the Sea of Cortez, then cut them into little round shapes and prepare them like scallops.
THE LOCAL FLAVOR
The variety, quality, and freshness of the seafood is unmatched. But, it’s the Baja flavor that makes it unforgettable. The spicier the better! Chipotle, Ancho chile powder, garlic, onion, Mexican oregano, cumin, and fresh-squeezed lime are must-haves in every kitchen.
But, since you can’t eat seafood every minute of the day…
…no matter how desperately you try, you can always go whale-watching off the Pacific coast, get lost in the vineyards of Ensenada, party at Carnaval in La Paz, or just sip margaritas by the Sea of Cortez as George Clooney’s latest arm candy.
So, when should you go? With perfectly sunny weather year-round, any time is a good time to eat, play, and party your way through Baja. Like now!