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Mexico's fermented drinks bubble up

Episode Summary

Mexican fermented drinks like tejuino, tepache, and pulque were long looked down upon. Now, they're having a moment in the U.S.

Episode Notes

For hundreds of years, Mexican fermented drinks like tepache, tejuino and pulque were looked down upon by polite society. But a younger generation in Mexico has embraced them for their taste and curative powers.

Now, they’re having a moment in the United States — and becoming a multimillion-dollar industry. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times food editor Daniel Hernandez

More reading:

Foggy, fizzy, buzzy: Searching for the fermented drinks of Mexico on the streets of L.A.

Between heaven and earth, a spirited communion on Day of the Dead

Recipe: Homemade tepache

Episode Transcription

This is an unedited transcript. We apologize for the mistakes. A corrected transcript is coming soon.

FIELD TAPE: What are we coming up on here? Oh this is tejuino con nievas. From Quadalaraja. This is it's a very different, it’s a tejuino you’ll find in like central Mexico in Nayarit and Jalisco.  

DANIEL HERNANDEZ RETRACKS: So… I went on a little journey find some of my favorite fermented drinks of Mexico here....on the streets of L.A.

mux in

FIELD TAPE: So we just, we're over here on a Rosemead, I think the 19 and the Whittier Narrows recreational area. And we just tried Tejino from a stand on the side of the road. There's a bunch of little stands. Not a lot of food options. I always, it's kind of very hidden miscarry. You never know what you're going to see, but there's just a tradition of stands in this area.

DANIEL HERNANDEZ RETRACKS: There are spots like this all across Los Angeles. Where you'll meet roadside vendors who stay busy making drinks that some of their families have been making and serving from the same spot for decades.

FIELD TAPE: What did you think about what we had from Senor Juan Lopez just now? One Lopez just now from Benya and Yeti, he said he was from. It was very clean. It was like really nice. There was like a nice little effort presence, but it did taste a lot more belongs on than I did in my Easter, but it drank really nice. It was refreshing. Yeah. So I'm curious to see how this next one is from Guadalajara. 

Mux beat

FIELD TAPE: Okay. Let's try the Estillo Guadalajara. We'll be right back.

mux out 


GUSTAVO RETRACK: OK, so that’s L.A. Times food editor Daniel Hernandez. And he was with Bryant Orozco,  who’s a big name in LA’s Mexican bar scene. 

FIELD TAPE: So we just tried tejuinos…no se que..tejuino, and Snack Bar. . Okay. Let me just turn on the engine and your assessment. All right. That one was so interesting… 

Intro mux 

GUSTAVO RETRACK: The two went out and tasted a lot of tepache, tejuino and pulque....They're these old-school Mexican drinks long looked down upon by polite Mexican society because they’re fermented. I mean, I had never even heard of them until I became a food critic because they are all specific to parts of Mexico. And that’s why they’re still not really known to Mexicans on both sides of the border. But that’s changing.

FIELD TAPE: Taste this man. Oh, I see. That's kind of perfect now, actually. Right? That's good. 

GUSTAVO RETRACK: Now, these foggy, fizzy, funky drinks are becoming a lowkey hit in the United States. And it seems everyone wants a sip. 


GUSTAVO RETRACK: I'm Gustavo Arellano. You're listening to The Times, essential news from the L.A. Times. It's Friday, Oct. 7, 2022.

Today.. fermented Mexican beverages: They're having a moment right now, but it's a trend that's been bubbling up for thousands of years.

Mux beat to fade out 

GUSTAVO RETRACK: Today we're joined by my colleague, my compa, food editor of LA times, Daniel Hernandez, Daniel. What's up, man.


GUSTAVO ARELLANO: So earlier this summer, you wrote about the tejuino and tepache and also another Mexican fermented drink called. Why?

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Well, the fact is I just started seeing it more and more around town in LA and you know, the more that, um, Mexican culture, Mexican immigrant culture and identity sort of diffuses all over the region and all over Southern California. It's kind of one of those things that if you've been around um, Mexico enough, you just kind of start seeing, and it kind of my ears perked up and my taste buds perked up. And I honestly had been also searching for kind of suitable pulque one of the drinks that I focus on here in LA, but I just thought, man, our readers and our audience, maybe many of them don't really know what these drinks are. How special and unique they are, how old they are. And so I just kind of dove in and decided to explore the state of fermented drinks from Mexico in LA.

mux in

FIELD TAPE: We’re out here at Pulques Don Jose I guess, it doesn’t even have a name. On a white truck. Out of his white truck out here on Central and Olympic. 

mux beat

FIELD TAPE: Pulque es una bebida artesanal.. Es una bebida artesanal de México. Taste this…yeah, see, not that funk, that smell, I love it. 

mux out

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: It's a total trip because fermented drinks in Mexico, go back thousands of years. But it's such a regional thing. Cuz there could be people, Mexicans who have lived in Mexico, their entire life, and they've never even tasted some of these drinks.

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Totally like, for example, in the state of gua, there's a drink called Duba and that's made out of, um, the fermented sap of a palm. There, you know, cider is made in the state of Puebla. There's, um, you know, mountains up there where they grow, um, you know, tart apples, and, you know, people make a drink out of. And of course, um, you know, puke goes back to thousands and thousands and thousands of years before the arrival of, uh, Europeans on the shores of, you know, North America. And this is essentially just fermentation. People making wine thousands of years ago on the other side of the planet or people making Mago league in Korea with, uh, rice fermenting rice. And so, but you're right. There are instances, for example, my family is from Tijuana Baja, California. You know, like when I went into other parts of Mexico is when I first learned about the and so on. And when people crisscrossed the country, cuz there's actually a lot of internal migration in Mexico, //  they kind of are shocked and you know, and you know, and surprised to learn that there are all kinds of fermented drinks all over the country.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: And when we talk about fermented drinks, the rough corollary, at least in American culture nowadays, would be so. kombucha.

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Exactly. So the kombucha is the fermentation of, you know, a certain kind of tea. You wind up with this bubbly, fizzy kind of tart, acidic drink that is really great with ice, is really refreshing, has lots of great probiotics obviously, and antioxidant. It's good for you. It's good for your gut as, um, people in the health industry like to say, and so it makes sense that over time that there would be kind of this meeting of the minds over like the kombucha kind of health craze at like very fancy health food stores. And little by little, I also started noticing that certain Mexican fermented drinks were appearing alongside kombuchas in places like Arawan, Whole Foods and so on.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Yeah, until I became a food critic, like I had never heard of most of these fermented drinks. Pulque is like, nationally known, just cuz it has such a history with Mexico, but some of these other smaller ones. So when did drinks like tejuino and tepache start showing up in the United States?

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: That's a good question. I mean, I think that you, we could assume that largely with the great migrations from certain regions of Mexico in the 1970s and 1980s, a lot of people came up from Saka where your family's from, from Jalisco, from, Narajeet, Durango, kind of Western Mexico, that presence is really strong and embedded and rich, uh, here in Southern California. Um, And in Western Mexico, they drink a lot of tejuino, you know, tejino is the fermentation of Mae corn, um, with CEO with brown sugar and, you know, it's fermented, it gets slushy, it gets brown. It's delicious. There's nothing that tastes like it. People add lime and ice, do a salt rim. On a hot day. It's perfect. Right. So if people kind of wanna relive that sensation they’ve found ways to do that here in LA. Pulque is kind of for more the central Highland part of the country, wherever people are making agave spirits like mescal or tequila, you can theoretically also make pulque. But it's really known to be from like the central valleys. The valley that is the valley of Mexico, Mexico city, et cetera. And so it's cool to see kind of the diversity of the geography of the country reflected in these drinks and reflected in the waves of Mexicanos who came north in search of a better life, right? 


GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Coming up after the break. What exactly are these drinks where to find them also the holy grail of Mexican alcohol that feels like spit – no other way to put it. But first we ask listeners who. But first we ask listeners to tell us their stories about fermented Mexican drinks.


LISTENER CALL: Hi, calling in regards to tejuino, tepache. I've actually made tepache in the past. My grandma's told stories about my grandpa, who I never met him making gua. It's another thing. And Tepa, and my grandma wanted me to make it because I'm a home brewer. I make beer at home. So I looked at the recipe online, simple, made it. My grandma went back into the decades and remember the times when her husband used to make it my grandpa. So that was nice. And then I turned it around.  I made a beer without any yeast. Instead I added tepache and I gave it back to my grandma. She doesn't like beer, but boy that she love this beer.

MUX OUTBREAK 1 (about 9 minutes)

GUSTAVO RETRACK: So Daniel... I started seeing some of these fermented Mexican drinks about 20 years ago in restaurants. And then maybe about five years ago, as you started seeing more street vendors, I started seeing especially tejuino and tepahce. But once the pandemic started, I started seeing them everywhere, even in like high end bars or hipster restaurants. What happened?

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: You're right. I did notice that uptick as well. I think one of the likely reasons is that a lot of people needed to fall back on something that a lot of people got pushed into street vending by the pandemic shutdowns and protocols. A lot of people lost their jobs, Not just Mexicans, um, Asian immigrants, Salvadorians, Guatemalan Americans in the United States. Like people just lost jobs. And people were kind of pushed into street vending or decided to explore it, to supplement their income if they lost their jobs during the first part of the pandemic. 

FIELD TAPE: During the pandemic. Cause you know, there was nothing else to do.  I wanted to do, you know, tejuino like bait with like whole corn. So I would take a corn and I would just cook it with belonged. CEO would boil it down and they tried different methods. So this one way, cause when it belongs to you, it became like a mush and I blended it and I just threw it in a clay pot and fermented it. I fermented mine for about five days and it came out really chunky, but it wasn't really a tejuino I was looking. So in pandemic you started doing this. Yeah. You grew up with it as well. I grew up drinking it, so it was more of a hobby. I just want. And make it right. It wasn't much going on. Wow.

Daniel Hernandez: But again, I think that there was like a convergence in interest in fermented drinks and in what people were seeing on the street and probably like some very kind of enterprising Mexicans kind of figured it out and decided, well, let's try getting out there more. But you're right. They've also been around for a long time, kind of like for 20 years or more. That batch is probably the most well known. It's the easiest to make you just ferment pineapple Rines in water with some spices if you want. And so I tried making the tepache a couple times at home, even when I was bored in the pandemic. And, uh, and, and so I think that that's really reflective of kind of what the pandemic allowed people to, um, or sort of push people. Um, To explore different areas of their knowledge base. Maybe a family had been making the queen of their whole lives and decide, well, maybe we should try this on the street kind of thing. But also restaurants, more restaurants are offering pool game, which as you know, is really difficult to source and pretty esoteric to make. And so I think it's a really interesting boom and moment, and people are definitely curious to learn more. 

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Daniel, we've been talking about all these drinks, but really haven't gotten into what they are. So maybe we should describe some of them. So let's start with the one that I see the most that we know, what is it? And what's its story?

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Tejino is from Western Mexico, it is a rustic drink. You know, none of these drinks are made with preservatives or anything like that. You basically just boil down some corn kernel, add piloncillo brown sugar at a certain point, some people like to add lime. But the thing kind of boils down and cooks into this slush. It is then cooled. It is left to ferment for a couple of days. And then when it's time to serve it, you have this SC of foggy, um, brown slushy thing that like looks appealing, but also maybe looks a little risky and you just pour it over ice. Um, mix it around, add maybe some rock salt. And some more lime, maybe put it in a rimmed glass and you have tejuino. 

Mux in 

FIELD TAPE: And there's some places like the, the place I was telling you. And the medicate though. They have like a very high acidity in there and that's like, some people watch me, but nearly more to kind of counteract that as right. Or are they just making it more sweeter? Also, this one was interesting too. I, I didn't catch it. I don't know if you caught it, but I didn't see them put the limon in the side in their, I didn't see her do that either. So it's kind of not really different. We know. I mean, I guess everyone has their own definitions of what we know is right. Also just stick me on number two. And I'm feeling like full of like sienna

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: I love the Tejino. It has such a to it, but then it's cut by the below and seal the brown sugar. And then if they sometimes they'll put lime ice cream and then it gives us like a citrus tone and something about that combination. It's one of the most refreshing drinks I've ever had. Like, it is just amazing.

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: It's pretty great. Um, When you have it here on the street, somewhere on a very hot day, go down to the Whittier narrows. There's a lot of vendors there that sell it and different levels of quality I will say, but it's there and it really almost kind of transports you back to like the coast of night eight or something. Like it's pretty great.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: You could feel that breeze from like Kania or whatever, just such a great drink. 

Mux out 

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Okay. The next drink. Tepache. What's Tepache?

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Tepache is a fermentation of pineapple. So I, for example, use pineapple in my green juice. And so I'll keep the RINs on occasion. Um, let them dry out a little bit in the fridge. And then what you do is you put them in, like in a Mason jar glass jar, cover it with, you know, distilled water. Some cinnamon, a little bit of Piloncillo. If you want some star AIS, if you want. And even some people I've seen, some people use a, a clove um, pieces. You let that ferment, uh, two, three days, and then it starts kind of getting a little bit of a bubble on top, a little bit of a fizz. The thing also kind of turns a little brownish yellowish. And you chill that and then you have this terrific, super like sweet, but also still funky fermented pineapple, um, quote kombucha. And that's how really it's being marketed. Um, It's kind of the more accessible of the three drinks that we featured in this article. Um, It's easier to make and it's kind of like easier, uh, for a novice drinker. And it really is a good thing. You know, People have been drinking it for a long time and a lot of different parts of Mexico and, you know, it's a great alternative to a soft drink. I'll tell you that.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Yeah, Tepache to me, the flavors deeper. It's not as funky, but you mentioned the clothes, the star Andies like, it has more of a spice. So it's almost like a tea in that sense, but not that light, but what's tricky to me about tampache that, especially in the past couple years has a huge mainstream thing with some company that you wrote about called De la Calle. 

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Yeah, De la Calle is a really interesting company based here in LA that thought this is the next, literally the next kombucha craze. We're gonna get ahead of this. And so they made up a really slick, very pretty, um, campaign for their branding and for their marketing. And, um, one of the co-owners is Mexicano. He grew up in Kereta with his grandmother, teaching him how to make tepache and they make some kind of really interesting flavor. They kind of feel outlandish at first, but when you taste them and we went and, uh, met with the company and tasted every single one of the varieties that they have, they have like something like eight or nine now. And they have like a spicy Chao one. Um, they have a tamarindo style one. They have prickly pair one, it comes in like a super bright pink can. And they're pretty good. You know, these are non-alcoholic Depas and the alcoholic content is something that we should also  keep in mind that you can have non-alcoholic fermented drinks, but you let the fermentation go long enough. And at the right. kind of levels and mixtures and proportions of ingredients, and you can start getting an alcoholic drink really. But these are non-alcoholic, they're sold in not only liquor stores, but also regular markets and kind of upscale kind of health markets. And they're great. And if you want to make them alcoholic. You can mix those with like rum, tequila, mezcal, or kind of whatever you want. So it's interesting that there's going to be, and they're, they're not the only company, you know, let's, let's be clear. There are several now that are selling Canon bottle to, excuse me, Canem bottled to butches.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Why do you think that Pache got this big rollout and not the

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Well, probably like I said, because it's, um, kind of more accessible. I think it's more similar in the mind of people to be able to compare to something that they knew that they know like kombucha, for example, it's, um, you know, it's a little sweeter than the whoo. Theo's like a little funkier. and, um, you know, I don't know. It just like, looks like, you know, it's clear. It's not like frothy. 

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: More accessible. 

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: It's more accessible. I think.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: They're both great though. They're both great. But then we get to the most ancient, Mexican fermented drink of them all. The most revered really: pulque.

Mux in 

GUSTAVO RETRACK: We'll get into pulque...right after another message from a loyal listener....and a quick break.

tape: Hey, this message is for Gustavo. Hey Gustavo, you mentioned you wanted to know a little bit of something about, um, either, uh, pulque or tequino or tepache. You know, my story is basically I grew up down in. And growing up, uh, Theo was the drink of choice for, for us on the street. It was just one of those things where, uh, vendors would come by on their little bikes and, uh, you know, sell it out, uh, little containers. So it was tasty.  

mux out

BREAK 2 (18:45 minutes) 

GUSTAVO RETRACK: So Daniel, we talked tepache. We talked tejuino. And they’re great, but they both bow down to pulque...the most revered of all fermented mexican drinks.

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Yeah, pulque is… it's been called the drink of the gods.


CROSSTALK: It was a complete Eureka moment. Like, oh my goodness. Like I wanted to hug the guy, like it's good pulque. [Pulque man speaks in Spanish]. 

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Pulque is associated with religious practices. Before the arrival of Europeans, shamans or priests used them in different kinds of rituals. Pulque was given to very old people because it's full of nutrients and probiotics.

FIELD TAPE: y lo que tiene El pulque es que hace que que la gente se sienta mejor que que tomando alcohol y cervezas porque es el más natural. Es orgánico,

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: it's also given sometimes to infants or mothers who are nursing. 


DANIEL HERNANDEZ: In Aztec society, which it was incredibly regimented, strict, um, militaristic and kind of like cultish society. Puke was only allowed in public, um, extremely special in rare occasions. Just a couple of times a year. You'd probably be executed if you were ever caught drinking it on one of those nons and after conquesting a colonialism, there was a real concerted effort, um, by. You know, Spain, Germany, and so on to sort of like phase out puka and Mexican society and introduce, and kind of like get Mexicans really into beer, which, you know, not really knowing Mexicans at car could have figured out that you could have both like the whole time , but like, but it's a really interesting story that it was almost, um, you know, um, the word that I'm looking for. Right. It was almost totally eradicated and there isn't been a movement in recent kind of decades and years to revive budge to let it kind of reclaim a spot at the top, excuse me. At the top echelon of fermented drinks. In Mexico. And you know, a lot of young people, college students, like Neota, if you want to call them that Neo Mexicans who want to elevate bootcamp and really bring attention to what an incredible. And really unique drink that it is. You described it a little bit ago as having the consistency of saliva or spit. And that's very accurate. It's not for the faint-hearted. It's not for people who don't like taking risks in terms of foods that they try. There are thousands and thousands of microorganisms in a glass of boot camp that are like not, you know, bad for you. And it's alcoholic. And it gives you a buzz. Unlike anything that I've ever had. And I can tell you that I've tried almost every spirit imaginable out there, and there's just nothing in the world like pulque. 

FIELD TAPE: Pulque man speaks in Spanish. 

DANIEL HERNANDEZ:  It is a nearly kind of hallucinatory kind of happy high that this drink gives you. And it does make you feel connected over time, over centuries, over millennia, two practices that are native to this continent on the face of the earth

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Yeah, people love que so much they'll reduce themselves to drinking que from a can. Have you ever had it from a can

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: I have and I've regretted it. It is totally disgusting. It was not, I'm not exaggerating. Pulque in a can, is one of those things that you kind of just wanna spit out the instant you taste it. But I understand the impulse. Now because pulque is sort of constantly in a state of fermentation and because it's, um, It goes bad very quickly. It has an extremely short shelf life. So for a lot of people, like you can only really drink que in Mexico, ideally at a ranch. By the time it gets to a bar that sells only que known as a Pilla, somewhere in the so of Mexico city. It's already kind of like, not as good as it could be. So you really do have to like eat it. I mean, I'm sorry. drink it immediately. Um, almost just after fermentation, after it's been scraped, um, from the inside of the agave, cuz let's say let's remind people what pulque it is. It is the fermented sap from the very core, middle. Of the agave and thes who pull it out of the agave are called LA ghettos and they are, um, incredibly skilled and talented practicing, uh, traditions and practices that have been handed out to them over generations.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Yeah. Trying to find fresh pulque in the United States is nearly impossible. Even in LA. And people always say they know someone who knows someone, but I almost never pans out. But you were able to find fresh pulgue

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Yes. And so this is also a huge mystery. You meet some of the guys who are selling it on the street, and they're very cagey about how much they want to tell you about where the pulque is from. What one source did tell me, there are vendors that if you kind of ask around, they'll be like, yeah, I have boot care or yeah, I have Tepa but the quality level again is really hit or miss, um, pulque supposedly tastes better kind of like after the rainy season. But it's, you know, some people do try and sell it all year round, what we can assume and what our sources tell us is that some people are basically bringing puka up, um, from Mexico, trying to move it very quickly through the land border. Um, you know, cause you can import, you know, certain amount of leaders of liquids and so on and you know, there's an effort to try can pulque or bottle it. But again, it just doesn't taste the same. It doesn't taste fresh. You have to add a preservative cuz if you seal que it'll blow up whatever container it's in frankly. And so no one's been able to achieve it as far as I'm concerned, the taste level that you need for fresh pulque. 

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: So Daniel, what was the hookup? Who's your pulque maker?

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Well, there was this guy, there's a guy down there in the Mecado Olympic area. He's pretty vulnerable. He's sells from a white truck. Um, You know, he's kind of just in the general area. And I went to try his pulque over several times over several months. And sometimes it was right on the money. Sometimes it was a little off.  

mux in

FIELD TAPE: The quality is extremely variable. And so sometimes it's just really poor. It just tastes like basically red wine vinegar or something. And other times it's like very flat. So it's just hard to get good pulque up here in LA. And it's kind of a mystery about where to get some good pulque, you know. 

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: He makes his own kudos. So he'll do curado de quava and a curado is when you flavor the pulque. Plain pulque, it tends to be white, um, viscus, but in Mexico, there is a practice of sort of, um, of curing or kind of like soaking flavors inside a puke to give it different colors and different textures. So, pretty popular one. My personal favorite is guayaba. There's also a mango que people make often, and then people just go buck wild and do like savory ques like a celery tomato. Um, one of my all time favorites was peanut. One of the most popular ones is oatmeal. So this vendor makes his own Curados and he sells them from the back of a truck on, you know, Alameda and Olympic.

FIELD TAPE: And so once I came across this truck, I was like, oh my God, like, let me just pull up. I saw the sign, just like if we were in Mexico or in the global south, you know, which is right here in LA. Like this reminds me that the global south is right here, you know, but through the foods and through what we eat and drink. And, um, so once I saw it, I was like, oh, it was like a gift from the gods. Like, you know, this is the best that I've found so far at street level in the city of LA. Here. I'm a very industrial, pretty grimy part of downtown LA near the flower district and near Mecal Olympic, which is like the pinata district.

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: And it really does feel like again, you're kind of transported back to Mexico. I spent a couple of instances just hanging out there with him all morning and people coming by and just like, you know, I've been drinking this since I was little or one woman told me that she makes bread, pan de pulque, she makes bread with it. You know, other guys are kind of showing up and there's always this kind of like social kind of play that happens around pulque culture. People kind of like making jokes, um, uh, double meaning, triple meaning jokes. Uh, it's a very kind of like lively kind of ribbing culture. That is also really interesting. And you'll be in this kind of microscopic, um, you know, section of LA and instantly be connected to that. It was a pretty amazing experience to report out this piece.

FIELD TAPE: You know, you? No, no, no, no. Slowly. Was it, uh, the lion is ING iNG on. It just means.

mux out

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Daniel, you mention that pulque is having a bit of a Renaissance in Mexico, but do you ever see pulque getting big in the United States?

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: I think that is the great, you know, the holy grail. If you wanna say that is the city on the hill, can someone popularize pulque; Um, mass produce it at a consistent level, and commercialize and market it to gringo eaters to American eaters. Now American eaters have become more and more willing to eat the way Mexicanos tell them to eat. And so little by little, I do think that there will be an opening at some point with, like, the right science and like the right entrepreneur and like the right ghetto to make us some food get here in the us. But as far as I know, there is no production of it. Um, There is a company in Chicago that is trying to make it, and I may have another story down the road about that. But everything that I've tasted so far that comes in a can. Just does not taste like pulque the way it should be tasted. And it kind of also lends a question like, should it be eventually can and commercialize, or should it always remain a thing that you can only have in the moment from a hand that has perfected it and it is this fleeting, not just a consuming and eating experience, but a fleeting kind of like cultural and social experience.

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Isn't that the existential question of Mexican food though? Do we mass produce it and make millions off of it or just keep it to nosotros? 

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Exactly. I mean, look at mezcal and tequila. The productions of those every celebrity in Hollywood is trying to get a brand and a label going. And there's fears that we might tap out the species of agaves from overproduction.

mux in

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: So it's a huge question, a huge tension. For now only kind of very food-curious people are out there looking for good pulque. 

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Daniel, thank you so much for this conversation.

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: Thank you, Gustavo. Thank you.

mux out 


BREAK 3 31 min


outro mux in

GUSTAVO ARELLANO: And that's it for this episode of the times, essential news from the LA times,

David Toledo, Surya Hendry and Kinsee Morlan were the jefes on this episode and Mario Diaz mixed and mastered it.

Our show is produced by Shannon Lin, Denise Guerra, Kasia Broussalian, David Toledo and Ashlea Brown. Our editorial assistant is Madalyn Amato. Our engineers are Mario Diaz, Mark Nieto and Mike Heflin. Our editor is Kinsee Morlan. Our executive producers are Jazmín Aguilera, Shani Hilton and Heba Elorbany. And our theme music is by Andrew Eapen. 

And hey… we’re building a Dia de Muertos audio altar this year and would love to include your memories of your loved ones. Call ‪(619) 800-0717‬ and leave us a voicemail with your own ofrendas. Tell us who you are, where you live and then tell us a great story about a friend, a family member, someone dear to you who has passed on and joined the ancestors. We want to air an entire episode with those stories around Day of the Dead. Thanks in advance..and again, the number is (619) 800-0717

I'm Gustavo Arellano. We'll be back next week with all the news and desmadre. Gracias.

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