We decide to do our final dinner at Las Quince Letras which is a renowned restaurant in Oaxaca, Mexico, established in 1992 by Celia Florián and Fidel Méndez. It is celebrated for its traditional Oaxacan cuisine, especially for its variety of mole dishes, which include the emblematic mole negro. The restaurant prides itself on using local flavors and ingredients, offering a gastronomic experience that represents the best of Oaxacan identity.
For our salad, we had “Ensalada del huerto” which is a Garden Salad that celebrates the flavors of Oaxaca. It features mixed lettuce, arugula, Oaxacan cheese, and notably, plump central valley tomatoes. The vinaigrette dressing complements and enhances the natural flavors of the vegetables and cheese. The combination of these ingredients makes for a fresh, vibrant, and texturally diverse salad.
We had “Duo de moles” which includes two types of mole sauce served with pork.
Mole Negro, often considered the king of moles, is known for its dark, rich color and deep, complex flavor profile. It typically includes a variety of ingredients such as chocolate, several types of chilies, onions, garlic, spices like cumin and cinnamon, and sometimes even plantains or raisins. The chocolate and the mixture of chilies give it a distinctive bittersweet taste, often with smoky undertones and a hint of spice.
Coloradito, on the other hand, is a red mole that gets its color from a blend of red chilies. It tends to be slightly sweeter and less complex than Mole Negro. Coloradito often includes ingredients like tomatoes, tomatillos, anise, and sometimes a small amount of chocolate, which contribute to a more fruity and warm spice profile with a subtle hint of sweetness, complemented by the earthiness of the chilies. The red mole surprisingly echoes the flavors of Singapore‘s char siew. Its complex, layered taste, combining sweet, spicy, and smoky elements, reminds me of the rich, caramelized profile of char siew.
Both moles are rich and savory, often with layers of flavor that develop from the careful blending and simmering of their ingredients. They are frequently used in celebratory dishes and are a testament to the depth and variety found in Mexican cuisine.
We got a mistake in our order and got the chicken instead of the pork belly. Here’s the exchange:
This is a fitting last dinner at Oaxaca. We found our favorite dish – mole.