A tradition of 68 years: Flavors of Mazatlan yesterday, today and forever

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In the food stall area of ​​the Pino Suárez market, Doña Pancha conquers palates of locals and tourists with her restaurant Claudia

Mazatlan, Sinaloa.- The essence, smells and flavors of a city are always reflected in the markets, and in Mazatlan, a sample of this is the José María Pino Suárez, located in the heart of the Center and Art Nouveau architecture, the same that the Eiffel Tower in Paris, its corridors and walls show the continuous movement of people since 1898.

This place, which is one of the main tourist attractions of Mazatlan, has at the top with 12 restaurants where you can eat in a rich and economical way. There, between the smell of burnt oil, barbecue, cochinita pibil or chicken to the square, stands out the seasoning of Doña Pancha, who with her restaurant Claudia conquers the palates of locals and tourists.

The business, which has been passed down from generation to generation for 68 years, preserves the traditional flavor of Mexican and Sinaloa food. Francisca Amparo Pérez, who is 32 years old at the head of the restaurant, comments that she was first from her mother-in-law, then from her husband and now from her; He hopes that when he dies, his children will continue the tradition.

My mother-in-law was one of the founders of the restaurant area up here, the market is 116 years old, but this area is 68 years old, then she and my husband worked, and now two of my four children and I 

Doña Pancha

The space, remember, has had very difficult times, such as when tourism stopped going for different reasons. All these food businesses were alone, decayed, very poor, but as a result of the opening of the Mazatlan-Durango highway the situation changed, it was filled again with national and foreign tourism during the holidays, and what about the weekends.

As the holidays go by, the influx of tourists decreases considerably, and Doña Pancha drops sales, however, local customers who do not leave it and visitors who arrive at the weekend always take it forward.

During the high season of vacationers, Dona Pancha prepares a wide variety of dishes, but its strength is beef, chicken and fish broths.

At least here with me the broths are never lacking, and they ask me a lot for the marche ranchero, with egg, in stew. But every day a different meal is made, meatballs, stuffed peppers, pork ribs, shrimp cakes, meat, and you can not miss the rice and beans to accompany them

 Doña Pancha

She explains that the tourist, preferably, asks for fish and shrimp, but in her case, she has many local clients, workers, from bricklayers, boleros or business sellers from the Center.

“I always tell my children that they have to treat the client well so that they are happy and come back because we have a lot of competition, we are 12 restaurants here, although many times there are people who are very difficult, and they have to be treated well”.

SEASONING AND GOOD SERVICE

She has taken her children forward with this business, which is very noble, but that requires a special season that conquers diners. In her case, cooking was not very difficult, because she was always a woman at home, her mother taught her some stews and others learned them from her mother-in-law and from her husband.

At 66, he admits that this business is very heavy and demanding, the days are very long. She arrives at 7:00 in the morning and leaves at 6:00 in the afternoon every day but she cooks with the help of her son.

For her work, she lasts a long time standing and that has caused her legs to be full of varicose veins; The doctor tells her that she has to sit for several times during the day, so she can rest, but she is used to it and is so passionate about cooking that she always forgets.

“I’m here all day, I’m just going to sleep at my house, which is like a hotel. In order for a business to work, you have to be on the lookout, because it is never the same, nor with the children, in a business, you have to be attentive, you have to be here because if you close, the client leaves you. ”

She says that in the food business you have to have character and enough patience because many people who we attend are very “special” in their tastes, very demanding and sometimes can be rude.

“People come with special demands, that the eggs are tender, that the yolk is not bursting, that without chili, that the broth be boiling, that is not very hot, the tortillas are well heated, golden … and many times they return the things if they don’t like them. ”

Doña Pancha is originally from Nayarit, and in the time she has been with her restaurant in the port she has realized that this type of modest business has been historically ‘satanized’, since it is said that the hygiene required is not handled. That saddens her a bit and although times have changed, she says that cleaning and a clean food stall is something that has always characterized her.

She assures that at present they are constantly subjected to reviews and recommendations by various agencies so that businesses are in the proper hygienic conditions to sell food.

I have always tried to comply with them, they ask you for many things, from trash cans, pots, chopping boards and finally, a series of things, renewal of health permits every six months, spraying every month by the City Council and now we also reviews Civil Protection 

Doña Pancha

In the 32 years that the Claudia restaurant has been in her care, hundreds of tourists, nationals, and foreigners, have tried their seasoning, some return and others do not, but it has dozens of captive diners. Doña Pancha enjoys being in her kitchen, including vegetables, meat, fish, oil, pots, pans, spices, and condiments; She uses all her culinary art to prepare the best stew, the one that conquers the most demanding palate.

DATA

68 years is the Claudia restaurant on the second floor of the Pino Suárez market.

12 restaurants offer their services in the gastronomic area of ​​the Pino Suárez mark