Lakeside Guide to Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico


At a Glance

Sopes are thick rounds of masa which are deep-fried in oil and topped with any number of vegetarian or meat fillings.

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What are sopes?

A sope is a thick round of corn masa that’s deep-fried in oil and then topped with one of a large number of guisados (fillings) such as rajas (sliced peppers), potato, beans, pork or beef. It’s then topped with garnishes such as iceberg lettuce, cabbage or cheese, plus chopped cilantro and onion.

Sopes at Cenaduría Memo.

Sopes served at Cenaduría Memo. Sopes are thick rounds of masa, which is what tortillas are made of. The rounds are then fried in oil on top of that goes a topping such as meat, potatoes, sliced chiles or beans.

Masa is the stuff that tortillas are made of: a corn dough that is malleable into different shapes and thicknesses and used to make a wide number of dishes.

Sopes are usually drizzled with a salsa to give it more flavor and kick, which in the Lake Chapala is often a non-spicy tomato-based salsa. Cabbage and a sprinkle of cheese often go on top, too.

Sopes can be fried until they’re just cooked or until they are quite crispy. If you have a preference, ask the chef to cook them suave (soft) or duro (hard).

LEARN MORE: About common types of Mexican food found at Lake Chapala by reading our food guide.

Sopes, Pellizcadas, and Huaraches, Oh My

The sope is kind of the head a family of similar dishes that consist of flattened masa with toppings on top, such as pellizcadas garnachas, memelas, chalupas, huaraches, panuchos, and salbutes.

Tonantzin Taquería

Francisco Ramos at Tonantzín Taquería makes a pellizcada: a thick round cake of fresh masa with meat and/or cheese on top. They are different than sopes because they are grilled and not fried in oil.

Huarache at EL Zarape in Chapala, Mexico.

A huarache with chicken and beans. Huaraches are very thick, oblong tortillas with toppings on top. Their name means sandal because of its long oval shape. Sometimes huaraches can be a foot or more in length. This one, served at El Zapote (Morelos #185, Chapala), is more reasonable for one person. Huaraches aren’t too common in Jalisco, but can still be found around the Chapala area if you look hard enough.

LEARN MORE: About common types of Mexican food found at Lake Chapala by reading our food guide.

Last updated September 21, 2019

Dane Strom

Dane Strom The Lakeside Guide

I moved to Ajijic in 2010 when I decided to quit my job of seven years as an editorial assistant at The Denver Post in Colorado. I'm the photographer, web designer, programmer, marketer, writer... the everything behind this website, The Lakeside Guide. All of the businesses on this website appear here for free at no cost to them. If you find this site useful, please consider giving a small donation to become a site patron. Learn more about The Lakeside Guide or check out my other website about photography of Mexico.

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