Black Woman Brings Soul Food To Mexico City With ‘Blaxicocina’ Restaurant
Thanks to one woman, Blacks in Mexico City don’t have to look far to find soul food.
Mitchellville, Maryland, native Tiara Darnell brought a taste of comfort to a growing community of Blacks in Mexico, native Mexicans, and travelers passing through the region. According to DCist, Darnell owns Blaxicocina, the only soul food restaurant in Mexico City.
The first-time restaurant owner feeds the Narvarte community with food and funds through partnerships with local farmers. Mexican nationals make up all of Blaxicocina’s staff except for one person. Darnell told the outlet employing people from the region is her way of putting money into the neighborhood. DCist also reported most of Darnell’s vendors and contractors are Mexican nationals.
The business owner said several spices and foods used in African American dishes are unavailable in Mexico City. Darnell formed a partnership with The Heirloom Collard Project after being unable to find collard greens in the region. “When I first got here, I see kale, I see Swiss chard, other types of greens, but collards were nowhere to be found,” Darnell said. Soul food dishes wouldn’t be the same without a side of cornbread. Darnell said corn goes through a different process to make tortillas. “We have to grind our own corn to make the cornbread the way we want it to be. We have to grind our own corn to make the coating for the fried green tomatoes that we’re trying out right now on the menu,” the restaurant owner explained.
The soul food restaurant has already warmed the hearts of locals. One customer, Lesly Aldana, said, “I really like that combination when they mix part of the food, the culture, but they also look for more environmental, more ecological options to do it.”
Blacks in the city feel the same. Darnell’s friend, Adi Shaku Bennu, said, “To see people come here and establish roots and build shows that you don’t have to live in America to make it. You know, you can leave and make something great outside of the States.”
According to Darnell, many Blacks in Mexico City left the U.S. to escape systemic racism and oppression. The restaurant owner knows Americans moving to Mexico raises the cost of living, but Darnell aims to create a welcoming space for all people.