When you learn there is a food so delicious that resides so close to you in Miami, one wonders, how have I lived my life not knowing about this great dish?! Exact thoughts drove through my head that fate filled day 10 years ago. “C’mon, I want to show you my favorite bite” We drove to a small restaurant right on a main road in Little Havana and parked right in front. There is nothing about this place that screams five star, in fact there are bars that are covering the windows. Usually, if the looks of the place slightly scare me I will probably like it, so in I go and to my surprise, the restaurant is extremely clean and well kept. Immediately you know you are in an authentic spot when nobody speaks English, so my friend ordered for me and I received two large tortillas folded in half, with some mystery ingredients so I just went for it. Have you ever seen any movie where time stops as the man is looking into the eyes of the woman that has captured his heart? Well, same thing but me with this Baleada. It was love at first sight and I will still make the drive to this day to this little spot for my monthly dose of Honduran delights.
So, what is a Baleada? By definition, it is considered a widely known street food that is most popular in the north coast of Honduras. Different areas can make them with different ingredients but the base is all the same. It is a large handmade flour tortilla, approximately 8-10 inch in diameter. They are stretchy and warm when they come to your table so you know they were made in house. They are folded in half to create a half moon shape and filled with a fried and mashed red bean paste. Normally, they will add quesillo or crumbled cheese and a crema and that is your typical standard option. If you want, you can add scrambled eggs if you are in the mood for a breakfast version and is also considered a very popular choice among locals. After that, you can go even farther by adding sliced steak, avocado, plantains, chicken, ground beef, peppers and onions and so on. I keep it simple and always gravitate to the standard, but will make one exception.
PRO TIP: There is a magical looking condiment that is placed in front of you as you sit at the table. It is actually pickled vegetables called Curtido that also have jalapenos which gives it a nice kick, grab a few carrots that have been soaking in the vinegar and throw it in your Baleada for an extra acidity and spice kick. It is a fairly simple recipe that closely resembles giardiniera and can be found online for an easy condiment to use at home.
When you are dining in a Honduran establishment, it is very much like any cafeteria that you can find throughout Miami. There are always large portions, decent pricing and the waitresses are often friendly and sometimes caught up in their own gossip time amongst themselves but they mean no harm. There are plenty of other delicious dishes but many people’s favorite dish is the Baleada! Do not make the same mistake in calling them a Honduran Taco, as I did. I was quickly educated that these were not tacos as they are folded flat and the tortilla is thicker and their food is much different than Mexican. Whatever you want to call it, I call it delicious. Here is a list of a few Honduran spots with the best in town!
Los Paisano’s Restaurant
824 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33130
the restaurant referenced in this article
Baleadas- $2 each
405 NW 12th Ave, Miami, FL 33128
in a room on the south side of the market
Baleadas on Wednesday- $1
La Palapa Hondurena
2699 Biscayne Blvd Ste 2 Miami, FL 33137
Baleadas- $3.50 each
1701 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33135
Baleadas- $3 each