Taste & Travel - - Destinations -

boats join a fleet that now num­bers twenty. To­gether they make up the largest pri­vately owned flotilla in the Eastern Pa­cific Ocean. They be­long to the Pinsa Group of Mazatlán, which fish (mostly) yel­lowfin and take the catch from ocean-to-tin-to-shelf in one enor­mous, self-suf­fi­cient op­er­a­tion.

I knew about shrimp. The Si­naloa state boasts the big­gest shrimp­ing fleet on the Pa­cific coast. Lo­cal Mazatlán mar­kets bulge with blue buck­ets of the beau­ties, and restau­rant menus — from the 52-year-old El Shrimp Bucket to the spank­ing new Mazatleca — de­vote pages to their prepa­ra­tion. But about Mazatlán’s tuna I had no clue.

Af­ter tour­ing the Pinsa op­er­a­tion, I found my­self drawn to ev­ery tuna dish on ev­ery menu handed me. Tuna sashimi and tataki. Tuna ce­viche, bur­ri­tos, burg­ers. Tuna-topped gua­camole. And at the new beach­side restau­rant La Mazatleca — where chef Alan Za­mu­dio Robles takes tra­di­tional Mex­i­can dishes for thor­oughly mod­ern spins — my favourite prepa­ra­tion was a loin of tuna Robles had bathed in the lo­cal Pre­sidio beer mixed with ‘fer­mented tor­tilla juice.’ It’s prop­erly called Te­juino, an an­cient spirit and an ac­quired taste. Corn masa, es­sen­tially (the dough you’d or­di­nar­ily pinch off, flat­ten, fry and stuff) but here mixed with wa­ter and raw brown sugar, boiled un­til thick and dark and gooey, then left to fer­ment. I would sug­gest the beer tamed the taste of the Te­juino, but the ef­fect on the tuna was quite splen­did, par­tic­u­larly when fin­ished with a rich but­ter sauce.

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