Why the Central Valley is a Must-Visit for Mexican Food Lovers

A guide to the overlooked, out-of-this-world offerings in and around Highway 99.

Mexican fare is a favorite of food critics. From Southern California to Texas, and even New York, food forward writers are quick to point out their favorite venues for tacos, mole, sopes, carne asada and the entire menu of Mexican delights. But, oddly, Central California, a rich agricultural region with generations of Mexican heritage, barley causes a blip on the culinary radar. Why?

In a recent story for Eater LA, writer Gustavo Arellano admits, “Even I’ve ignored the Central Valley throughout my career — and I literally wrote the book about Mexican food in the United States. But after spending three days on Highway 99, eating from Bakersfield to Sacramento and back — from taco trucks to high-end restaurants, in rest stops and swap meets, from big cities to towns with barely 3,000 people — I am now a convert. And I’ll say it: Only Los Angeles and Houston — maybe — have better Mexican food scenes than the Central Valley.”

His journey takes him to Bakersfield, Frenso and several smaller towns, like Selma and Fowler, each stop offering a surprising and satisfying taste of  Mexican cuisine and family tradition.

Read about his incredible epicurean adventure here.

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