One of the first things many visitors want to explore when they come to Albuquerque is the unique Albuquerque cuisine. New Mexican cuisine is what our state is known for. Its defining ingredient? Chile. Chile comes in two varieties: red or green. Which one you will prefer is up to your palate. Don’t like spicy foods? No problem. Albuquerque restaurants include brick oven pizzerias, pit-smoked barbecue joints, Vietnamese cafés or prime steakhouses. You want vegetarian, Mediterranean, Italian, Spanish, Greek or Chinese? We've got it.
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For nearly 500 years, cooks here have been blending Native American foods—like blue corn and squash—with chile peppers, wheat flour, pork and other ingredients the Spanish settlers brought with them from Europe and Mexico to make what we now know as New Mexican Cuisine. Today, the smoke-kissed flavor of freshly roasted green chiles and the earthy fruitiness of red chile sauce are essential to our favorite dishes, like breakfast burritos, stacked enchiladas and stuffed sopaipillas.
You'll quickly learn to answer your server's question at Albuquerque restaurants, "Red or green?" with authority. Say "Christmas" if you want to sample both red and green chile, and don't be afraid to ask for the chile on the side if you're not sure. For an authentic taste of Native American fare, head to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center for a sample of fry bread, posole (hominy stew with chile) and other traditional feast day foods.
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With an official cuisine all our own, you can bet that we have food festivals...and wine festivals...and beer festivals to explore. Visitors love sampling the flavors of New Mexico through culinary events.
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While food is essential to a healthy diet, we mustn't forget about the wine (or beer)! Spanish missionaries planted the first grape vines in New Mexico in 1629, making the Rio Grande Valley the oldest wine making region in the country. Patrons 21 and older will love touring and tasting their way through our local wineries and breweries or enjoying the local wine and beer at one of Albuquerque's restaurants. There are new locations popping up all of the time, so be sure to test one out while you’re in town. Local tour companies are also offering wine and beer tasting tours on a regular basis. Check out the Calendar of Events to learn more.
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Only a handful of states have adopted official dishes or desserts, and New Mexico is one of them. While in town, be sure to stop by a local bakery and enjoy a biscochito, our anise-flavored state cookie. Want to attempt to make your own? Here is a recipe.
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Before you make your way to Albuquerque - or after your visit - consider trying your hand at a few favorite New Mexican recipes. We have recipes for everything from guacamole and chile con queso to green chile enchilladas and biscochitos, the state’s official cookie.
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Albuquerque's Green Chile Named Most Iconic Regional Food in America
USA Today's 10Best.com
Among Top 10 American Cities that Brew the Best Beer
Among 10 Best US Cities For Local Food
Top 10 Foodie Cities
Gruet Winery's Brut named to list of Top 50 Sparkling Wines to Try Before You Quit Drinking
"New Mexico made history as the first state to appoint an official state cookie." Our biscochitos are a popular regional dessert as described in "The USA's Best Regional Desserts" article.