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One of the first things many visitors want to explore when they come to Albuquerque is the city's unique cuisine. Its defining ingredient? Chile. Chile comes in two varieties: red or green, with preferences for one or the other depending on individual palates. Don’t like spicy foods? No problem. Albuquerque restaurants span everything from brick-oven pizzerias to pit-smoked barbecue joints, Vietnamese cafés and prime steakhouses. Dining options include vegetarian, Mediterranean, Italian, Spanish, Greek and Chinese cuisine.

What Is New Mexican Cuisine?

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 that the Spanish settlers brought with them from Europe and Mexico. The result is 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, such as breakfast burritos, stacked enchiladas and stuffed sopaipillas.

You will quickly learn to answer your Albuquerque server's question of "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 to sample frybread, posole (hominy stew with chile) and other traditional feast day foods.

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Savor the Flavor during Annual Events

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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Heard It Through the Grapevine ... or Wheat Field

While food is essential to our existence, we mustn't forget about the wine and beer! Spanish missionaries planted the first grapevines 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 Albuquerque's restaurants. There are new locations popping up all the time, so be sure to test one out while you’re in town. Local tour companies also offer wine- and beer-tasting tours on a regular basis. Check out the Calendar of Events to learn more.  

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Take a Bite out of New Mexico’s Official State Cookie

Only a handful of states have adopted official dishes or desserts; 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 you can try at home. 

Learn More about Albuquerque Bakeries »

New Mexican Cooking at Home

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 enchiladas and biscochitos.

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Culinary Resources: