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Torta ahogada
Place of originMexico
Region or stateGuadalajara
Main ingredientsBirote salado bread (or bolillo depending on availability), sauce (dried chili peppers), fried pork or chicken or beans

A torta ahogada (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtoɾta aoˈɣaða], drowned submarine sandwich) is a typical dish from the Mexican state of Jalisco, particularly in the city of Guadalajara.[1] Although it is popular in some other parts of Mexico, it is most popular in Guadalajara. It is called "drowned" because the sandwich is submerged totally or partially in a sauce consisting of vinegar, cumin, and a dried chili pepper called chile de árbol.[2] Less spicy versions of the sandwich, made with a tomato-based sauce, are also available.


Torta ahogada

Tortas ahogadas are made with birote bread, characteristic of the region. Specifically, they are made with birote salado (Mexican sourdough bread), which has a thick, crunchy crust and softer interior, which is more salty than sweet. The consistency of the bread permits the sandwich to be submerged in sauce without crumbling or dissolving (which usually happens if using bolillo), so it's crunchy and moist at the same time.[3]

Legend has it that when the French invaded Guadalajara in 1864, a French Sergeant, Camille Perrault, wanted to teach the Guadalajarans how to make French bread, but didn't have any yeast. The warm, wet climate enabled him to make sourdough, however, so what they ended up with was Jalisco's unique birote bread.[4]

The bread is sliced open on one side and the sandwich is filled with shredded pork (or carnitas), refried beans, and onions.[5] Fillings of chicken and cheese are sometimes available. The sandwiches are often served with onion rings, radishes, avocados and chili peppers.

The sauce can be either spicy or mild. The first is based on ground arbol chilies, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and other spices. Sweet sauce, which is considerably less spicy, is made of red tomatoes and chili peppers. If the sandwich is ordered "media ahogada" or "half drowned", it is dipped partially in the sauce. If the sandwich is "bien ahogada" or "well drowned", the bread and meat are completely submerged in the sauce until no bubbles emerge.

It is traditional to eat tortas ahogadas in Estadio Jalisco, the football stadium in Guadalajara, in spite of the difficulty in consuming them. They are usually eaten with bare hands, even though tortas ahogadas are messy due to the large amount of sauce used. This delicacy is usually available from street vendors, but it can also be found in restaurants. The origin of the torta ahogada was an accident, according to local lore, when a street vendor, De La Torre at Tortas Ahogadas El Güero dropped a sandwich into salsa.[6][4] The legacy of the original stand continues at Tortas Ahogadas El Güerito.[7]

The torta ahogada is often said to hold a special place in the hearts of many people who are from Guadalajara or have spent time there. Some people go to great lengths to seek out tortas ahogadas in places outside of the region. The people from Guadalajara claim that no one really visits Guadalajara without making a stop to try a torta ahogada.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Guadalajara". Somewhere Street. Japan. September 2012. NHK World. Retrieved September 1, 2016.[dead YouTube link]
  2. ^ "Torta ahogada (Drowned Sandwich)". Taste Atlas.
  3. ^ José R. Ralat (3 Jan 2020). "Ro-Ho Pork & Bread's Torta Ahogada Is a Taste of Guadalajara That's Part Science and Part Art". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 18 Apr 2023.
  4. ^ a b Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico (17 Apr 2023). "This legendary sandwich was created by accident" (Video (2:23)). CNN Tasting the World.
  5. ^ Sofia Navarro (17 Apr 2023). ""Tortas Ahogadas" an essential gastronomic element of Guadalajara". The Yucatan Times.
  6. ^ Ahluwalia, Deepi (9 June 2016). "The Origin of the Torta Ahogada". Life and Thyme. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  7. ^ Pepple, Steve. "Where to find Tortas Ahogadas in Guadalajara". Vibemap. Vibemap. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Ode to the Torta Ahogada". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved Aug 18, 2009.

Further reading