Culture

Chefs In Mexico City Have Created The World’s Largest Torta And It’s Truly Enormous

Granted, you probably thought that you’ve already confronted the world’s largest torta, thanks to your abuelita’s talents in the kitchen and propensity to stuff you full. But, you’d be mistaken if you thought that good ol’ abuela didn’t have some serious competition last week. That’s right, good people: we’re talking about the world’s largest torta.

What do you mean, abuelita’s got competition?

Youtube / @New China TV

Well, July 31 saw what was practically an army of chefs in Mexico City create a 236-foot torta. Basically, these geniuses took festival food to a new level – although, it would be pretty difficult to carry this torta in one hand. And, do you know how long it took for them to make it? Less than three minutes! At least you know who to call on next time you’ve got a grumbling stomach.

So…what was the point in all of this torta mayhem?

Instagram / @New China TV

A combination of local authorities and local businesses teamed up to put together the massive Mexican sandwich, which contained a combination of lettuce, onion and tomato, mixed with gallons upon gallons of mayonnaise, mustard, and spicy sauces. Each section of the torta was made by a different chef, who added a new signature flavor to the mix by using ingredients such as ham and seafood. The stunt culminated in not only the biggest torta ever made in Mexico, but the biggest torta made in the whole of Latin America. 

But why did it need to be so massive?

Instagram / @tortacompany

Sure, making a hella big torta is going to attract a crowd. Someone’s gotta eat it, once it’s been made, right? But, these torta chefs weren’t making the iconic Mexican sandwich for the fun of it – that’s only part of the story. Rather, it was a challenge that was part of a three-day annual torta fair organized by the local government in the Mexican capital. 

The hope in creating and executing a challenge as delectably iconic as this one was to try to draw attention to businesses in the region that specialize in the torta, and give them an economic boost. When previously interviewed about the event, locals have said, “What we want to do is to show people that the torta is very important. It’s important for our diet and we’re bringing together more than 100 (torta) businesses.” They’ve also stressed that the event is “… a good idea to bring tourism to Mexico City and to give an idea of our gastronomy, into what normal people eat daily.” 

But do we really need to have a conversation about the torta – it’s just a sandwich, right?

At the end of the day, while the torta functions very much like a sandwich, it’s anything but. Okay, maybe that’s being a little dramatic. But, it is part of Mexican culture. And, the torta does differentiate itself from being a plain ol’ sammich. It tends to be bigger in size, and actually has ingredients like avocados and refried beans on both the inside and outside of the sandwich. They can be heated, or eaten cold. The trick to a genuine torta is using bread that doesn’t fall apart under the weight and moistness of the ingredients. The businesses that participated in the event are part of preserving the secrets to a great torta.

The thing is, with the rise of fast food, consumer interest in tortas has declined. And, don’t get us wrong – some days, only a good McDonalds cheeseburger will suffice for those particularly nasty hangovers. However, less desire for tortas means that businesses suffer losses, and may potentially close. From there, less consumer access to tortas means that, again, consumer interest can then further decline. It’s a vicious cycle. But you know what? It may just be that making a gigantic torta is part of the process of revitalizing interest in the torta, and preserving cultural legacy.

Do you have any fond memories of devouring a Mexican torta? Or are you yet to try one? Let us know on Twitter – you can find us through the icon at the top of the page.

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This Mexican College Student Is Going Viral For Breeding the Largest Bunnies In the World

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This Mexican College Student Is Going Viral For Breeding the Largest Bunnies In the World

Photo via yakinkiro/Instagram

Look out Bad Bunny. There’s another breed of bunny in town that’s taking the internet by storm. A college student in Mexico recently went viral for the oddest thing. He has genetically engineered a strain of rabbits to be the largest in the world.

21-year-old Kiro Yakin has become a viral sensation after internet users have seen him with pictures of the giant bunnies he genetically engineered.

Yakin, a student at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla on the Xicotepec campus, is studying veterinary and animal husbandry. He began his experimentation by breeding two unique rabbit types together. The Flemish Giant rabbit and other, longer-eared bunnies that Yakin happened to notice. As a result, his monster-bunny was born.

According to Yakin, his experimental bunnies grow up to 22 pounds  Flemish Giant, while the average Flemish giant weighs 15 pounds. But make no mistake, Yakin’s bunny experiment was no accident. “It takes an average of 3 to 4 years to reproduce this giant species,” he told Sintesis.

Yakin’s ultimate goal is to breed a rabbit that can grow up to 30 pounds. “I am currently studying genetics to see how to grow this breed of giant rabbits more,” he said.

Yakin, who has had a soft spot for rabbits since he was a child (pun intended), now cares for a whopping fifty giant rabbits out of his parents’ home.

Luckily, his parents are supportive enough of his dream that they support their son (and his bunnies) financially. “I have the financial support and support of my parents to buy food a week for all 50 giant rabbits,” Yakin told Sintesis.

But he also admitted his project has a long way to go. “So far I have not set aside the time or budget that is required to start the project more seriously,” he said.

The only thing that’s preventing Yakin from committing all his time and energy to creating even bigger bunnies is–what else?–money.

Photo via yakinkiro/Instagram

Although he already submitted a proposal to his university to try and expand his research, as of now, he is self-financed. However, Yakin makes a bit of extra cash by selling the giant bunnies to private customers.

His ultimate goal though, is to open up a large, professional farm where he can breed and cross-breed his bunnies to his heart’s content.

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Mexicans Travel To U.S. For ‘Vaccine Tourism’ Say It’s A Matter Of Survival

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Mexicans Travel To U.S. For ‘Vaccine Tourism’ Say It’s A Matter Of Survival

The United States is one of the world’s most successful countries when it comes to rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine program. So far, more than 200 million vaccines have been administered across the U.S. and as of this week anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible.

Meanwhile, in many countries around the world – including Mexico – the vaccine roll out is still highly restricted. For many, who can afford to travel, they see the best option at a shot in the arm to take a trip to the U.S. where many locations are reporting a surplus in vaccines.

Wealthy Latin Americans travel to U.S. to get COVID vaccines.

People of means from Latin America are chartering planes, booking commercial flights, buying bus tickets and renting cars to get the vaccine in the United States due to lack of supply back in their home countries. Some of those making the trip include politicians, TV personalities, business executives and a soccer team.

There is an old Mexican joke: God tells a Mexican he has only a week left to live but can ask for one final wish, no matter how outrageous. So the Mexican asks for a ticket to Houston—for a second opinion.

Virginia Gónzalez and her husband flew from Mexico to Texas and then boarded a bus to a vaccination site. They made the trip again for a second dose. The couple from Monterrey, Mexico, acted on the advice of the doctor treating the husband for prostate cancer. In all, they logged 1,400 miles for two round trips.

“It’s a matter of survival,” Gónzalez told NBC News, of getting a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. “In Mexico, officials didn’t buy enough vaccines. It’s like they don’t care about their citizens.”

Mexico has a vaccine rollout plan but it’s been too slow in many people’s opinions.

With a population of nearly 130 million people, Mexico has secured more vaccines than many Latin American nations — about 18 million doses as of Monday from the U.S., China, Russia and India. Most of those have been given to health care workers, people over 60 and some teachers, who so far are the only ones eligible. Most other Latin American countries, except for Chile, are in the same situation or worse.

So vaccine seekers who can afford to travel are coming to the United States to avoid the long wait, including people from as far as Paraguay. Those who make the trip must obtain a tourist visa and have enough money to pay for required coronavirus tests, plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and other expenses.

There is little that is fair about the global race for the COVID-19 vaccine, despite international attempts to avoid the current disparities. In Israel, a country of 9 million people, half of the population has received at least one dose, while plenty of countries have yet to receive any. While the U.S. could vaccinate 70 percent of its population by September 2021 at the current rollout rate, it could take Mexico until approximately the year 2024 to achieve the same results.

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