So. OXXO Is Mexico’s Health Food Store, No?

Sure it is. Then chicharrons are healthy

People often ask us old timers how Cabo was in the olden days. Well, it wasn’t that long ago, seems like 10 years or less, that we didn’t have any Oxxos. No 7/Eleven, no quickie stores of any kind. Now we have an Oxxo on every block. They’re professionally run convenience stores that have grown like a monster to take the place of small stores, often on the corner of every neighborhood block, and often out of someone’s house. But those stores were poorly stocked, poorly organized, poorly run, and you could never count on finding what you need just because you found it there last week.

Enter Oxxo,  a Mexican chain founded in 1977 and now with14,000 stores in Latin America. It is the largest chain of convenience stores in Mexico and  is owned by the beverage company FEMSA. They started the first stores to sell their  Cuauhtémoc brand of beer, bypassing the traditional Mexican network of local wholesalers. In the first stores, the only products sold were beer, snacks and cigars. The success of the stores was such that the project kept growing and OXXO built new locations rapidly, becoming an ubiquitous presence in Mexican cities and towns. No, not just here in Los Cabos, the blighters are everywhere.

FEMSA also operates the largest independent Coca-Cola bottling group in the world and the largeststorein Mexico. It is also the second largest shareholder ofInternational.

Now that Mexico is liberalizing its oil and gas market, (at least it is until the new President comes to office December 1), OXXO has started to open gas stations as well. Oxxo Gas plans to rebrand 49 additional stations this year, mostly in Monterrey on the mainland. These stations are currently operating under the Pemex name

So let’s get back to the favorite snack offered in our Oxxos: Chicharron are made from pig skin and pig fat, so right off the bat we know this isn’t going to enhance our health. In addition to the dried up, crispy curly treat in a cellophane bag, street vendors often sell chicharrons inside a tortilla and call it Tacos de chicharró. It’s sometimes served with avocado and  those are more healthy, although it adds even more fat to the snack. Piling on creamy cheese and sometimes hot sauce tops off your indulgence.

However! Barcel Sabritas has commercialized vegetarian versions of chicharron, primarily made of puffed cornmeal. Of course they’re not gaining so much traction as the piggy skins.