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Zarandeado Fish: the best Mexican dish in our bay

Our country is one of the richest in terms of gastronomy. Each region has different styles and delicious dishes that represent them, however our bay brings together the best of the best. The shaken fish is a sample of this.

Puerto Vallarta is classified as "the gourmet city" of Mexico. It houses six of the ten best haute cuisine restaurants in the country. Renowned culinary festivals are held here, such as: the Gourmet Festival, Vallarta-Nayarit Gastronomy and Restaurant Week; the latter, takes place right in mid-May. Standing out for the participation of great chefs at a national and international level that show the best gastronomy.

Vallarta-Nayarit: Two states with great culinary influence on the bay

In Bahía de Banderas, the kitchens of two states with a gastronomic influence in Mexico: Jalisco and Nayarit.

The part of Nayarit with its typical dishes based on fish and shellfish. In Jalisco, on the other hand, we find traditional meats such as the famous birria de res or borrego, the tortas ahogadas. Fish-based dishes also stand out: ceviche, cockroach shrimp and the famous zarandeado fish. Its writing with "S" or "Z" depends on the place of its origin, which is disputed between Nayarit and Sinaloa. Although according to the dictionary, the word shaken means: move a person or thing from one place to another with some violence.

The international touch that chefs from the bay add to the food in this region of the Mexican Pacific, make the Riviera Nayarit one of the most desirable gastronomic destinations internationally.


Zarandeado fish, a pre-Hispanic dish

The Zarandeado Fish has a pre-Hispanic origin, specifically on the island of Mexcaltitán; Nayarit, according to history. At that time, part of the state of Nayarit and southern Sinaloa were home to the Totorame people or ethnic group, with the western Sierra Madre as its eastern limit.

Like any traditional dish, each family claims to have the original recipe. However The best versions of zarandeado fish I've tried include Annatto diluted in orange juice and huichol sauce. Some people say that the Huichol sauce is what makes it different from the recipe that is cooked in Mazatlán, Sinaloa.

Normally the fish used for this delicious dish is Huachinango or dorado, although some people use Róbalo or Pargo. The original recipe mentions the use of mangrove wood for roasting it.

Recently, the magazine México desconocido, placed Pescado Zarandeado de Nayarit on the list of "The Best of Mexico 2019", in the category of best Mexican dish. Here is the recipe for our people and foreign friends to check the reason for the nomination.

Zarandeado Fish Recipe

1 Huachinango or Dorado fish, whole and cleaned

4 tablespoons of Axiote powder

1 guajillo and ancho chile

1/2 cup orange juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 onion

1 clove garlic

1 pinch of cumin


Add all the ingredients to the blender, except the fish. Spread the fish with the paste that was recently blended. Place the fish on the sieve or grill and put directly on the fire until it is cooked. Serve in tacos accompanied by mayonnaise, a touch of lemon and Huichol sauce.

It is also accompanied with rice, salad or steamed vegetables and bread with butter. Some recipes call for mayonnaise and mustard in the marinade, others call for soy sauce.

pescado zarandeado

Recommended places to eat Zarandeado Fish

Well, the easiest recipe to try to prepare at home is that of chef Paolo in Punta Mita. However, if you want to afford to eat it by the sea, I honestly prefer to go to “La langosta loca” in the heart of Vallarta. “Fernando Restaurant” in San Vicente, Nayarit it has taken the ovation. And what about “Mariscos Titis” in the community of Jarretaderas.

If you have not yet tried this ancestral culinary delight, which has to tell about our roots, don't think twice and take a weekend getaway. And if you are preparing your trip to our beautiful bay, write it down on your priority list, the zarandeado fish is a dish that is definitely worth savoring.


Ana Espinoza