Oct 11, 2008, 2:20 PM
Post #8 of 11
BOTANAS are different in different parts of Mexico. Here where I currently live in Coahuila (northern Mexico) they are a large platter that can be ordered at one time for however many people are at table. For example, botanas for 4.
In Chiapas, where I first encountered and loved them the entire ambiance was different. This is similar to what you experienced.
In Chiapas, the places which serve this are usually large palapa-covered salons de fiesta. Many tables may seat 20-30 or more people each. Their liquor licenses run from about 1:00 in the aftenoon until 6-7:00. Even early in the afternoon there is live entertainment, from a simple table-hopping mariachi band to almost Vegas style floor shows with show girls, commediennes, ventriloquists, dance troops, wild animals, etc.
The protocol is this: as long as someone at the table orders a drink, another round of botanas is offered to everyone at table. Often the person at the head of the table is the oldest female and she may order an entire bottle of brandy or tequila, which is still probably not enough to go around more than once or twice! (She also pays the bill, though her esposo may give her the money.)
The list of dishes presented is awesome. Shrimp soup, fried seafood, sausages, guacamole, steamed fish, caldo de res, tinga, roast chicken, tamales in banana leaves, fajitas, mollejas, arroz, etc. If you can imagine it, it will probably come to your table--if you stay long enough, and most people do.
The price was the cost of the drinks. Plus something for the waiter and perhaps for the performers.