It’s safe to say that red chile is as much of a staple in New Mexico as green chile.
Across our beautiful city of Albuquerque, red chile manifests itself in so many different ways. Some red chile recipes are good, some are even better, but what sets them all apart is how they’re prepared – and there’s no one right way to make a great red chile. Some are made to pack a serious punch in the spiciness department, and some that are milder but have a nice aroma of garlic, salt and pepper that make you keep grabbing chip after chip.
From spicy to perfectly seasoned, here is a list of the top 5 red chiles in Albuquerque for your taste buds.
Little Anita’s is a well-known tourist destination for its New Mexican comfort food.
The red chile has a very dark maroon color, different to most red chiles around town. When brought to the table, the initial scent is a tantalizing aroma similar to a tomato bisque. When it hits the tongue the flavor is rich with salt which tends to dry out the mouth. The spice-factor isn’t necessarily spicy, but full of black pepper and other spices.
If you’re someone who doesn’t love their mouth being on fire, and enjoys keeping life simple with just some salt and pepper, then this red chile might just suit you.
Frontier is a classic University of New Mexico staple for good food at a decent price.
Their red chile is a deep red that packs an initial punch in spice and scent, but doesn’t linger so you can continue to eat as much as your heart desires. The red chile is thicker than normal which allows the chip to scoop up more than expected. The flavor doesn’t have any sweetness to it, but it has a nice combination of spices to enhance the natural flavor of the red chile.
If you like chile that allows you to get a solid chip-to-chile ratio, then this is your best bet.
Cocina Azul is a pricier restaurant in the Albuquerque area that specializes in authentic New Mexican cuisine.
The red chile is similar to the previous two in color, while being a bit thick and almost powdery in texture. The aroma is smoky which is reflected by its aftertaste. The flavor was sweet with a hint of salty, but tough to taste due to the extreme spiciness. The heat is not gringo-friendly as it left our noses running.
If you love super spicy and smoky flavors, then this is your chile.
Monroe’s New Mexican food has been an Albuquerque staple serving traditional New Mexican food since 1962.
The Monroe’s red chile had a creamy texture like a tomato soup, but with deep flavor. It wasn’t too sweet, but it had enough sweetness to enhance the flavor of the chiles, allowing it to persist between bites. The red chile had somewhat of a bell curve of flavor – beginning with initial taste, then moving into some spiciness, and finally hitting your taste buds with a full flavor. It left our noses clear and taste buds intact. This chile is very gringo-friendly, but New Mexicans enjoy it for its full-bodied flavor.
If you aren’t into a ton of heat, but you love the wonderful flavors and aromas that red chile has to offer, then this is the chile for you. Order a jar here.
Duran’s Central Pharmacy
Duran’s Central Pharmacy is a unique New Mexican restaurant popular with tourists and New Mexicans alike.
This red chile was creamy – similar to Monroe’s chile, but a bit runnier. The color was a brighter red-orange, different than the others we tried. The flavor was well-rounded, and had a nice balance between heat and taste. Not so gringo friendly, but the flavors blended well.
If you like some heat with your red chile, then this is it.
No matter what kind of heat you can handle, New Mexican food has something to offer everyone.
If you’re ready to embark on a flavor journey of New Mexico, or if you love chile so much you need to take some home, visit our shop today.