A quesadilla (kay-suh-dee-yuh) is a popular savory Mexican turnover, stuffed with a cheese filling. The turnover is grilled or fried, using either flour or a corn tortilla. Served with guacamole and sour cream, this simple unleavened flatbread turnover remains a favorite snack of the Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.
The true quesadilla is made with masa dough. Masa is prepared from maize blanco (white field corn) that is dried and cured with limewater, after which it is ground into a fine cornmeal. This staple was passed down from the Mayans, Aztecs and a few other advanced cultures of the prehistoric Americas.
The purist prepares the quesadilla as a turnover and differentiate it from the sincronizada, which is made with two flour tortillas with the cheese wedged in between. Traditionally Chihuahua cheese is used, which is a white, mild, Mexican cheese, similar to a Monterey Jack. Chihuahua cheese was first produced by the Mennonite communities in the region of northern Mexico and is also referred to as queso menonita.
In the 15th century, when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the New World, the thin, flatbread portable pie was already a perfected staple of the Mesoamerican people. The Spanish gave the name quesadilla (little cheesy things) to the delicious dish.
As the Spanish influence infiltrated the New World, other ingredients were added to the cheese quesadilla such as chicken, beef, turkey, seafood and vegetables. The quesadilla evolved into a blend of the Old and New World traditions.
The further south you go, the more complex the quesadilla. Variations use potato and chorizo (pork sausage), Oaxaca cheese (white Mexican cheese with a string-like texture similar to mozzarella), mild to hot chilies, epazote (herb with a pungent flavor similar to a strong anise, fennel, or tarragon), sautéed flor de calabaza (squash blossoms), or huitlachoche (a delicacy made from an ambrosial fungi that grows on the corn blossoms).
The Salvadoran quesadilla is very different from the familiar Mexican cuisine as it uses heavier, dense bread and is served as a dessert with coffee. It is more like a pancake mixture of butter, eggs, flour, milk, Parmesan cheese, sour cream and sugar. The ingredients are baked in a shallow pan for 30 minutes. This savory dish is more common to the Guatemala and southern Mexico region.
Whether you prefer the original, simple cheese quesadilla, the more filling complexities of the Spanish meaty dishes, or choose to make your own creation with stuffing like ham, hamburger, sausage, mushrooms, refried beans, scrambled eggs, or salsa, you will be enjoying a delicious piece of history.
Quick Facts about Da Nang
Location – Central coast of Vietnam on the South China Sea
Weather – Warm, tropical climate with mild winter temperatures
Airport – Da Nang Airport (DAD) is located 2km from the city and 30km from Hoi An
Da Nang is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular tourist destinations. Known for its magnificent coastal settings, the long, white sand beaches are the main attraction here. Swaying palm trees and the vibrant blue waters of the South China Sea create the perfect backdrop in which to relax and unwind. After the beach, journey into the picturesque inland regions and explore limestone caves in the mountains or take a coastal drive to the ancient cities of Hue and Hoi An, where Vietnam’s rich history and culture come alive in spectacular fashion.
Getting to Know Da Nang
Located half way between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi on Vietnam’s beautiful east coast, Da Nang is Vietnam’s third largest city and gateway to the country’s tropical Central Region. In the past two decades Da Nang has seen considerable investment in local infrastructure, hotels and resorts. The city’s new airport is one of the country’s most modern, having opened in 2014. The history of Da Nang and central Vietnam extends back thousands of years, from the time of the great Hindu Champa Dynasty. Temple ruins and various archaeological sites from the ancient Cham city of Singhapura reveal the importance the region played in Vietnam’s culture, while the nearby imperial cities of Hue and Hoi An offer picturesque settings with ornate gates, palaces and temples. Centuries later, European pursuits brought with it French influences most notably in architecture and food. Today there are many fascinating buildings that feature a decidedly Parisian flair.