Five things not to miss in Puebla, Mexico for Cinco de Mayo (or any other day)

Cholula, Mexico

Cinco de Mayo is not just a day to score cheap tacos and margaritas. It commemorates a military victory over the French army during the Franco-Mexican war in Puebla in 1862. If you’re in Puebla, a 90-minute drive from Mexico City, on May 5, you’ll be swept up by the annual re-enactment, grand parade and festive concerts.

1) The 5 de Mayo memorial and museum

In the middle of a busy throughway on a hill overlooking the city sits a modernist stone monument decorated with bronze sculptures to memorialize the site where General Ignacio Zaragoz defeated the French at the famous battle of Puebla. While it’s an impressive sight, especially lit up at night, the best way to truly learn how the Mexican army won the day on May 5, 1862 is to visit the nearby twin forts of Loreto and Guadalupe.

Also in the area is an interactive museum that uses touch screens, 3D projections and downloadable content to transport visitors back in time to this pivotal clash that has become a symbol of Mexican defiance.

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Travellers have an appetite for Mexico

MEXICO CITY — “You weren’t expecting a place like this in the ‘Third World’,” says my guide with tongue firmly planted in cheek as we eat dinner at Sud 777, a haute-cuisine restaurant in Mexico’s capital that has been voted not only one of the Top 50 restaurants in Latin America, but one of the best of the world

My dining companion isn’t just any guide, either. Introducing me to the city’s food scene is Cecilia Núñez, the well-travelled editor of Food and Travel Mexico, the Spanish-language edition of the British magazine that explores culinary trends happening in every corner of the world. She also appears regularly on radio in Mexico and was a judge for Top Chef México.

Cecilia thinks too many visitors have stereotyped views of her country and its food and wants me to know that it’s even more rich and varied than I can imagine. It is my first night on my first visit to Mexico City and Cecilia has

driven me through the sprawling city’s notorious traffic to this restaurant which lies in Jardines del Pedregal, an affluent and leafy southern neighbourhood that is a good distance from downtown.

On the way, Cecilia explains to me that the food scene in Mexico is a bit like the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacán, for which the city is famous. On the top, there are fine-dining establishments like Sud 777, in the middle are everyday restaurants serving every type of cuisine you can think of and at the base are the street food vendors and market stalls that are ubiquitous throughout the country.

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