You may have seen bowls of fruit and candy drizzled with a mysterious ruby-red sauce all over your feed, and even though you don’t know what it is, your mouth won’t stop watering. Well, that mysterious sauce is called chamoy and it’s traditionally found in Mexican cuisine.
This versatile sauce is commonly used to add a sweet, spicy flavor to fruit like mango and watermelon, candy and beverages like micheladas or mangonadas. Chamoy derives from a salted, dried fruit — usually ume plants, sour green mangoes or, more popularly, tamarind pods. Though this sauce has become a staple in Mexican cuisine, according to Mashed.com, it originates from China.
Tracking back to the 1500s, Asian merchants brought various goods to Mexico, including the preserved plums that acted as the predecessor to chamoy. It wasn’t until the company Dulces Muguelito began manufacturing and selling chamoy sauce in 1971 that brought this sauce to the masses. Though Asian merchants introduced preserved plums, Mexican culture took creative liberty by adding different flavors undertones with lime juice and chili powder.
Chamoy isn’t new or groundbreaking as it’s been spicing up Mexican dishes for decades, but its newly garnered social media virality has catapulted the sauce to international fame. Now chamoy can be found anywhere from your local grocery store to Latin markets or Carnicerias and even online.
Though the options are endless, here’s a short list of local snack shops that offer a variety of chamoy-flavored snacks!
Ay Güey Mexican Snacks
Location: 3947 E. 120th Ave, Thornton and 3108 S. Parker Rd., Aurora
The Lowdown: This family-owned shop is the epitome of delicious Mexican snack shops in Colorado. It offers sweet treats from crepes and churros to ice cream and shakes. However sweet the menu gets, it gets even spicier and saltier with various Hot Cheeto sprinkled snacks from loaded potatoes, elote, nachos and loaded hot dogs where chamoy is featured. Ay Güey also sells Chamoy rim paste perfect for spicing up cocktails at home.
Que Rico! Raspado Y Snacks
Location: 7 S. Federal Blvd., Denver
The Lowdown: Tucked in the Valverde neighborhood, Que Rico! has earned a ton of online popularity for its chamoy and Hot Cheeto flavored snacks. One of their most popular dishes is an elote chorreado — made with esquites, mayonnaise, nacho cheese, Doritos, queso fresco, chamoy, Valentina and jalapeños.
Neveria La Mexicana
Location: 7506 E. 36th Ave, Denver
The Lowdown: Located in the Central Park neighborhood, Neveria La Mexicana is a Mexican restaurant that offers a long list of sweet and savory snacks from gelato and waffles to elote and nacho cheese topped Hot Cheetos. The menu’s featured chamoy-infused treats include mangonadas, mango and chile paletas (popsicles) and Diablitos — a Mexican spin on snow cones with fresh fruit homemade syrup, lime, chamoy and additional spices.
Location: 42 S. Broadway, Denver
The Lowdown: La Loteria is a fun and brightly colored taqueria serving tacos, carne asada fries and other traditional Mexican dishes. Chamoy doesn’t come into play with the food but it’s very prevalent throughout various alcoholic beverages. The Loteria michelada ($8) is made with Modelo Especial, house bloody mix, Tajin chamoy and a tamarind straw or the Jarritos margarita with tequila, chamoy and Tajin.
Location: 10101 E. Hampden Ave, Denver
The Lowdown: Located near the Kennedy Golf Course, this quaint Mexican snack shops offers a plethora of mango and chamoy popsicles, piña loco bowls and snow cones. Though the shop is aptly named Neveria Chamoy (chamoy ice cream shop), it also offers a few popular salty snacks from quesa barria tacos to Clamatos preparados.
Necio Mexican Kitchen
Location: 4001 Tejon St., Denver
The Lowdown: With an elevated food menu, Necio sprinkles chamoy throughout its cocktails instead. One of the restaurant’s most popular beverages is the Tamarindo margarita ($13) — with Exotico tequila, orange liqueur, blue agave, lime juice, tamarindo puree and garnished with a Mexican candy rim, tamarindo candy and lemon.
Location: 920 S. Federal Blvd., Denver
The Lowdown: Tiny strip malls often house some of the more unique Mexican snack shops. That’s the case with Los Mangos and its overflowing amount of chamoy-filled dishes from fresh mango cups to mangonadas and more. The menu also extends to savory drinks like Clamato preparados — made with Clamato, lime, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, various spices and topped with shrimp, spicy Tostios, ceviche, Tajin and chamoy.
Location: 12132 E. Mississippi Ave, Aurora
The Lowdown: Aurora is home to a diverse group of restaurants and snack shops including Neveria Jedany’s. Similar to most, this spot offers Chamoy-filled treats from pineapple fruit bowls to mango chamoy paletas. Be sure to also try some of the sweeter options like bubble waffles and smoothies!
Check out the rest of the articles in this series HERE.