Colourful street in Oaxaca MexicoExterior of Wahaca Southbank

You say Wahaca, we say Oaxaca

24th January 2022

At Wahaca we’re all about bringing you Mexican street food that’s sustainable and planet-friendly, as well as being totally delicious. The source of our inspiration is the vibrant and exciting tastes and flavours of Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s the go-to destination for some of the best street food in the whole of Mexico and is the place that inspired our co-founders, Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby, to open their very first restaurant back in 2007.  

So, you might be asking why we call our restaurants Wahaca and not Oaxaca. The fresh ingredients and vibrant Mexican flavours hark back to the land that captured our imagination all those years ago, but we don’t pretend to recreate exactly the same experience. Our food and our name are inspired by Oaxaca, but made with the planet in mind and using ingredients sourced from much closer to home – and, therefore, with a spelling to match! 

Oaxaca as a city keeps evolving and changing, just as its name has over the years. In the indigenous Mexican language Nahuati the area we now know as Oaxaca was called Huaxyacac. Later under Spanish settlement it changed to Guaxaca and then over time it evolved to Oaxaca. When Mark and Tommi were exploring a name for their first restaurant somewhere in the UK, honouring and inspired by Oaxaca and made with the best local and freshest ingredients they could find, they went to the Embassy of Mexico in London to make sure they had their blessing to use a reimagined spelling of Oaxaca that would trip easily off the British tongue. They loved it, and the name stuck. 

So, we say Wahaca, but our inspiration remains in Oaxaca. If you get a chance to visit, taste and be inspired by the vibrancy and deliciousness of this amazing Mexican city and state for yourself, go for it. And hopefully you can continue feeding your inspiration with us at Wahaca once you’re back on British shores! 

Written by Beth Palmer

Passionate about Pork Pibil tacos, Beth is Wahaca's Senior Brand Manager, often spotted with her dog Seb by her side.

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