“It smells like choquía”, what is it and what is the origin of this ‘peculiar’ smell? – The Sun of Tampico

It is difficult to describe, however, when we hear that word we immediately remember its aroma. The expression “smells like choquía” we have heard it to refer to a peculiar smell And it’s very Mexican.


The choquía or chuquía, as it is also called, is that unpleasant smell which is described as having an odor of eggs or spoiled food.

This pungent aroma it can be detached from a poorly washed floor, as well as from glasses, dishes, pans and other kitchen utensils that did not receive a correct cleaning or that did not dry well. Likewise, the surfaces where certain meat was handled, like the fishcan be impregnated with this peculiar smell.

In general, the smell of choquía occurs when the jargons or fibers with which we wash have traces of fat or food, or when our soapy mixture has not been changed for days.


According to the Royal Spanish Academy, the term “Shock” is used as “stinky smell” OR “horrible”. Similarly, it states that either as choquía or chuquía, the word is used both in Mexico and in Central American countries.

How did this word get there? The explanation lies in its origin. The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mexican Gastronomy records that choquía or chuquiya comes from the Nahuatl word hoquializtli”, which refers to something stinky or smelly. Let us remember that the Nahuatl language spread in pre-Columbian times in countries south of the Mexican territory.

For its part, in the Dictionary of Nahuatl in Mexican Spanish, it is stated that in some regions of Veracruz such as Meyacapan and Tatahuicapan de Juárez is used “xoquiyah”, which means to have an unpleasant odor like fish, shellfish, for “shock”, sea shell; and “iyac” for smelly thing.


Although well known, fortunately this aroma it is easy to eradicate by following many home recipes. In the case of cups and glasses and other kitchen utensils, add the juice of the lemons that you have left over to your container with soap. You can also put a splash of chlorine on it and with that the smell will disappear when washing.

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For floors with choquia smell, you have to wash again, but add a splash of white vinegar and baking soda to your mop bucket, give it a couple of passes and it will be clean, without bad odors.