Typical Yucatecan dishes are made with an exquisite mixture of numerous native ingredients and flavors, as well as the elements brought by the Spanish during the time of the Colony, and later influences from the Caribbean, the Middle East, South America and Asia. For this reason, most dishes have its own fascinating story.
Yucatecan cuisine maintains its international reputation due to a unique collection of condiments and spices, such as pumpkin nuggets, oregano, purple onion, sour orange, sweet pepper, lime, annatto, xcatic chili, habanero chili, coriander and others, which when combined give a very distinctive flavor to the food of this region.
Here are some highly recommended dishes to try if you visit Yucatan:
Poc Chuc (source: Wikimedia Commons)
Roasted pork, marinated with warm water and salt, served with chopped roasted onions and sauce called X’nipec (‘dog nose’), consisting of sour orange juice, tomato, onion, and cilantro.
Panuchos (source: Food Network)
Handmade corn tortilla, fried and stuffed with black beans, shredded turkey or chicken meat, lettuce, purple onion, and X’nipec sauce.
Brazo de Reina (Queen’s arm)
Brazo de Reina (source: youtube).
The queen’s arm, or dzotobichay as it’s called in the Mayan language, is a typical dish made of corn, tree spinach, eggs, pumpkin seeds and tomato. Its presentation is like a giant tamal, wrapped in banana leaf, bathed in a sauce made with tomato and Mexican tea, which is sliced to serve. It is very common during Lent and on the day of the dead.
Cochinita Pibil (Pibil pork)
Cochinita Pibil (source: SeriousEats)
Pork meat marinated in annatto, sour orange juice, garlic, salt, and pepper, wrapped in banana leaves and baked under the earth with hot stones.
Frijol con Puerco (Beans with pork)
Frijol con Puerco (source: CochinitaCountry)
Pork cooked in beans, served with rice, accompanied by chiltomate (peppers and tomato sauce) or chilmole (roasted pepper paste), radish, coriander and purple onion.
Relleno Negro (Black Stuffing)
Relleno Negro (source: TheLondonFoodie)
Turkey meat cooked with a black paste of condiments of the region (chilmole), served in tacos or sandwiches.
Papadzules (source: Picssr)
Egg tacos wrapped in a paste of ground pumpkin seeds, tomato sauce, and onion.
Queso Relleno (Stuffed cheese)
Queso Relleno (souce: Flickr)
Gouda cheese stuffed with minced meat with almonds, raisins, olives, capers, red pepper and various condiments, bathed in pebre (green chili sauce) and tomato sauce.
Pollo Mukbil (Mukbil chicken)
Pollo Mukbil (source: LarousseCocina)
Chicken meat in a basket of corn paste (nixtamalized corn), wrapped in banana or henequen leaves. It is the traditional food of Hanal Pixan, the food offering of the Day of the Dead, on November 2nd.
Huevos motuleños (Eggs Motul style)
Huevos Motuleños (source: SimplyRecipes)
Two fried eggs on a toast covered with refried black beans, tomato sauce, chopped ham and cubes of panela cheese, served with slices of fried plantain.
Deer Tzic (Tzic de Venado)
Deer Tzic (source: ChaiByTheFjord)
Cooked and shredded deer meat with tomatoes, radishes, chopped coriander, and onion, with sour orange juice, seasoned with habanero chile and salt.
Sopa de lima (Lime soup)
Lime Soup (source: SeriousEats)
A broth with a citric touch that comes from the lime, usually accompanied by chicken, tomato, red pepper, coriander, totopos and more ingredients that give it a sensational flavor.
Marquesitas (source: EverythingPlayaDelCarmen)
Let’s end on a sweet note! Crunchy sweet crepes made with ice cream cone batter (similar to a waffle cone) and filled with two or three savory add-ins of your choice: Nutella, milk caramel, sweet condensed milk, banana, strawberry and Edam cheese. If you have a sweet tooth, you might find it hard to stop eating these.