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Dec 15, 2008 03:56 PM

I Can Yucatan ? (Food Recommendations)

To say that I am excited about my upcoming trip to the jewel of Mexico, Quitana Roo, would be the understatement of my 26 year old life. So far our itinerary includes, Cancun (for the first night), Tulum, Coba, Uxmal, Merida, Vallodolid and the two big biosferas (Sian Ka'an and Lagartos). My preliminary research hasn't come up with any conclusive answers and I was hoping that the all knowing board could help.

Cancun: I know to avoid the hotel zone and go to el centro. I am a huge fan of open air markets and would not be opposed to sampling. Is there a Cancun specialty? (No, I'm not talking about Senor Frogs)

Tulum: El Tabanero has popped up twice and so has Playa Margherita--though I doubt I'll really be in the mood for Italian in the Corona-ad tulum. Another chowhounder has also recommending looking out for the lechon, which I will definitely keep in mind.

Coba and Uxmal: Really at a loss here since its little more off the beaten path. Any and all recommendations would be duly welcomed.

Merida: I'm not worried about finding great food in Merida, but I've heard about bars that require a drinking tab and then keep bringing delicious appetizers--this sound like a great way to sample the local cuisine. We are also planning to spend New Years in Merida, are there any recommendations of restaurant/bar/zocalo that is action filled?

Vallodolid: Again, not much in the way of recommendations here. Any and all would be duly welcomed.

Thank you and I'll be sure to post report once I return!

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    1. In Vallodolid you are going to want to seek out their Loganiza de Vallodolid its a special choricoesque sausage from this town.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kare_raisu

        Oo, any more details about this type of encased meat? I love sausage.

        1. re: Eaterlover

          Its principal falvorings are achiote and sour orange which are unique to the peninsula.

      2. I have at least two new places to try after some internet searches.

        Uxmal: The Pickled Onion (its mentioned a few times by french tourist on trip advisor)
        Merida: (I'm obsessed with this building!


        Any other ideas?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Eaterlover

          On Mondays you should seek out the special dish known as Frijol con puerco - a Yucatecan feijoada if you will. Its traditionally served this day only.

          I would also be on the look out for Xtabentun which is an anise-honey liqeor based on a mayan and spanish nobleman's recipes.

          Relleno Negro and papadzules should be on top of your list as they are the most unique dishes of the area.

          Dont dismiss Poc -Chuc - the thin grilled pork dish - just because it sounds boring. A well made Poc chuc is incredible - it even reminds me slightly of vietnamese dishes.

          The place you mentions name escapes me - I think it starts with an A.. Its a Lebanese owned botana bar off the central plaza in Merida - do go there.

          The Yucatecan 'tapas' or Antojitos you cannot leave without eating are:
          - Vaporcitos

          Be on the look out for Zapote negro - a black fruit.

          If i were you - I would do some hounding for us. Just look for places where you see a lot of Yucatecos. Ask your taxi drivers, hotel personnel where they eat.

          Let them know that: " Quiero Comida Casera, algo muy tipico de este ciudad, area."
          "Donde comen la gente cuando lo quieren frijol con puerco?" "Donde puedo encontrar lo mejor _____ {conchinita} etc?"

          1. re: kare_raisu

            I had to look up all the dishes that you recommended and am dutifully labeling in my travel notebook, but everything sounds delishious. I also found some other resources I wanted to share on the board, there's this expat guide about living in Merida and some of the restaurants sound like they're worth trying.

            Best Fine Dining Around Merida:
            Best Litte Taco Stand in Merida:
            Best Restaurants Near Merida's Zocalo:

            Of course, I dunno if these people are chowhounders (so include a grain of salt) :D

            1. re: Eaterlover

              If you're only going to be in Cancun for the night, then there are plenty of good places to go for tacos. Since Cancun residents are from all over the country, there's really no specialty persay. But since it's urban and most people work late late late, you can find lots of good antojitos accompanied by beer. My favorites: Super Carne (on Coba near intersection with Palenque); Le Bons (in Mercado 28); and various places on Av Yaxchilan (El Poblano, which has several other locations, El Asador, and Los Arcos).

              My absolute favorite breakfast in Cancun comes from the bus station. There is a pair of women who sell tacos (I prefer those to the ones sold by the cart run by the men). Camaron empanizado is their specialty, but they are all delcious and they also have nopal, frijol, and two kinds of salsa as toppings. Right next to them is a little Yucatecan man who sells fresh squeezed orange juice and huge fruit plates for about 12 pesos. There is also a Yucatecan woman who sells tamales, panuchos, salbutes, but I rarely am in the mood for panuchos in the morning.

              In Valladolid, I recommend El Payaso, which has great seafood botanas. I also like the tacos de lomito which are sold just outside the cathedral. You can get good papadzules in El Bazaar.

              The thing about Valladolid is that most Yucatecos eat their regional specialties at home and rarely ever go out to eat. Of course, I can't speak for people with a bit more money, but people from villages around Valladolid would probably never go OUT to eat frijol con puerco, mechado, etc. That's why in Valladolid you'll find lots of stands that sell really good tacos de cochinita or relleno but any restaurant that has a lot of these regional specialities cater to tourists or people with more $.

              So the answer to "where would i find good comida casera" in the interior would be "pues, en casa." Yucatecas pride themselves on being able to cook daily and look down on areas such as Cancun where work schedules interfere with meal time so this is why good comida casera for sale is easier to find in Cancun than Valladolid. And "where do people who want frijol con puerco go?" would be answered by "to my house."

        2. in merida! book a table in nectar food & wine! im a danish chef and i worked there once.. say hello from christian from denmark to the chef/owner roberto ! im sure you will not be dissapointed! new style mexican/mayan with only local ingredients, wild herbs and organic mayan meet!


          1. Good authentic, inexpensive Yucatecan food is very easy to find in Merida. We have eaten at some of the higher end restaurants also, but you don’t have to in order to have a great meal.

            We enjoy eating at the food booths in Parque Santiago and the booths in the park at the corner of Calle 47X60 several times without any problems. These are permanent stand and offer a good menu.

            Another good choice for meals are the cocinas economicas located throughout the city. A cocinas economica has a simple menu posted outside and is served in someone’s house to a small restaurant that seems to change daily and is very inexpensive.

            Of course you can always go to a “local” cantina and try some free plates of Botanas with your cold beer.

            The place we like the best, (and have tried several times without a disappointment) is Marlin Azul on Calle 62 between 57X59. It is a small place with only 4 tables and 8 stools at the counter. They only serve seafood. Our favorite is the fish fillet served many, many styles and is only $40 pesos and comes with salad and rice!

            We have eated plenty of diverse places for the past two weeks, and our health is great with no far!

            Buen Provecho