Cancun/Riviera Maya Seafood Specialities
My fiancee and I are getting married at a resort in the Riviera Maya during the month of October. The Chef at the resort has offered to cook us any meal we want to celebrate the occasion. I am wondering what seafoods are fresh and particularily tasty in the region. Are there any unique/special preparations we should ask for?
The signature local fin fish and their preparation would include: whole fried boquinette (hogfish), a mild vegetarian reef fish and my favorite. I get it with a side of veracruz sauce. One resto in Akumal serves it with a crunchy garlic sauce. Next would be huachinango (mangrove or red snapper), usually served as fillets with Veracruz sauce. Mero (grouper) is good, but ask to see the whole fish first. That is not a rude request. You want a grouper, whether black, red, or nassau, less than 20 inches in length. Large nassau grouper have little flavor. Also, much is sold as grouper that isn't. Redfish baked with achiote, onions and sweet chilies in banana leaves is truly authentic Yucatan fare, but has all but disappeared.
As for shellfish, spiny lobsters are delicious when well prepared, but are ridiculously overpriced there. Conch are available but not plentiful (moreso in Cozumel and Puerto Morelos). I like it grilled with garlic (caracol al mojo de ajo). I especially like conch ceviche, or mixed ceviche with conch, octopus, and shrimp. Shrimp are not local, all have been frozen and are likely from Veracruz. Grilled fresh octopus with a chipotle dry rub, as done at Negrosal in PDC, is extraordinary but not widely available. Crab (jaiba) is not local but appears in a few dishes. Mexican stone crab is distinctive in that it has more of a sawtooth edge in the claw, and a little hook to it. The season opens mid October.
I hope this helps a little. Have a nice marriage!