Mexico is a country with massive diversity and the food reflects that as you travel around the different states. One of the most renowned regions in the country for food is the Yucatan. The Mayan influence is obvious and the flavors are varied. Just be careful of those habañero chilis!
1. Cochinita Pibil
Cochinita Pibil is a whole pig that has been marinated in achiote, tomatoes, onions, and sour oranges before being wrapped in banana leaves and then cooked in a barbecue pit. The original Yucatan recipe was actually made from a whole deer, but you’ll be hard pressed to find that these days. The most common way to enjoy Cochinita Pibil is in a taco with pickled red onions on top.
Papadzules are corn tortillas filled with hard-boiled eggs and topped with tomato sauce and toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas). Sometimes the seeds are ground into a paste and made into a salsa.
3. Sopa de Lima
A dish you’ll no doubt find on every menu in the Yucatan, Sopa de Lima is a broth-based soup made from chicken stock and lima (similar to a lime, but not as sour). The soup is packed with chunks of chicken and slices of fried tortillas.
Panuchos are small, handmade corn tortillas that are stuffed with beans before being fried. They can be topped with anything from cochinita to chicken and usually topped with pickled red onion.
5. Queso Relleno
Queso Relleno is an indulgence and is best eaten as a shared starter. It is a whole, hollowed-out block of Edam cheese that is then stuffed with pork chunks, peppers, onions, tomatoes, raisin, capers, and olives. By the end of the meal, it’s usually like a beautifully delicious cheese dipping sauce.
6. Frijol con Puerco
Translated as beans with pork, Frijol con Puerco is a home-style recipe that is traditionally eaten on a Monday, but you can get it any day of the week at restaurants around the Yucatan. Beans are slow cooked with spices and chunks of pork and served with roasted tomato and habañero salsa.
7. Relleno Negro
Usually made with turkey (pavo), Relleno Negro consists of a dark sauce made from charred chilies and spices. It’s usually served with hard-boiled eggs and fresh tortillas to fill with all of the goodies.
8. Poc chuc
Poc Chuc is a really popular Yucatan dish that you’ll find in most Yucatan style restaurants around Mexico. It’s thin slices of pork in a sour orange and achiote sauce. The pork is slow roasted and tender and the sour and spicy sauce cuts through the meat perfectly.
Similar to Panuchos, except they aren’t stuffed with beans. Salbutes are handmade tortillas that are fried and topped with different meats and pickled red onions. They are a common appetizer in restaurants or can be found at street stalls around Merida and the surround Yucatan region.
Alcohol counts as a food, right? It certainly does in the Yucatan where you can have Xtabentun any time of day. This thick liqueur is made from fermented honey, a local flower called Moon flower, and a touch of anise seed.