Traversing Yucatan’s wide culinary world

Mon. May 29, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

The culinary scene in the Yucatan Peninsula is influenced by Mayan culture and traditional Spanish dishes. Many already know quintessential Mexican ingredients such as cheese, tomato and lettuce used in dishes served with tortillas, beans and plantains.

Panuchos are made with corn masa and topped with these ingredients after frying.

Conchinita pibil is a common slow-roasted pork dish set inside banana leaves and lime soup is wildly popular in this region made with chicken or turkey in a lime broth accompanied by spices.

Tourists can find much of this cuisine offered in restaurants outside of Cenotes such as Los Arcos en Hacienda Selva Maya, which is a perfect stop close to Chichen Itza.

Cenote Hacienda Mucuyche is another place for lunch after swimming and the grounds are worth exploring to see ruins of the plantation from the past.

To dine right by the waterside try Ria Maya for some fantastic seafood. Being a fishing town one can expect items to be fresh and recently acquired. Order up the entire fish and enjoy red salsa to enhance the flavor.

For dinner in Valladolid, Conato is hip and trendy with live music at times and outdoor seating inside a closed courtyard. Festive drinks add flare to a menu carrying items like the previously mentioned conchinita pibil and delicious pasta.

Seek out Holoch, C. 64 472, Parque Santa Lucia, Centro, a restaurant that presents a menu packed with creativity and experimentation. The venue is named after protective corn leaves and dried husks are reflected in the decor. The staff will take diners on a journey beginning with pork belly guacamole as an appetizer and ending with coconut flan for dessert. In between swim into the seafood selection for main dishes such as yellowfin tuna, clams, shrimp and octopus.

These are just a few examples of restaurants that keep their menu offerings simple and well-organized. Chefs sometimes try a new spin on recipes but eventually, give in to the longtime cooking traditions of their Yucatan ancestors. Look for options, such as ceviche and tortilla chips, that pair well with the heat and beach vibe in this beautiful area of Mexico. Take your stomach on a gastronomical tour as you traverse the vast peninsula of the Yucatan.