or many years, the Yucatan Peninsula was considered a hard-to-reach place because there were very few roads there and it was practically isolated from the rest of the country. Thanks to its ports, this region developed cultural and commercial trading with Cuba, New Orleans and several European countries. This trading influenced the Yucatan in such a way that it turned its cuisine into one of the most renowned in Mexico and the entire world.
Cocina Yucateca - Recados
Yucatan cuisine preserves its international fame thanks to the unique spices used in the elaboration of each dish, such as pumpkin seed powder, oregano, red onion, sour orange, sweet pepper, lime, a marinating paste known as "achiote" or "recado colorado", capsicum pepper (Xcat Ik), Habanero pepper, and coriander.
Cocina Yucateca - Cochinita Pibil
This region of Mexico was once known as "the Land of the Pheasant and the Deer", since the meat of both animals were used to a great extent in its cuisine. Nowadays, pheasant and venison have been substituted for turkey and pork respectively, giving birth to delicious dishes such as the very famous "cochinita pibil", which is pork wrapped in banana leaves, pit-baked in achiote sauce, sour orange, and spices, served with plenty of hot corn tortillas to make tacos.
If you visit the Yucatan, these are some other famous dishes you should try:
Cocina Yucateca - PapadzulesPanuchos: layered hand-made corn tortillas stuffed with beans, topped with shredded turkey or chicken, lettuce, red onion rings, and "xnipec" salsa (made of Habanero peppers, tomatoes, sour orange juice and salt).
Papadzules: chopped hard-boiled eggs wrapped in corn tortillas soaked in a pumpkin seed salsa, topped with tomato sauce and chopped Habanero pepper.
Lime Soup: a chicken or turkey vegetable soup flavored with lime and made nicely hot with a touch of Habanero pepper.
Chilmole: turkey in a dark spicy sauce.
Cocina Yucateca - Poc chuc
Queso relleno: a mild yellow cheese stuffed with minced meat, served in round slices covered in cream sauce.
Poc-chuc: charbroiled slices of pork with onions, marinated in a tasty sour orange sauce.
Pescado Tikinxic: fish marinated in achiote sauce, wrapped in banana leaves and charbroiled, served with a delicious sauce made of tomato and Habanero pepper.
Cocina yucateca - Chile HabaneroHabaneros and "recados" are the basic ingredients in Yucatecan cuisine. "Recados" are marinated pastes made of cloves, black pepper, oregano, cumin, garlic, coriander and vinegar. The most common "recado" is the red, which gets its color from adding "achiote" (annatto seeds) to the mixture, and it is the main ingredient of all the Pibil style dishes (Cochinita pibil, Pollo pibil and Pescado Tikinxic).
There are less known dishes such as "frijol con puerco" (pork and beans), "potaje de lentejas" (lentil vegetable stew) and "tamales colados" (chicken wrapped in a heavy dough and baked in banana leaves) that are also worth trying.
Cocina Yucateca - XyabentunWhat about a cold drink to quench your thirst? The Yucatan's most famous beverages are made of ground rice, chaya (a regional plant), or pitahaya. The "Xtabentun", on the other hand, is the perfect appetizer. This is an alcoholic drink made with honey from a regional flower of the same name, rum and anise seed.
To wrap everything up, do not forget to try a regional dessert because it will be the perfect way to conclude this delightful experience.