Discovering Mayan Traditions Through Yucatán Food
Article provided by Trafalgar
Those who travel to the Mexican state of Yucatán unfailingly come back with tales of the region’s distinctive cuisine. This is a place where visitors can leave prior experience of Mexican food behind to experience the true authenticity of the nation’s fare, which in the Yucatán reflects its Mayan roots to this day. We take a look at this heritage-rich region by delving into the culture surrounding Yucatán food.
Not only embracing Mexico’s cultural beginnings, but also the tropical climate, rainforest and coast, the region’s fare is a clear reflection of its surroundings. It’s this intrinsic connection to ancient culture, more recent influences, and the land, that has helped give Yucatán food its individuality.
Smoked meats with Habanero chillies, the peppery Achiote spice, and sour orange are often thought to be the region’s key flavors. Pibil is perhaps the best reflection of this, originating from when meat was preserved by being rubbed with spices and smoked to last longer in the tropical climate. But this is just the beginning; Along with the Yucatán coast’s bounty of seafood, come black beans and plenty of fresh vegetables, which have been cultivated on the land.
While pibil is often made using suckling pig, other meats are salted and cooked over a wood fire, or marinated in Achiote and sour orange before being charcoal grilled. Tikin Xic, which could be translated to “dry fish”, is then coated in the Yucatán’s signature spices, before being wrapped in banana leaves and roasted.
These flavorful meats can then be eaten with a hot salsa of habanero peppers, sour orange, charred tomatoes and red onion, or visitors can tuck into another of the Yucatán’s celebrated dips, Sikil Pak, a Mayan pumpkin seed and roasted vegetable salsa, with hand-made toasted tortilla chips.
Another staple of Yucatán food, Papadzules are a little like enchiladas, consisting of folded corn tortillas, dipped in pepita sauce, with egg and a hot tomato sauce. Alternatively, visitors can try Panucho, a refried tortilla stuffed with refried black beans, lettuce, pulled chicken or turkey, pickled red onion, avocado and pickled jalapeño pepper. The fried tortilla rolls are named Codzitos, and are stuffed with shredded meats, served with salsa, and topped with grated cheese.
Some of the best traditional Yucatán cuisine can be found in the kitchen of Chef Don Miguel of the Chaya Maya Mansion, a Merida native who fell in love with the traditions behind Yucatán food. Using local produce and traditional recipes, Don Miguel champions this region’s cuisine while also embracing modern tastes. Not only do Trafalgar guests have the opportunity to try Chef Chaya Maya’s food, they also get to try their hand at making it while sipping a cool Margarita de Chaya cocktail– the ultimate authentic Yucatán experience.
To book your next epicurean journey, contact a AAA Travel Agent today either online or by calling 866-499-0857.