Top Five Dishes to Try in Tulum Mexico
Once a hippie backpacker’s paradise of sand floor cabanas and simple eats, Tulum’s Hotel Zonehas rapidly evolved into a world-class, eco-chic vacation destination that honors its roots while boasting upscale, yet comfortable accommodations and inspired culinary offerings that could please the most discriminating of palates. Tulum hotel guests have a wide variety of top-notch restaurants to choose from along the beach road, from sushi to pizza, to Pad Thai, and more.
The traveler in search of authentic Mexican and Yucatecan cuisine won’t be disappointed in Tulum, either. Here are five famous Mexican and Yucatecan dishes we think you should try:
1. Ceviche (prounounced “seh-bvee-tcheh”). Tulum hotel visitors are vacationing in one of the best places in the world to eat this fresh fish dish, popular in coastal regions in Mexico and also Central and South America. Made from very fresh raw fish or shrimp, the fish is “cooked” by marinating it in lime juice, then fresh minced chile, onion, tomato, salt, and cilantro are added. Served with freshly made tortilla chips (called “totopos”) or saltine crackers, and a house-made habanero salsa as a garnish, ceviche is one of the most delicious, refreshing, and healthy snacks one can have; Eating it with your feet in the sand while sipping a cerveza and looking at the beautiful Caribbean Sea only enhances its flavor.
3. Sopa de Lima. This soup is the Yucatan’s version of the ubiquitous chicken soup that cures whatever ails you. Healthy and delicious, the key ingredient is the lima, or sour lime that grows all over the Yucatan. Typically made with homemade, slow-cooked chicken or turkey broth, onion, shredded chicken or turkey, often tomatoes and sweet chile, and garnished with fried tortilla strips, sopa de lima is refreshing on even the hottest of days.
4. Cochinita Pibil. Nothing says “Yucatan” like cochinita pibil, which can best be described as this area’s version of pulled pork. Of Mayan origin, this dish is comprised of pork marinated in sour orange juice, achiote, and other spices and then slow-roasted for hours while wrapped in banana leaves. The high-acid content of the sour orange juice tenderizes the meat and the long, slow cooking results in flavorful meat that shreds easily with a fork. This shredded meat is then added to either tortillas to make tacos or bread rolls to make tortas (sandwiches). Add a sprinkle of pickled red onions and a splash of homemade habanero salsa and you’ve got one of the tastiest things you’ve ever eaten. Cochinita Pibil is traditionally available only in the mornings, from food carts or tiny take-out restaurants, and generally sells out by noon.
5. Yucatecan Antojitos. Antojitos is the Mexican name for “street food” or snacks, literally meaning little cravings. Three popular antojitos in Tulum include Sopes, Marquesitas, and Salbutes.
Sopes are made with a thick, hand-made tortilla with slightly raised sides that is spread with refried black beans and topped with various meats and vegetables, usually chicken, lettuce, onion, and a crumbled cheese like cotija or queso fresco. Add your favorite salsa, red or green, for a satisfying snack.
Marquesitas are snacks,desserts made by vendors pushing a cart that features a large, cast iron griddle-like contraption. A waffle-like batter is poured onto the base of the griddle, the top is lowered, and the vendor presses down hard as the batter cooks over gas flame. He lifts the top, adds your choice of filling (grated edam cheese is popular), rolls the waffle/crepe into a cylinder, and can add other ingredients you want (sweetened condensed milk is incredibly delicious with the cheese), resulting in a crunchy, salty, and sweet treat that you’ll likely remember for a very long time.
Salbutes are puffy, deep-fried tortillas which are then topped with shredded chicken or turkey, chopped cabbage, pickled red onions, and avocado. Adding fresh salsa perfects the snack.
Visitors to Tulum hotels have no shortage of dining options, from high-end, upscale restaurants to informal, laid back taquerias, to quick, but delicious food carts. Make your vacation memorable by experiencing all that Tulum has to offer!