Traditional Yucatecan Food vs.Tex-Mex from the States!

Katie Scott is a senior Spanish and Sociology major studying abroad in Mérida, Mexico for Winter Quarter 2012.

Discovering new foods is one of my favorite things about traveling. Every time I go somewhere new, I learn at least one new kind of dish, or learn how to prepare an already-familiar dish in a different way. I have worked at two different Tex-Mex restaurants in my hometown since I was 16, so I thought I had a good idea of Mexican food before studying abroad here. Turns out about the only thing I was right about are a lot of rice and beans. And tacos. But, there is so much more to Mexican food, especially from the Yucatan, than what my idea of it was from Tex-Mex restaurants on the East Coast of the U.S.

One of my favorite meals here are Panuchos. They are like face-up tacos with a bunch of toppings. The cool thing about the tortillas is that there are refried beans in between each tortilla (in my picture, corn tortillas). My host mama says that when you start to cook the tortillas on a skillet, a huge air bubble will form once it gets to a certain temperature, then you poke a hole in it and quickly spread the refried black beans inside. On top of the crispy tortilla are lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sliced carrots, and in my case shredded pork (mmm). You can really get any kind of meat on here, but as long as it is face-up taco material! I was stuffed after eating 3 of these!

Although it isn’t the “season” for mangos, I still a fresh one everyday for breakfast. Have you ever eaten a mango before? I’m sure you’ve had mango-flavored smoothies or sherbet, but what about a whole mango? I had no idea how to eat it when I first attempted, and let me tell you it is not the most graceful sitting. My mama forbade me from eating a mango anywhere but int he comfort of our home with family members and close friends. After cutting it in the middle and making a few slices, you can either pull the mango off of its’ skin with your teeth or scoop it off with a spoon. Either way it is a very messy experience. I had my first papaya here in Merida as well. Very delicious, hard to describe, it doesn’t have a particularly strong taste, but it is refreshing and easier to chew than cantaloupe. I am going to miss the delicious mango and papaya that I have nearly every morning.

Another delicious typical Yucatecan food is Posole. It is basically like a taco salad, but in a soup! It may sound weird, but it is absolutely delicious. The type that my host mama made was a lime tomato base, but it is very strong of lime, and very tasty. there are radishes and local corn already inside, then you put in however much lettuce, onion, fresh lime and tortilla chips that you want on top. A “muy rico” taco salad in a soup, and very easy to make at home on your own!!

Who doesn’t love food? Hopefully I get to try some more goodies as my time goes on here, so I’ll be sure to take pictures and update you all along the way 🙂

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One thought on “Traditional Yucatecan Food vs.Tex-Mex from the States!

  1. Katie,
    It isn’t just the Yucatan. Each province in Mexico (even each border state) has it’s own regional cuisine. The one exception (the Baja) has people working to build a cuisine out of local ingredients. Thanks for running this article, though. The concept of “Mexican food” most U.S. citizens have becomes ridiculous when you’ve travelled in that wonderful nation for awhile.

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