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Merida: best Mexican food (Yucatan specialties) in all of Yucatan! (Video)

Merida: best Mexican food (Yucatan specialties) in all of Yucatan! (Video)

Old Feb 5, 19, 1:00 pm
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Merida: best Mexican food (Yucatan specialties) in all of Yucatan! (Video)

Hi fellow travellers!

We just spent an awesome couple of days in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and we LOVED the food. We are a Belgian couple travelling for 6 months in Latin America and after that another 6 months in Asia.

The place that stood out to us most in Yucatan in terms of food was Merida, the capital of the province. A larger city with about 1M inhabitants. Some of the local specialties include:

- Cochinita Pibil: Pork marinated in a citrus sauce which is then slowly cooked underground.

- Relleno Negro: A stew that is really dark black. The stew is made of chargrilled chillies and lots of other spices, usually with turkey or chicken. It's not really spicy although it contains a lot chilly.

- Queso Relleno: This is a hollowed out ball of Edam cheese, which is then filled with meat and spices. The dish is then baked until the cheese is really melty and gooey.

- Sopa De Lima: A rich chicken or turkey broth with a lot of local lime (which is not really sour) added into it, together with strips of chicken and strips of fried taco.

We visited a lot of places and our favourite restaurants were:

- Manjar Blanco, a smaller restaurant, which comes highly recommended by locals, a top chef we spoke to, as well as international food bloggers. It features a menu with pretty much only local Yucatecan food. Our favourite dishes here were the Sopa De Lima and the Cochinita Pibil. This was our favourite restaurant. The dishes had some slight variations to the standard dishes, while still remaining authentic. Service was very good as well.

- Wayan'e, arguably the best taco place in Yucatan. It has 30-40 different kinds of tacos (and other varities as well) to choose from, with a lot of local specialties as well like poc chuc and cochinita pibil. They are reallyyyyy delicious. Our favourite was the Pavo de la reina (Chicken stew).

- Chaya Maya, a well-known place that is in pretty much every guidebook. There is a good mix of locals as well as tourists here. Chaya Maya focuses on authentic Yucatecan food. We really loved the atmosphere at their second location where you can sit outside in a tranquil environment (the original location is a bit loud). They offer loads of different dishes to try, even some lesser-known ones. We went here a couple of times (the lime drink with Chaya - Local spinach- is really good). We highly recommend the tasting platter of the four different local specialties: Queso Relleno (the best we had in Merida), Relleno Negro, Pavo de Pipian (Turkey in pumpkin seed sauce) and Cochinita Pibil. A bargain at 10 EUR/12 USD for two people.

We also made a video about our eating adventure, which features the above restaurants and dishes. Check it out if you want to see what the incredible food is like in Merida:


Happy travels!

Naick & Kim

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Last edited by JDiver; Feb 6, 19 at 12:34 am Reason: Edit for local names
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Old Feb 6, 19, 12:09 am
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Thank you for sharing!

I’m a lover of Yucatecan food, and also recommend

Poc chuc (poke chuke) Pork in citrus marinade, cooked over a grill, often served with a side of rice, pickled onion, refried beans, and avocado.

Pescado Tikin xic (TEEkeen sheek): Whole fish marinated with achiote (annatto) paste and sour oranges wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked in an earth oven beneath a wood fire.

Panuchos, salbutes, papadzules, others.

A good introduction to Yucatec food, often based on Maya cuisine (but sometimes with Spanish influence) is FOOD Fun & Travel’s Yucatan Food & Mayan Food Mega Guide: 50+ Unmissable dishes link.

Not so easy to find in Cancún, but I’ve added restaurants (and the market) that serve Yucatec specialties here.

The main market might be worth a visit, as there will generally be a group of “puestos”, if not a full cooking and dining area, offering fresh local foods at very reasonable prices.

Another link to KimDDD’s video:


Last edited by JDiver; Feb 20, 19 at 10:38 am
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Old Jul 3, 19, 7:26 am
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Reading back on this now and we are still craving the Mexican food and especially the food in Merida. Manjar Blanco was one of the better places we went to and I would love a lime soup right now!
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Old Jul 3, 19, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by KimDDD View Post
Reading back on this now and we are still craving the Mexican food and especially the food in Merida. Manjar Blanco was one of the better places we went to and I would love a lime soup right now!
Every place that serves Sopa de Lima varies the recipe a little, of course, but here is a very complete recipe from Simply Recipes you can use or reduce if you choose to simplify. (We love Sopa de Lima.)
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Old Jul 3, 19, 9:32 am
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We head to Merida in January and appreciate these recommendations. We'll also by in Uayamón. Do you have anywhere special to recommend there?
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Old Jul 3, 19, 10:25 am
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
We head to Merida in January and appreciate these recommendations. We'll also by in Uayamón. Do you have anywhere special to recommend there?
Be sure to spend a Sunday in Mérida. Much of the center is closed to automobile traffic, so the pedestrians are out in force, the plaza is full of people playing chess, families are pedaling around in four wheel bikes and lots of cyclists on the “biciruta”. Lots of shops, music, you name it spilling over onto the sidewalks.

La Chaya Maya is good for trying Yucatec specialties, Los Almendros was another that at least was good when we were there.

Nature lovers enjoy going out to coastal Celestún and the lagoon, and at that time of year it will be jumping with birds down on migration from the north.

Archaeologically, Chichén Itzá and Uxmal (oosh-MALL) are the biggest attractions reachable on a day trip, Dzibilchaltún the closest, and there’s a nice Museum of the Maya World in Mérida. The Puuc Route is reachable, but we stayed there a couple of nights to make it relaxing. Uxmal, Labná, Xlapak, Sayil, Kabah are all on the Ruta Puuc.

Here’s an illustrated article on Hacienda Huayamón, a restored henequén plantation (in Spanish).

Just over a half hour away toward the Gulf Coast is Edzná (eds-NAH), a Mayan archaeological site of some significance. Link.
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Last edited by JDiver; Jul 3, 19 at 10:39 am
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