Yucatan gastronomy

Yucatecan – Mayan Gastronomy. It is an example of the culinary miscegenation of Mexico . Still without losing its independent indigenous identity and with its versatility together with the incorporation of foreign elements from the entry of the Conquistadores it has given a unique result. But this is still maintained in a process of assimilation of new techniques and products to adapt them to the ancient tradition.


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  • 1 Description
  • 2 Foreign influences
  • 3 main ingredients
  • 4 Examples
  • 5 External links
  • 6 Source


Mexican gastronomy, as in many other countries, has been regionalized, and Yucatecan among them, has been a product where the numerous native elements have been exploited to the maximum, but also the exchange of flora and fauna from other places: pineapple , the groundnut ( peanut ), among others from American South . Of Europe they joined it the wheat , the lettuce , the mint , the pork , beef, milk and cheese. Of Asia and the Middle East continent Asian chicken, the rice, onion, garlic, pepper, citrus, tamarind, almond, carrot and sugar cane. At the end of the 19th century , a new addition to culinary culture arrived in the styles of Lebanese immigration to Yucatan as examples of the rich range of elements that make up this Yucatecan gastronomy. And lately, there are the penetration of other signs of influence, such as those of the Americans who increasingly influence this culinary culture.

According to a popular saying: “You can go to Yucatan before or after the end of the World”, however this certifies that one can imagine a place where the roots and culture of the people are inextricably linked losses in time and intertwined with the history of American miscegenation. As in many other places in the country, Central America , the Caribbeanand from South America, food becomes an extension relating history to landscape, from legend to magic. In this great trilogy of turkey, venison and wild boar (peccary), seasoned with annatto (bija), or red errand and spices from overseas, the origins of a gastronomic taste that has survived to this day are guessed, and in which the dishes of one of the most famous cuisine in Mexico and in the world appear with surprising versatility .

Tasting the recipe of Yucatecan food is an experience where the enigma of the Mayan words interwoven with Castilian and a surprising rainbow of unsuspected flavors are combined. The culinary miscegenation, resulted in some dishes of unmatched delicacy. The culinary delights of typical Yucatecan cuisine are made from a mix of Mexican and European flavors. A little history will explain the strong European influence: at one time, the Yucatan Peninsula was considered a land of difficult access and very far from the rest of Mexico. The mountainous terrain and the few roads isolated the Peninsula.

Foreign influences

Having ports and cultural and commercial deals with Europe (especially France ), New Orleans and Cuba , the Yucatecans were influenced in dress, architecture and cuisine, by these countries and other cities. It is interesting to follow the process of the culinary meeting, to determine the modifications of Spanish dishes and pre-Hispanic cuisine, under the demands of the flavors accustomed by both peoples.

It was a necessity to take advantage of the fruits and products of the land and supply with them what, due to their cost, could not be brought from distant Europe, in addition to the fact that popular indigenous food was, and continues to be, essentially vegetarian, since the meat was reserved for the festivities and the upper classes; while the conquered conquerors were carnivores par excellence.

The Conquistadores imposed the consumption of its meat (and the native one) and taught the use of butter, but the achiote (bija) replaced to some degree the pepper, although the use of garlic and onion began; Tortillas and most vegetables such as chaya, quelite, pumpkins, epazote, macal (malanga), sweet potato (sweet potato), cassava, jicama, beans, among many others were imposed.

This was how mestizo cuisine arose, since Spanish stew was forced to abandon chickpeas that were replaced by Iib (American white beans endadadera) and búul, with which the Yucatecan stew and beans with pork were born. And the current three-meat stew is the Yucatecan version of the Cuban ajiaco. But they also took the cheese of the conquistadors in addition to adding it to the beans, filling it with meat.

In addition to the food, the drinks presented the same opulence, the daily drink was chocolate, “the tasty foam” made with Soconusco or Tabasco cocoa, flour, cinnamon and eggs. In this way they suspended the spiciness of the chilies (peppers), although those that increased their consumer culture like the modern one was in Europe and not in America. However, the Mole poblano appeared as far back as 1668 in America when the first chocolate shop in Paris had just opened.

Main ingredients

Corn cultivation in pre-Hispanic Mexico .

Yucatecan traditional cuisine basically derives from the Hispanic and Mayan cultures. The taste that characterizes it depends on the combination of recipes and ingredients that give rise to it. Its typical flavor is recognized by the predominance of the seasonings used in its season. Corn, as in all Mesoamerica, is also an essential component of Yucatecan food, and is consumed abundantly. The habanero chile and products made with corn dough accompany most of the Yucatecan dishes. The dishes are mainly based on pork, venison, turkey and a large amount of seafood derived from the great peninsular coastline.

Some of these main ingredients used in Yucatecan gastronomy are: pumpkin seed, oregano, red onion, chaya, banana leaves, sour orange, sweet chili, lime, annatto, xcatik chile, habanero pepper and coriander. Most of the condiments are a big part of the secret, the water of the region must influence and of course all the ingredients are the determinants in the flavor of Yucatecan dishes. These are influenced by the original Mayan cuisine. The Popol Vuh, sacred book of the Mayans, says that man was created from corn, as the base and primary food of the Mayan people.

“… and thus they found the food and this was the one that entered the flesh of the created man, of the formed man; this was their blood, from this the blood of man was made. Thus the corn entered (in the formation of man ) by the work of the Parents. ”

But there are also other influences on the cuisine of Yucatan : the Caribbean, without a doubt, Mexico , especially Puebla and Veracruz cuisine, Europe – Queso Relleno is a sample – and, more recently, the culture of the Middle East, particularly the Lebanese, which has a large presence in Yucatan by virtue of significant immigration that occurred during the first half of the 20th century .

Turkey meat, exceptionally used in Yucatan, is also a basic ingredient in a large number of succulent traditional recipes. Corn is also an essential component of Yucatecan food, and is consumed abundantly. The lime soup, the papadzul and the motuleño eggs are dishes cooked with fried tortilla, and the panucho or the dzotolbichay are prepared with dough.


  • Balché.- A drink that is said to have been created after the affairs between a young woman named Sak-Nicté and a young warrior. The beauty of the woman captivated an old chieftain. Fearing that the old man would separate them, they fled into the jungle and found refuge. Looking for food they found a honeycomb from which they extracted honey and deposited it on the bark of a tree called Balché; at night, the rain mixed with the honey giving rise to an exquisite drink. The cacique looked for them and when he saw him nearby, the young man offered him a great meal. At the end they offered him the sweet drink. The old man was ecstatic and set them free in exchange for the recipe. Since then this fermented licorcillo has been prepared.
  • Cochinita Pibil : Pork meat in annatto and sour orange juice seasoned with garlic, pepper, cumin and salt. It is baked under the ground in the conventional oven (this gives it the name of Pibil in Mayan) wrapped in banana leaf.
  • Chiltomate: (tomato sauce, chilies and spices), radish, coriander and onion.
  • Dzotobichay or Brazo de India (not to be confused with Reina’s arm, which is a bread) variety of tamale prepared with chaya, stuffed with ground pumpkin seeds, hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes.
  • Pickled Turkey : Turkey cooked with seasonings and onions.
  • Beans with pork .- The Yucatecan version of pork cooked in beans. Served with rice, topped with tomato sauce and garnished with radish, coriander, and onion (beans go apart). This dish is eaten on Mondays in many Yucatecan homes.
  • Eggs Motuleños.- Succulent fried fried eggs on a toast covered with refried beans; garnished with tomato sauce, minced ham, peas and crumbled white cheese. They receive this name because it is assumed that they were created in the city of Motul
  • Joloches: kind of tamales stuffed with ground meat cooked in ground black beans and strained.
  • Mukbil Chicken : is a dish based on chicken or chicken meat, surrounded by a dough made from nixtamalized corn and buried for slow cooking, wrapped in banana leaves or henequen stalks. It is the traditional Hanal Pixan meal or the Day of the Dead meal on November 2 , along with the Queen’s Arm .
  • Panuchos: The panuchos, very similar to the previous ones with the difference that this one has a crispy tortilla filled with beans.
  • Papadzul: hard-boiled egg tacos, covered in a paste of ground pumpkin seeds, tomato and onion sauce. They are served with tomato sauce and spice to taste.
  • Poc Chuc de Cerdo : roast pork, marinated in sour orange juice and accompanied by minced roasted onion and sauce called X’nipec (Dog’s Snout), which consists of sour orange juice, tomato, onion and coriander.
  • Pollo Pibil : Chicken pieces marinated in annatto, sour orange juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper wrapped in banana leaf, baked. With pork is the famous Cochinita Pibil.
  • Puchero: Broth with chicken meat and pork in small pieces, cooked with chickpeas, rice, noodles, pumpkin, carrots and potatoes, seasoned with a special message. It is served with pepper and radishes, it has sour orange and lime juice to taste. It is not always done with chickpeas and beans or chickpeas are served apart from the viands
  • Stuffed Cheese: Dutch type cheese (Edam), filled with a mince of ground meat with almonds, raisins, olives, capers, bell pepper and with various condiments, bathed in a white sauce known as kool (pebre) and another tomato sauce.
  • Turkey in Black Filling : Turkey meat cooked with a black paste of seasonings from the region, a filling of mincemeat of pork and beef is made with the cooked egg yolks in the center, cooking in the turkey broth and Serve the slices on the same plate.
  • Salbutes: They are small handmade corn tortillas fried in lard, garnished with chicken or turkey and avocado, tanned onion, tomato and lettuce.
  • Lima Soup: A delicious chicken broth is served with the minced meat, fried tortillas, and lime juice.
  • Sa: is the atole; Ak sa: it is the new atole; Cikil sa: it is the atole with seeds and the Tan chucuá: it is the atole with chocolate.
  • Keyem: pozole is a kind of semi-boiled dough without being a tamale and it is diluted in water.
  • Chokó sakam: drink made from boiled corn dough.

Traditional desserts are prepared with fruits in syrup, depending on the season: papaya (fruit pump, Papaya caricas), nance (Byrsonima crassifolia), ciricote (Cordia dodecandra) and guava


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