Last Updated on July 18, 2022
After a beautiful walk along the warm streets of Cancun or a nice day in the water, you’ll probably have some food cravings. But what if you want food that is a must-try in Cancun and you don’t know what to eat? We’ve provided a list of the top 10 foods to try in Cancun to ensure you live the full experience:
Marquesitas are a favorite local treat and an absolute must try! Marquesitas are made up of a crispy crepe that is rolled up and traditionally filled with melted shredded cheese and a sweet filling of your choice. Not only do people love eating these, they love watching marquesitas being made. Watch the preparer open the waffle like iron press and sprinkle in cheese, toppings, and roll it all up. Popular toppings include Nutella, jam, peanut butter, cajeta, or chocolate sauce. The sweet toppings and warm cheese will melt in your mouth perfectly.
2. Castacan (Fried Pork Belly)
If you love pork, this food will be an absolute must-try. In Cancun, they make sure their pork belly is mega crispy yet juicy! Castacan is a type of pork belly predominately made in the Yucatan peninsula. This pork belly is incredibly soft and juicy in the middle with a perfect crispy coating on both sides and a perfect snack or meal.
Panuchos are very similar to Salbutes (which we will talk about next). However, panuchos are cooked on a dry, hot cast iron skillet until slightly puffy, then stuffed with refried beans, sealed, then lightly fried again. It is then topped with your favorite toppings such as tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, ground beef, chicken, or turkey, avocado, and more. This is one of the most delicious and well-known food to all of the locals.
A food very similar to panuchos are the salbutes. The major difference is that salbutes do not have refried beans inside the tortilla. However, salbutes are still fried and typically do contain the same toppings. A noticeable difference in appearance and texture is also that salbutes are always less crispy than panuchos. So if you don’t like beans and want something less crispy, salbutes are perfect for you!
5. Salsa de Chile Habanero
This ingredient is one of the most unique and unmistakable flavors of the Yucatecan traditional cuisine. If you want to make your own, the best place to buy fresh habanero chiles is to go to the “mercado” and it is also incredibly affordable. From there, you can rinse them in freshwater, grind them in a mortar, add lemon juice, salt, and let it rest in the container for a few minutes before trying your authentic and delicious chili sauce!
This thirst-quencher is one of the most traditional must try drinks in Cabo. This drink is a thick and refreshing beverage from Tabasco; made with the base dough of cocoa and corn. It can replace lost energy from traveling or any hard days at work. You can even buy the dough from markets and prepare at home by mixing the dough and adding water and ice!
7. Tacos de Cochinita Pibil
Cochinita pibil is a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatan Peninsula. This pork is amazing in flavor due to its preparation. The preparation involves marinating the meat in strongly acidic citrus juice, seasoned with annatto seed, and roasting the meat while it is wrapped in a banana leaf. After trying cochinita pibil, you will never look at pork the same way again.
8. Sikil Pak
Sikil pak is a Mayan pumpkin seed dip and can be a unique and delicious alternative to guacamole or hummus. The toasted pumpkin seeds give it a smokey, meaty flavor. This dip is truly one of a kind and will be an adventurous and exciting taste! This dip can be eaten with your favorite veggies, tortillas, pita wedges or anything else.
9. Sopa de Lima
Sopa de Lima (lime soup) is a traditional dish from the Mexican state of Yucatan, and is made of chicken, pork or beef, lime juice, and served with tortilla chips. Its unique flavor is recognized throughout Mexico by the predominance of strong seasonal ingredients. This delicious soup, with a hint of citrus from lime, is a classic and local favorite.
10. Tikin Xic fish
This delicious and unique “dry fish” is typically a firm white fish that is prepared whole then marinated with adobo de achiote and sour oranges. It is then wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked in an earth oven beneath a wood fire. However, now it is common for the banana leaf to be steamed. This fish serves as a great meal. Plus, how often do you get to eat a fish cooked in a banana leaf?!