You probably think you know all there is to know about Mexican food. Enchiladas, tacos, salsa...what else is there? You may be surprised to find out there are many other delicious Mexican foods and drinks that aren't readily available outside of Mexico. Be adventurous and give some of them a try on your next Cancun vacation.
Mole is a delicious chocolate-based sauce that is not that commonly found in other countries. Mole can be eaten over chicken or enchiladas and can include ingredients like chiles, tomatillos (small green tomatoes), dried fruits, sugar, spices, nuts and tortillas. You can try mole at one of the La Parrilla restaurants in Cancun.
Everyone loves Mexican beer, right? There are so many delicious brands to choose from and every single one of them tastes good in a michelada or a chelada. A chelada, a milder drink than its cousin the michelada and contains beer, lime juice and ice in a glass with a salted rim. It's delicious and refreshing. A michelada normally contains additional ingredients, such as hot sauce, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. You will find both of these drinks in any hotel or restaurant in Cancun, or at local chain Las de Guanatos. You must indulge in some fresh seafood with your beer. If you have never had ceviche, this is the time to try it. The Mexican version is generally made from fresh raw seafood marinated in lime juice, tomatoes, chopped peppers and onions, salt and cilantro. It is eaten with tortilla chips (aka totopos) or saltine crackers. You'll find ceviche in any seafood restaurant like JC Capitan or served at restaurants right on the beach. One try and you'll be hooked. Don't let the fact that it's raw scare you away, the lime juice cures the seafood. Other beach food to try; kibis, fresh fruit with chili power, and donuts...yes, beach donuts.
Mexico boasts wonderfully refreshing non-alcoholic drinks as well. Horchata is rice milk made with vanilla and cinnamon. Agua de Jamaica is an infusion made from the Hibiscus flower. There are many flavors of these “aguas frescas” and they are popular, inexpensive and typically made from fresh juices or extracts. All of these drinks are the perfect complement to spicy Mexican food (the hottest of all being salsa habanero, not for the faint of heart). Aquas frescas can be found in many different types of restaurants and in Parque las Palapas, the central park in downtown Cancun. This is also a great place to try some street food. Mexican street food has a bad reputation, but for the most part it is delicious and perfectly safe. Try some marquesitas with caramel or nutella, elote (Mexican creamed corn) or churros.
Churros — Photo courtesy of Garry Knight
There's another Mexican beverage that you might want to try, Mexican – or even South American – wine. It's not something we generally think of as being produced south of the border, but you will find some wonderful and economical wines that were produced in Mexico. Some top names are Roganto, Viniterra and L.A. Cetto. Your waiter in any fine restaurant or the wine steward in your Cancun resort should be able to help you make a good choice. Mexican wine would be a great complement to some authentic food from neighboring state of Yucatan. La Habichuela is the best place to try Yucatecan food in Cancun.
Yucatecan fried fish — Photo courtesy of Simone Smith
So forgo the enchiladas and margaritas, well at least for a meal or two, and try something new in Cancun.