There are so many different ways to enjoy Cancun’s cuisine, and so many types to try. There's always Mexican, of course. But Cancun's restaurants also serve Argentinian, Asian, Caribbean, American and Brazilian food, just to name a few.
Some visitors never leave the all-inclusive resort, where dining is convenient. Others prefer to try some of the many different restaurants the Hotel Zone has to offer.
Then there are the more adventurous types who like to make the short trip downtown to eat where the locals do. If you're this type, then one of your first stops should be Mr. Jerk Cancun Grill – a Jamaican restaurant that serves authentic specialties like juicy, tangy jerk chicken.
Mr. Jerk Cancun Grill's interior is colorful and very Jamaican — Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse
Slowly but surely, downtown Cancun has been seeing an increase in new restaurants that serve food that hasn't been available, like Greek, Indian and now Jamaican, and residents and visitors alike are thrilled with the new options.
The owner of Mr. Jerk, Phil Sun, is a Jamaican who worked in construction when he arrived in Cancun 16 years ago, but his true passion is cooking dishes from his native country.
Jerk chicken can be traced back to the Jamaican Maroons, descendants of Africans who fought against and escaped from slavery and established a free society in the mountainous regions of Jamaica.
All of the jerk sauce’s ingredients, including scallions, onions, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, thyme, allspice, black pepper and many other spices, grow on the island.
The jerk chicken is marinated overnight before it's roasted at Mr. Jerk — Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse
Mr. Jerk offers various packages of different items and different sized proportions that include combinations of jerk chicken; rice and beans; salad; tortillas (a Mexican addition); ribs; soft drinks and beer.
Some of the other items are definitely worth ordering. Patties are empanadas with spiced ground beef inside. They are absolutely scrumptious, as are the festivals, or Jamaican sweet bread. And who can eat Jamaican food without plantains?
Agua de Jamaica, or hibiscus tea, is very popular in Mexico, but the Jamaican version has ginger in it and is also worth a try. Escovitch fish and curry chicken are available by special order. On Saturdays and Sundays, jerk shrimp and wings are also available.
Mr. Jerk Cancun Grill is easy to find, as it's located on a corner on Av. Las Torres — Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse
The best way to get to Mr. Jerk Cancun Grill, which is located on Avenida Las Torres, also known as Avenida Cancun, is to take the bus to the first stop downtown and then a taxi for less than $5 USD. Reverse the process to return to the Hotel Zone.
Mr. Jerk just opened a second location downtown in Plaza Solare, much closer to the Hotel Zone. Both locations often feature live Reggae music.