Snorkeling with whale sharks and exploring underground cenotes can build up quite an appetite! Let us introduce you to one of the most delicious and flavorsome cuisines in the world, Mexican food. The word for food in Spanish is ‘comida’ and there are plenty of choices on offer around Playa del Carmen.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend very much to experience the best of Mexican cuisine – with just a little know how, you can eat like a king and experience the delicious flavors of Mexican food.
We’ll start with the most well-known star of the Mexican food scene. A tortilla, either made from corn or wheat flour, is wrapped around a delicious filling, either chicken (pollo), beef (bistek), pork (puerco) or al pastor (marinated meat shaved off a rotisserie).
Tacos can be garnished with onions, lime, cilantro, and of course, salsa! Make sure you test the salsas on the back of your hand first, as some of them can be muy picante (very spicy)!
The tostada gets its name from the toasted, crispy tortilla which acts like an edible plate for its delicious toppings. Tostadas generally have lettuce, cheese, avocado, tomato, sour cream, frijoles (beans) and sometimes guacamole, piled on top of the meat, usually chicken.
Tip: if trying to impress a date, do not eat tostadas! They are delicious, but extremely messy!
Chilaquiles are traditionally eaten for breakfast, and some people liken them to the Tex-mex dish, ‘nachos’. Whilst both contain crisp, dried tortillas, formed into ‘chips’ and drenched in delicious sauce, the similarities end there.
Mexican chilaquiles have other ingredients like chicken, beef, beans or eggs to compliment the flavour of the sauce, and therefore are more nutritious and flavoursome than nachos.
La Cueva del Chango on Calle 38 has a wide selection of chilaquiles styles which are a great option for weekend brunch thanks to their purported ‘hangover cure’ qualities. The Imprevist restaurant on 1st Avenue in the Porto Playa condo hotel also features chilaquiles on their breakfast menu.
The main distinction of sopes is the spongy base which holds the topping. Unlike a tortilla which is extremely thin, the sopes are thick and pancake like. They are a little more filling than a taco, yet equally delicious.
Salbutes consist of small round discs of fried dough, piled with meat, tomato and avocado. A great, simple snack when you’re on the go, salbutes can be found at most stands around town, and are absolutely delicious!
Usually sold from small street-side stands, tamales are made from corn meal, stuffed with a filling of meat or vegetable and then wrapped in a corn husk and steamed. They are one of the most popular forms of Mexican street food, known as ‘antojitos’.
If you have had enough of tortillas, then the torta is for you! Torta is the Mexican word for sandwich, and can be filled with just about anything. Our favourite is cochinita pibil, shredded pork marinated in a deliciously flavoursome sauce.
They look similar to a Cornish pasty, and are usually filled with cheese. Spicy sauces are piled on top, along with the usual suspects – onions and lime juice.
Now you’re well equipped for eating Mexican food in Playa del Carmen! Hopefully you will be more confident to try these local specialities and experience all the great flavours of this world famous cuisine.