Mayan cuisine of the state of Yucatan

The Mayan people preserve many indigenous culinary traditions, such as the tacos de chaya, the pipián de huevo, a stew of corn with tender beans and the escabeche de frijoles.

Yucatan is one of the states in the country with the most European influences because for centuries it was relatively easy to travel by ship to the Old Continent, while the transfer to Mexico City involved sailing to the port of Veracruz and then doing a painful terrestrial journey of almost 400 kilometers (249 miles). Some gastronomic consequences derive from it, like the typical Yucatecan stuffed cheese, which is a Dutch ball cheese stuffed with picadillo.

You have to start with the cochinita pibil, seasoned with achiote, which is cooked in a hole, like a barbecue, or in an oven. Less known outside of Yucatan are the black buttery or picadillo in chirmole-based sauce; pickled tacos, originally from Valladolid; papadzules or men's lunch, which are tortillas soaked in kol (green sauce of pumpkin seeds) and stuffed with boiled egg when rolled as taco, then bathed with another ground tomato, onion and garlic sauce; These are the only tacos in the country that carry two sauces.

Many other corn dough foods are rather local, although some have spread far beyond their original region. Such is the case of the panuchos and salbutes, prepared with white corn tortilla and with the characteristic addition of harvested purple onions, as well as, of course, refried beans and shredded meat.

In some places outside the market in de Santa Ana in Merida, in the morning they sell tacos from cochinita pibil and above all some baked pork cakes, with that delicious Yucatecan bread that looks like poblano water bread or that of the city ​​of Guanajuato. Inside the same market, there are several places selling seafood stews, cooked in different ways very particular to the region, to eat in delicious tacos: shrimp, oysters, octopus, and others.

The codzitos or tacos are browned with a strand of zosquil or zacate and add crumbled cheese and tomato sauce. And the tacos de tzic or salpicón de venado, that is to say, its shredded meat with white onion, cilantro, and minced radishes and squeezed lime.

In Yucatan, the mucbipollos, or many pibipollos, which is a tamal de cazuela (or tray) whose name is a hybridization of the Maya, much, buried, and of the Spanish, chicken. Although it is usually cooked as barbecue, underground, they can also be baked, and therefore, some bakeries from the region prepare them at the beginning of November on request, since they are characteristic of Hanal Pixan. With this Mayan name, the ceremonies of the Day of the Dead are designated, although in Merida they sell it all year round in the market, cut into slices like a cake. The corn dough is filled with chicken seasoned with chili, axiote, epazote, and tomato and wrapped in banana leaf. They also make them smaller, round, about the size of a soup plate. There are also mucbipollos with espelón, a kind of tender bean that adds a touch of flavor and distinction to the tamale.

Certainly, in the market of the White City (Merida), there is a whole section for the tamales sellers, as well as in other populations of the Altiplano, Isthmus, and southeast of the country.

The vaporcitos are tamales in a corn husk that are served with the cooked dough very soft and, of course, hot and steaming. You have to eat them with tomato sauce and beans. In short, there are also the chanchames of different meats, spoon tamales and bridal or wedding tamales, with chicken and pork.

Among its varied desserts, try cafiroletas, based on almonds, egg bread, sherry, and cinnamon.

Bon appetite
Bon appetite
Image by Tim Toomey from Pixabay

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