Yucatean Cuisine on cozumel 1 o

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Cozumel's Yucatecan & Mexican Specialties

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Cozumel has such great food. But in case you're not familiar with Yucatecan and Mexican cuisine, here's a brief glossary describing some of the more popular dishes you'll encounter in your gastronomic adventures around town.

LEFT, queso relleno, a Yucatecan specialty made by stuffing gouda cheese with spicy ground pork.

Key ingredients of many Yucatecan treats are sour orange juice (from a special kind of green, thick-skinned orange found primarily in the Yucatan) and a spice paste (recado) made from grinding up rusty, brown achiote seeds with garlic, black pepper, cumin, oregano, cloves cinnamon and vinegar.

Popular Yucatecan Dishes Often Found in Cozumel Restaurants

Sopa de Lima

Rich chicken stock to which may be added any combination of vegtables but always contains liberal portions of shredded white chicken meat and is seasoned with limes which bring out the delicate flavor of the broth. Served with fried tortilla strips and often with a side dish (salpicon) made of chopped radishes, purple onions and bitter oranges.

Poc Chuc

Slices of tender pork marinated in a mixture of sour orange juice and spices and served with a zingy sauce and pickled onions.

Baked fish--often grouper (mero) or snapper (huachinango) slathered in a mixture of sour orange juice, dried oregano and an achiote-based spice paste, then layered with slices of tomato, bell peppers and onions, wrapped in banana leaves and baked.
Huevos Motelenos
A hearty breakfast made from crisp, half-fried tortillas topped with black bean paste and fried eggs then crowned with a rich sauce of tomato, onion and peppers, and sprinkled with a liberal helping of green peas, cubed ham and crumbled cheese.

Pescado a la Veracruzana

This is Vera Cruz style fish seasoned in a sauce of tomatoes, onions, chiles, garlic and green olives.

Frijoles con puerco

The Yucatecan version of American pork and beans consists of chunks of pork cooked in one of the Yucatan's favorite foods, black beans. The beans are invariably seasoned with a liberal sprinkling of epazote, known in the US as pigweed. Generally served with rice, fresh corn tortillas and a garnish of finely chopped cilantro, radishes and onions.

Octopus in it's own Ink

Salty but tasty. Usually served on a bed of rice. Capi Navigante makes an excellent version.


Cochinita Pibil

Arguably the ruby in the crown of Yucatecan cuisine, this luscious dish is made by marinating a suckling pig in sour orange juice, ground achiote and lots of other spices, wrapping in banana leaves and slow cooking overnight in an outdoor oven. Usually eaten with sauteed onions in a sandwich (torta) of soft french bread.


Traditional Mexican Dishes

Here's a list of some of the most popular traditional Mexican dishes you'll find on the menus and tables of many Cozumel restaurants:

Salsa Verde and Salsa la Mexicana

These 2 sauces are as common on the tables of restaurants in Cozumel as salt, pepper and catsup are in the United States. You'll even be offered these spicy, tangy sauces with your morning eggs. The green one is salsa verde, a tangy, mildly hot sauce made from roasted tomatillos blended together with chiles (hot peppers), garlic, cilantro and onions. The red one--Salsa a la Mexican is a hotter sauce so watch out. Made from tomatoes, onion, chile serranos, salt, lime, and cilantro.

Ensalada de nopales Cactus paddles with thorns removed (naturally) simmered until tender and then sliced and mixed with onions, chiles, tomatoes and salt for a tasty and different salad.

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