Travel writer Rosalind Cummings-Yeates’ published this take on Merida’s foodie scene this week on Travel Pulse:
Travelers to Mexico quickly discover that there’s a lot more to Mexican cuisine than tacos and fajitas. In fact, the flavors of Mexico are as diverse as the landscape and the sophisticated Yucatan capital of Merida serves up the region’s culinary diversity with flair. From the sprawling covered market, to street food finds and top chefs restos, the city covers all the foodie bases. Don’t miss these tasty standouts during your next Merida trip:
Take A Yucatecan Cooking Class
There’s no better way to learn about a destination’s food than by actually cooking it. I’m no kitchen queen but I feel like I’ve gained a few new skills after taking a cooking class with the lively Chef Christian Bravo at Casa Lecanda. The boutique hotel is housed in a stunning hacienda and the kitchen leads to a formal dining room.
(PHOTO: Rosalind Cummings-Yeates) Chef Bravo in the kitchen.
The cooking class features classic Yucatecan dishes like sopa de lima and Chef Bravo supplies all the cultural background for each dish. As a finalist on Mexico’s “Top Chef” TV show, the chef knows a thing or two about Mexican cuisine. The class starts with a trip to the main market, where Chef Bravo guides you in selecting fresh ingredients for your menu. Then it’s back to Casa Lecanda’s kitchen to whip up a three course meal.
I chopped limes and blended peppers for soup and grilled snapper and then plucked leaves for a mango flan dessert decorated with edible local flowers. Although several Margaritas were served during the class, I abstained in to make sure my knife would cut vegetables, and not my fingers.
In the end, eating the elegant dishes was almost as much fun as preparing them.
Visit the Landmark Mercado Lucas De Galvez
Merida hosts several local markets but this is the main one and it rolls out for about seven blocks in a colorful mass of sensory overload. Mercado Lucas De Galvez is actually several markets crammed into one and it offers everything from clothes and toys to paella pans. Stroll down the aisles and sample some of the hallmarks of Yucatecan cuisine. You can taste dozens of chiles and recados, the spice mixtures that are an important part of popular dishes like the banana leaf-wrapped fish of tikin-xic.
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