The culinary delights of Yucatecan food is its own unique style, distinct from traditional Mexican cuisine. The food, much like the locals, is influenced by the Mayan, Caribbean, Spanish, African, and Middle Eastern cultures, as well as from other parts of Mexico. Differentiating factors are key ingredients ranging from locally grown spices to vegetation such as pumpkin seed, oregano, red onion, sour orange, sweet chili, tomato, achiote, the xcatic chile, and habanero pepper.
For the hands-on traveler, a visit to Los Dos is a must as it is the first cooking school in Mexico devoted exclusively to the cuisine of Yucatán. Located in a colonial mansion in downtown Mérida, the restored building is the private home of Chef David Sterling, who manages the school, and partner Keith Heitke. Each class at Los Dos begins with coffee and pastries and ends with a fabulous meal that visitors and Chef Sterling prepare together. While preparing the meal, students receive background information on the importance of the Mayan people in the development of Mexican cuisine and culture. Most classes include a tour of the sprawling and colorful Mérida market and all classes feature the exotic ingredients that make Yucatecan cuisine so unique.
If vacations plans include dining out – with no manual labor involved – Mérida offers a variety of authentic restaurants featuring Yucatecan cuisine including Restaurante La Tradicion, La Chaya Maya, and Los Almendros. While dining, authentic orders will include one or more of the most popular dishes, listed below in top 10 format.
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