Do you want to taste new flavors and have a unique culinary experience during your vacation in the Yucatan Peninsula?
Here is an article that will make your mouth water. 😋
If you are thrilled by Mexican cuisine this short culinary dictionary is for you. We have made it especially for those who want to learn more about how the mix of local ingredients (meat, pepper, vegetables, etc.) translate into such an experience for your senses, your body and even your soul. 😅
Just think about this: you are spending your vacations in Cancun and the Riviera Maya and your taste buds are eager to discover the local flavors in this region, the Yucatan Peninsula. You are getting around the most traditional spots in Cancun, just relaxing. Finally, you decide to sit in a restaurant at downtown close to Mercado 28. The place looks perfect to experience the local cuisine with the atmosphere and colorful decoration you would expect from a place like this one.
Then, you are handed the menu. It is full of Mexican dishes of course. Your eyes, unfamiliar with the names and ingredients, start frantically scanning the menu to decipher its contents.
You are losing your breath! You have to solve the riddle before getting loose on this adventure of flavors.
In Odigoo we are ready to help, dear culinary adventurer 😃
We have created a series of articles that will be very useful for you! What are they about? Mexican dishes and specialties from the Yucatan Peninsula that you will find during your stay in Cancun and the Riviera Maya!
There are four episodes:
- EPISODE 1: Antojitos Mexicanos, small snacks at any time!
- EPISODE 2: Tacos, an culinary experience of a thousand flavors
- EPISODE 3: Mexican culinary specialties
- EPISODE 4: Culinary specialties of Yucatan
Here is the list of symbols we will be using to make reading easier:
- 🌶️ spicy dishes
- 🐄 🐑 🐖 🐓 🐟 types of meat
- 🌽 gluten free
- 🌾 suitable for vegetarians!
Street food “the 10 best snacks”
Mexican street food is one of the richest and most diverse in the world.
Whether you are in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos or Tulum, in almost every corner you will find these mobile stalls that work as small improvised restaurants. There you can taste these famous snacks to eat on the go (and usually with your bare fingers): the antojitos.
Antojitos are small portions of food but, believe us, they are really good and will fill you up quickly. Mexicans eat them at any time of the day.
Out of gluttony or simply to make sure you can wait long enough for your next meal, there's always a good reason to make a quick stop at a street stall.
Antojitos are generally eaten standing or in a small corner of the counter of said stall. These stalls are perfect to take a short break before resuming your discovery of any of the towns in the Riviera Maya.
Antojitos are one of the main foundation of Mexican cuisine. There are all kinds of them and their preparation can change according to the region and the street vendors who each have their own recipe and style.
So, quesadilla, Esquite, Tlacoyo or even tamales, which one will you choose? 😋
We guide you step by step!
The guide to the 10 best Antojitos in alphabetical order!
Empanadas 🌽 🌾 🐄 🐖
Empanadas are small fritters made with corn dough and filled with different ingredients. Usually, the empanadas are filled with beef, sometimes pork or cheese.
There are also lot of vegetables in the mix for our veggie friends!
Corn/Esquite: Mayan gold is edible! 🌽 🌾
In Mexico, corn is the king ingredient for most dishes. You will find it is the base ingredient in many dishes.
This is even more true in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, since “maya” means corn.
During your visit to Cancun and other regions of Mexico, you will find street vendors offering you boiled corn. It is offered prepared on two styles: a whole piece on a stick (elote), or as grains in a cup (esquite).
Coated with mayonnaise, the corn is sprinkled with cheese and chili powder. Just beware with cihili powder, sometimes people put too much on the elote. However, they also add some lemon juice on it. It won’t be very hot.
This one is a perfect snack for vegetarians!
🌶️ Flautas: Fried Tacos 🌽 🌾 🐄 🐖 🐓
Flautas are like giant fried tacos.
Famous among antojitos in Mexican cuisine, flautas are made of large corn tortillas rolled lengthwise, giving them the shape of a tube.
Stuffed with the ingredients of your choice (meat, vegetables, potatoes, etc.), flautas are immersed in oil. Their elongated shape allows them to float, which gives them the name flautas (flutes).
Once the oil is drained, flautas are served on a plate, covered with hot sauce 🌶️ 🔥 (green or red), finely chopped lettuce, some fresh cream and cheese on top.
A true pleasure for your taste buds!
Gordita - a fun name for a tasty snack! 🌽 🌾 🐄 🐖
First of all, you should know that gordita translates to english as "fattie".
Gorditas are a snack made from raw corn dough in the form of a pot-bellied bun. Then, it is stuffed with different ingredients: mashed beans, mashed potatoes, pressed pork rinds, meats and cheese...
Once it's been filled, gorditas are greased and cooked in a special pan or, sometimes, they are also baked.
Pambazo: gordita’s closest relative 🌽 🐖
Pambazo is known for its red color that is usually reflected in the faces of the women who prepare and sell them on the street, also reddened by the heat of the fire that they constantly feed.
Indeed, the pambazo is fried in oil. It has a funny full bun plump belly as it is generously topped with meat (usually pork like longaniza, which is a sausage) and served wiith fries as a sider. Howevver, the toppings available for this snack depend on the region in Mexico where you are.
Pambazos also have the classic composition of most antojitos. You will also have the finely chopped lettuce, the fresh sour cream and of course the spicy sauce in the color of your choice (mostly green and red).
Quesadilla: For cheese lovers! 🌽 🌾 🐄 🐖 🐓
Quesadillas come in the form of large corn (or wheat, depending on the region) tortillas folded in half.
As the name suggests, they are made with cheese (quesa – queso / cheese), generally a mild-flavored melted cheese from Oaxaca, a southern State in the Pacifiic coast.
Once the cheese is on the tortiilla, it's your turn to be creative with the composition of this snack. You can eat the quesadilla just like this, adding just sauce or if you are more ambitious, you can add vegetables, mushrooms or any type of meat!
It is a perfect snack for vegetarians or people who cannot eat meat in Mexico due to their religious beliefs (halal/kosher).
Tacos with all the sauces!
We know you were waiting impatiently for this section; the king of antojitos, the lord of the street, the ambassador of Mexican cuisine in the world: the taco!
Tacos are a universe in the Mexican cuisine just by themselves. So, we have written an entire article about them 🙂
Learn more about tacos without waiting any longer, click here!
Tamales: flavors of ancient times 🌽 🌾 🐄 🐖 🐓
The tamale is a remnant of the pre-Columbian age.
It's made from corn flour and its texture is somewhat reminiscent of couscous semolina.
This snack usually includes meat or vegetables and sauce (red or green).
Wrapped in a corn or banana leaf (specific to the so-called “tamal oaxaqueño” but also very common in the Yucatan peninsula), the tamale is steamed.
Very easy to eat on the go, it is one of the most famous antojitos in the Mexican cuisine.
Tlacoyo: "A stuffed slipper" 🌽 🌾 🐖 🐓
The tlacoyo is a thick, rounded, diamond-shaped bun.
Made from corn dough, the tlacoyo can be filled with mashed beans, cheese, meat or pork rinds, vegetables or mushrooms.
We advise you to add a little sauce on your tlacoyoo to enhance the flavor.
Tostadas: crunch and crunch! 🌽 🌾 🐟 🐓 🐄
Tostadas are another native snack from Mexico. Unlike tacos, which are made with fresh, soft tortillas, tostadas are fried and crispy.
If you go to a coast town, you will likely find tostadas with seafood specialties such as ceviches, prawns or octopus. The tostadas can also be vegetarian or meat-based, usually chicken or beef.
Served with "pico de gallo" and accompanied by thin slices of avocado, tostada is a classic of Mexican cuisine...
beware, 'tostadas' crumble easily.
It must be eaten with softly and carefully. Watch out for accidents, you don't want stains on your clothes!
Sope: a mini Mexican pizza! 🌽 🌾 🐄 🐖 🐓 🐑
The sope comes in a fairly thick corn tortilla with slightly raised edges. It is always served with a base of mashed beans. Over this base, it is added some lettuce, a splash of fresh cream and a little green and slightly acid cheese.
You can add a topping: meat, vegetables or mushrooms.
It is also an option for our vegetarian friends!
It is an antojito well known for its effectiveness to make you forget feeling hungry really quickly.
And so, dear readers, you are ready for a full tasting of Mexican antojitos. Thanks to this short guide to the 10 best antojitos, there are no more excuses to be shy when ordering in a mexican restaurant, you have all the cards in hand to treat yourself!
I would personally have a chicken tamale with salsa verde!
AND FOR YOU, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SNACK?
Did you enjoy reaing this post? Was it helpful to learn more about Mexican Food? You might be interested in our other post about Mexican cuisine: