Ah, food! It’s a huge part of travel for many people. After all, who hasn’t dreamed about succulent Cochinita Pibil or Relleno Negro while back at home reminiscing about their last Yucatecan vacation? Well, I have great news: achieving these flavors in your own kitchen is achievable. Here’s what to pack if you’re looking to bring home a little taste of Yucatán.
They’re the building blocks of Yucatecan cuisine and depending on where you live year-round, you may even be able to get Achiote and Recado de Bistec in your city, but don’t. Nothing beats the spice blends from a local market. At the Santos Degollado market (also known as the Mercado de Santiago), find “Condimentos Enrique” (Local 14) to buy your Recados of choice. They’re labeled and easier to clear through customs. Pop them in the fridge when you get home to keep them fresher for longer.
I think the YouTube show “Hot Ones” converted those of us who weren’t already into hot sauce aficionados. Try picking up some Xcatic Asado by Rochef or the Marín brand habanero sauces at the nearest local supermarket and leave the Cholula for a rainy day.
Honestly, most people love chocolate, and yes, you can get it everywhere. But how does a bar of milk chocolate with tortilla chips sound? Or perhaps you’re more intrigued by a bittersweet tablet with Campeche Lima and almonds? Now we’re talking! Ki’Xocolatl is a local brand that has won international awards for their top-notch confections and their sustainable practices. Visit any of their five locations in Mérida or order online.
After every visit to Yucatán, I return home with a suitcase that is approximately 30% Charritos. I think some of you can identify with this. These crunchy snacks are essentially just fried dough with some seasoning, but they’re addictive. Find them at any convenience store or supermarket under a variety of brands such as La Lupita, Richaud, or Torritos.
Yucatecan honey is world-renowned for its deep color and flavor, but did you know that there’s actually a wide variety of bees in the state? And as such, the colors and flavors of their honey vary as well. Full disclosure, my folks back home buy honey that comes in a literal Coke bottle; however, the lack of label makes it a little difficult to get past Customs. Check out Miel Nativa Kaban in Santa Lucía; they are knowledgeable and passionate about bees and have a great variety of honey for you to take home. They even offer honey tasting events (Tue. and Wed. 5 pm, Sat. 10 am).
Forgot? The airport has your back
Do you have last-minute remorse for not having planned ahead? At the airport in Mérida, there are several shops that sell pre-packaged Marquesitas, vacuum-sealed Cochinita Pibil, and even a Tere Cazola so you can take home a Rosca Brioche or Hojaldra de Jamón y Queso to share with your loved ones. Remember, that they may or may not be open depending on what time you need to board your flight, so check ahead. Safe travels!
By Maggie Rosado.
Editor of Yucatan Today. Maggie is passionate about tourism, writing, and languages and holds a Master’s degree in Translation.
Photography by Carlos Rosado, Ki’Xocolatl, and Violeta H. Cantarell for its use in Yucatán Today.
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