More than a memory, eating culturally aware food is an experience that changes us, simultaneously opening our perspectives and stamping that perfect, history-flavored bite into our mind’s memory. At Museo de la Gastronomía Yucateca, there are many lessons to uncover: perhaps most importantly, that Yucatecan food tastes so good, because it is “mestiza,” a resilient mix of indigenous and colonial tastes and techniques, made all its own by the rich, red earth of the peninsula.
Biting into a hand-made tortilla, dripping with the heat of salsa habanero and balanced by a fresh pop of lime, is an experience which can print on our minds for a lifetime. For me, the perfect travel experience combines the visceral, sensual pleasures of the moment with a deep teaching, a new understanding.
Walk through the wide, arching doors of the carefully-curated MUGY and into a multi-media museum gallery, which leads you through several millennia of history, detailing the origin and evolution of ingredients and techniques which characterize the most important Yucatecan dishes. The exhibit traces the influence of colonialism on indigenous food culture, ultimately creating the incredible fusion, or “mestizaje,” that we appreciate today.
Meander towards the back of the colonial property and into the re-creation of an ancient Maya pueblo, characterized by openness (no doors or windows), where charismatic women from nearby Maya communities pat out melt-in-your-mouth tortilla after tortilla. Surrounded by the sounds of the pueblo, enter the “casitas” to learn about the quintessential Yucatecan “recados,” marinades used to create rich flavors. Each afternoon at 2:30 pm, experience the unearthing of one of Yucatán’s greatest culinary phenomena: Cochinita Pibil. Buried under the dark red earth, the dish is cooked in an underground oven – a cultural tradition inherited from the ancient Maya.
After exploring the museum, your taste buds will be ready to get to work in MUGY’s world-class restaurant, where each dish is a composition of history and the freshest local ingredients. The menu balances the integrity and authenticity of the pueblo with fine design details, creating a warm, thought-provoking atmosphere, where visitors are surrounded by all things “hand-made.” Dedicated to conservation and authenticity, MUGY is a sincere homage to Yucatecan food and the culture that surrounds it.
On Thursday nights, immerse yourself in a regional spectacle from 7 to 8 pm. On Fridays from 9 to 11 pm, toast to the tune of the local music scene; and on Saturdays at the same time, let loose to the serenade of a trova band.
Museo de la Gastronomía Yucateca
Calle 62 between 55 and 57, Centro
Tel. (999) 518 1645
Sun. – Thu. 12 pm – 11 pm, Fri. – Sat. 12 pm – 1 am
FB, IG: mugymx
Editorial by Amanda Strickland
Photography by MUGY and Andrea Mier y Terán for use in Yucatán Today.
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