Though it varies across the peninsula, food in the Yucatán has a few unifying elements, most based on traditional Maya combinations and accented with many earthy spices. Little of the food is hot, but go easy with the salsa de chile habanero that most restaurants have on the table. It’s also called xnipek, Maya for ‘dog’s nose’, because the fiery chile induces a clammy sweat. The most popular dishes are:

Puchero

A mutable stew that often includes chicken, beef, pork, squash, cabbage and sweet potato in a broth seasoned with cinnamon and allspice, all garnished with radish, coriander and Seville orange.

Poc-chuc

A combination of pork with tomatoes, onions and spices, widely considered the region’s signature dish.

Sopa de lima

Chicken broth with fragrant local citrus and tortilla chips, and the most popular appetizer or evening snack.

Pollo or cochinita pibil

Chicken or suckling pig wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a pib, a pit in the ground, the shredded meat then utilized in many other snacks.

Papadzules

Tacos filled with hard-boiled eggs and covered in a very rich red and green pumpkin-seed sauce.

Pavo en relleno negro

Turkey in a black, burnt-chile sauce.

Salbutes

Crisp corn tortillas topped with shredded turkey, pickled onions, avocado and radish, ubiquitous at dinner time.

Panuchos

The same as salbutes, with an added dab of beans.

Chaya

A spinach-like green that’s reputed to cure everything that ails you, often blended into a drink with pineapple.

Huevos motuleños

A sweet-savoury mix of fried eggs and beans on a crisp tortilla, topped with mild salsa, ham, cheese, peas and fried banana slices.

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