6 Antojitos Yucatecos You Can't Miss When Visiting the Yucatan Peninsula - Eating With Carmen Food Tours (2023)

6 Antojitos Yucatecos not to be missed when visiting the Yucatan Peninsula

A street guide to the flavors of the peninsula

Since pre-Hispanic times, the Mayans have taken their time creating the roots of our beloved Yucatecan cuisine. Always using the best ingredients from each region of Southeast Mexico. ThisThese dishes are believed to have originated in the countryside and later became established in major cities such as Mérida and Valladolid in the state of Yucatan. The conquest of Spain and the arrival of Lebanese immigrants in the early 1920s helped develop these dishes, adding exotic ingredients brought from distant lands that have become part of today's Mexican gastronomy.

ANTOJITOS (ahn-toh-hee-tohs)

From the word antojo, meaning "thirst", antojitos are snacks eaten in an informal setting or before a meal and are usually sold at street stalls and even in finer restaurants as an appetizer. They are usually made of tortillas or corn dough and contain some basic protein. Antojitos can also be a main course, breakfast or dinner, and not just a snack between meals, and the best part is that you will discover that each region of Mexico has its own typicalsnacks.

The Yucatan Peninsula is famous all over the world for the variety and excellent taste of traditional dishes. There are so many of them that sometimes we get lost, we don't know if it's better to eat on the street or in a restaurant, we have no idea what is written on the menu or what the vendors shout on the beach or plaza, so to help you, let me tell you something about our favorite Yucatecan dishes for an idea of ​​what to try on your next visit.


These may be two of the most popular Yucatecan Antojitos, readily available throughout the peninsula and usually served with a variety of toppings, such ascochinita,beef, chicken, turkey, fish, scrambled eggs or other stews -boils- Such asblack filling. The two may seem very similar to each other, but the cooking process and the beans mark the difference:

Panuchos (pah-NOO-chohs)


6 Antojitos Yucatecos You Can't Miss When Visiting the Yucatan Peninsula - Eating With Carmen Food Tours (1)Source: cocinavital.mx

Made of corn dough, cooked in a hot cast iron skillet (comal) until lightly puffed, then bursting is donetortilla,then stuffed with fried beans, sealed and finally lightly fried.
The whole thing is served with tomatoes, lettuce, a slice of cucumber, avocado, pickled onion and selected proteins.

Salbutes (sahl-BOO-tehs)

6 Antojitos Yucatecos You Can't Miss When Visiting the Yucatan Peninsula - Eating With Carmen Food Tours (2)Source: gourmetdemexico.com.mx

These are not pre-cookeddirty, the tortilla is first fried and then topped with the same ingredients as the panuchosi, but without the fried beans inside the tortilla. Salbuta are always thicker than panuh. Merida is a great place to try the tastiest salbuta, so book our local Merida experience so you don't miss out on this delicacy!


6 Antojitos Yucatecos You Can't Miss When Visiting the Yucatan Peninsula - Eating With Carmen Food Tours (3)Credits: https://topadventure.com/

The Lebanese heritage of Yucatecan cuisine. A Middle Eastern dish similar to meatballs made with crispy fried wheat dough. Traditionally stuffed with minced meat, but today you can find themBreadstuffed with Dutch Edam cheese, ham orcochinita. They are usually served with typical dishes from the Yucatan Peninsula, such as red onions marinated in sour orange juice and chile habaneros.

Lebanese immigrants, hoping that the Yucatecans would accept them, offered them their traditional dish, which over time became a highly valued antojito in Mexican gastronomy.

You can meet them in most restaurants serving traditional Yucatenese dishes, walking around the city at street stalls or even on the beaches of the peninsula, they are usually kept in glass cases, and sellers are easily recognized by the characteristic shout: "kibi, kibi, kibi!"

3. PARROT [papers]

6 Antojitos Yucatecos You Can't Miss When Visiting the Yucatan Peninsula - Eating With Carmen Food Tours (4)
Source: Cocinafacil.com.mx

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This term of Mayan origin comes from the wordplate, which means "to spread" and zul, which means "to soak".

A favorite dish of Merida residents, it consists of corn tortillas soaked in pumpkin seed sauce, filled with chopped boiled egg, wrapped like tacos and topped with more pumpkin seed sauce and a bit of tomato sauce. They are also blackparrots, though rare, in which pumpkin seed sauce is replaced with bean puree. Perfect for vegetarians and omnivores.


They are the oldestsnacksin Yucatan. They are made of a thin layer of dough stuffed with chicken, pork or turkey, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. There are more than a few varieties of Yucatecan tamales, here are some classic examples:

Tense tamales

6 Antojitos Yucatecos You Can't Miss When Visiting the Yucatan Peninsula - Eating With Carmen Food Tours (5)source: blog.xcaret.com

To make this type of tamale, the dough needs to be taut, which gives it a soft and delicious texture. These tamales are steamed and wrapped in banana leaf and stuffed with chicken. They are usually accompanied by tomato sauce with habanero peppers.

Queen's hand

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It is one of the vegetarian options in Yucatecan food. It's filled with chaya leaf (also known as Mayan spinach), ground pumpkin seeds, and a hard-boiled egg. It can also be filled with edamame. It is served in a tomato sauce with habanero peppers, and in some recipes the dough is mixed with xpelón seeds, a type of Yucatecan bean, or stuffedibesbean wrap, which is a type of white bean, ground pumpkin seeds, tomato sauce and chivesHoly leafand is traditionally eaten at Easter.

You can find more about tamales and how to prepare them in our post:Tamales: Ancient Food on Your Table.

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I think most of us have tried Mexican cuisinequesadillas, each state of Mexico gives them its own style and it is no different in Yucatan. These empanadas are made of corn dough with other ingredients added to give the dough the right texture, such as some flour, salt and sometimes baking powder, then they are stuffed with meat, chicken, minced pork, cheese, beans or chaja and deep-fried. After baking, you do not need to add spicy tomato sauce and pickled garlic, most like to add cabbage or green salad, fresh cheese, sour cream and avocado.

Empanadas can be found almost everywhere from food stalls to markets, but if you are in Playa you must try ourCulinary workshopsand create your own empanadas from scratch!


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Our favorite dessert to end a culinary trip or an evening walk in the Caribbean.

Stuffed, crispy pancakes, traditionally with "queso de bola" or marmalade and wrapped like a taco, #becauMexico.

Ingredientsawningit consists of a dough made of flour, eggs, milk and butter, which is pressed on a grill to form a thin pancake. Then you can choose between cheese and fruit like strawberries or bananas, peanut butter or chocolate syrup to add on top and roll up to enjoy.

Without a doubt, a classic treat not to be missed.

Yucatecan food is much more than Antojitos.

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There is no doubt that Yucatan occupies one of the top spots in Mexican gastronomy. I promise I will give you another post with more words on other traditional foods this area has to offer. In the meantime, if you want to tempt your taste buds with amazing new flavors, Yucatan and Quintana Roo may be your next destination, enjoy walking around the city on one of our culinary tours and eat as many anthojitas as possible, we hope to see you soon!


PS Don't forget to check us outCochineal recipeso you can try the most legendary Yucatecan dish in your home.

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What is Antojitos yucatecos? ›

From the word Antojo, which means “Craving”, antojitos are snacks eaten at informal settings or before meals and usually sold at street stands, or even in finer restaurants as appetizers. They are usually made with tortilla or corn dough and have some basic protein.

What food is Yucatan Peninsula known for? ›

Cochinita Pibil. As described, cochinita pibil is considered by many to be the signature dish of Yucatecan cuisine. It was the Mayan dish featured on the Netflix series Taco Chronicles and the one I was most excited to try in Merida.

Is Yucatan food spicy? ›

Yucatan food is rarely hot, but is almost always accompanied by a salsa with a chile base. If the queen of Yucatan spices is anatto, the king is definitely Habanero chile.

What region is the Yucatan Peninsula located in? ›

Yucatán Peninsula, Spanish Península de Yucatán, a northeastern projection of Central America, lying between the Gulf of Mexico to the west and north and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

What does antojitos mean? ›

In Mexico, the vast family of foods known as antojitos (“little cravings”), refers to street snacks or appetizers. They're usually small, savory bites intended as precursors to the main event or as a late-night bite after a few drinks.

What are the different types of antojitos? ›

Using this criterion we can say that there are eight types of antojitos: tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, tostadas, sopes, gorditas, chilaquiles and tamales.

What is the most popular food in Yucatan? ›

1. Cochinita Pibil: Most Popular Yucatan Food. You can try cochinita pibil pork inside tacos, panuchos and salbutes (we'll get to those!), tortas (sandwiches), and more. The king of Yucatan foods, cochinita pibil is essentially a slow-roasted pork dish of Mayan BBQ.

What is the popular dessert of Yucatan? ›

A marquesita is one of the most delicious creations to come from Yucatan. In Merida in 1938, Don Vicente Mena, an ice cream vendor, made the first rolled wafer stuffed with Edam cheese and sprinkled it with cajeta (caramel sauce). As most inventions do, the marquesita was born out of necessity.

What is the green drink in Yucatán? ›

One drink unique to Mexico's Yucatán peninsula is agua de chaya. You can spot this drink by its lime green color served chilled on ice. Other times, it might be whipped up into a smoothie after being mixed with other acid flavors like pineapple or lime.

What is the fruit of Yucatán? ›

The ciruela, or Mexican plum, is a small, juicy fruit that is widely enjoyed in the Yucatan Peninsula. It has a bright red or purple skin and a sweet and tangy flavor. The ciruela is commonly eaten fresh, and its juice is used to make refreshing drinks and popsicles.

What is one of the most typical dishes of Yucatán Mayan cuisine? ›

In response, cooks concocted pibil, now the region's most famous dish. A combination of spice rub and pit smoke, pibil was historically a means of preserving wild game that might otherwise spoil on the journey home. Today it's a connection to the region's Mayan past. (Barbecue is as good a way to do so as any.)

Are there pyramids in Yucatan Mexico? ›

Structure of Yucatan pyramids

Yucatan pyramids have stairs on all four sides that take you to the summit. On the top, there is usually a small temple dedicated to a Mayan deity. The deity varied by era and region. These pyramids were known as the Castle (El Castillo) many-a-time.

What is the largest city in the Yucatan Peninsula? ›

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Mérida (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmeɾiða] ( listen)) is the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán, and the largest city in southeastern Mexico. The city is also the seat of the eponymous Municipality.

Are there jungles in the Yucatan? ›

This expanse of tropical rainforest is the largest forest in Mexico and second largest tropical rainforest in Latin America after the Amazon. Most of Mexico's portion of the Maya Forest falls within the Yucatán Peninsula— the heartland of the ancient Mayan Civilization.

What do Mexicans call hard tacos? ›

Hard shell tacos are sometimes known as tacos dorados ("golden tacos") in Spanish, a name that they share with taquitos, a similar dish.

What do Mexicans call taco meat? ›

Carne Asada – Asada (or asado) means “roasted” in Spanish. Carne asada is a spicy, marinated grilled steak that's cut into strips. This is the meat that goes into burritos and tacos. Pollo Asado – Pollo means “chicken” in Spanish, which means that pollo asado is grilled, marinated chicken.

What does taco mean in Mexico? ›

In Mexican Spanish, taco means "light meal," but also "wedge" or "plug." Experts have made guesses about the indigenous roots of taco (like the Nahuatl word tlahco, "half" or "in the middle"), but this connection hasn't been proven.

What is the best known of Mexico's street foods? ›

Perhaps the most iconic and popular street food on our list, tacos are world-renowned for their crunch and ease of eating. Though they've become heavily Americanized, an authentic Mexican taco is simple: it features carne asada in a fresh, soft corn tortilla topped with minced white onions and fresh cilantro.

What is a Mexican street sandwich called? ›

What is a torta in Mexico? A torta is a sandwich served on a roll or bun. Torta's can come in many varieties and can be served both hot or cold. Your torta mexicana can be filled with a wide variety of ingredients including different types of meats and cheeses with beans, avocado, peppers, etc.

What are soft tacos called? ›

Soft-shell tacos

Traditionally, soft-shelled tacos referred to corn tortillas that were cooked to a softer state than a hard taco – usually by grilling or steaming. More recently, the term has come to include flour-tortilla-based tacos mostly from large manufacturers and restaurant chains.

What is a typical Yucatán breakfast? ›

The best breakfasts in Yucatán
  • Cochinita pibil. While you can find cochinita pibil in just about any restaurant in Yucatán, most locals pick theirs up at stands set up all over the city. ...
  • Huevos motuleños. ...
  • Lechon. ...
  • Pan dulce. ...
  • Chilaquiles. ...
  • Molletes. ...
  • Burritas. ...
  • Fruit.
Sep 16, 2021

What is the most eaten thing in Mexico? ›

The food industry of this Latin American country mirrors its people's traditional approach to everyday meals, with some of the favorite local dishes such as tacos and quesadillas enjoyed as much at home, as they are in restaurants or street-food establishments. Corn is the most eaten staple among Mexican consumers.

What is the most eaten dish in Mexico? ›

Tacos. Recognized as the most popular Mexican dish worldwide, the taco has become an art. Some say is the “art of eating with tortilla” and, of course, Mexicans would never deny a taco to anybody. Hundreds of fillings can be put on a corn tortilla!

What is the best season in Yucatán? ›

Best time to visit the Yucatán

Weather-wise, the dry high season winter months of December to April are the best time to visit, when calm skies and clear, more predictable seas make for the best snorkelling, diving and fishing.

What is the most common snack in Mexico? ›

Gansito. Arguably one of the most beloved snacks in Mexico is Gansitos. Gansitos are snack cakes that are filled with strawberry jelly and cream and a coconut cake. All of this is coated in chocolate and sprinkles to make the perfect midday dessert.

What is Yucatan meat? ›

Yucatan pork is a citrus braised pork shoulder, making it tender and flavorful. Make this Mexican recipe for delicious cochinita pibil! I love a well seasoned, slow cooked pork dish.

What is the most eaten dessert in the world? ›

1) Cream Brulee (FRANCE) -

Back in the 17th century, this dessert was introduced by Francois Massialot, a chef of a kitchen of a Duke of Orlean, who wrote about its recipe in a book. A creamy pastry a thin, crisp caramel layer is what is referred to as cream brulee and which has stolen everyone's heart.

What is the special drink of Mexico? ›

Tequila. Of all the popular shots in Mexico, tequila is the most famous, and it's found behind bars all over the world. Made from fermented blue agave plants, the process of distilling tequila is strictly regulated, and only a few places in the country can produce it.

What is the hallucinogenic drink in Mexico? ›

Ayahuasca is a decoction (concentrated liquid) made by prolonged heating or boiling of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine with the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub, although there can be a variety of other plants included in the decoction for different traditional purposes.

What is the special Mayan drink? ›

Balché is a mildly intoxicating beverage that was commonly consumed by the ancient Maya in what is now Mexico and upper Central America. Today, it is still common among the Yucatec Maya. The drink is made from the bark of a leguminous tree, Lonchocarpus violaceus, which is soaked in honey and water, and fermented.

What is the Mexican expensive fruit? ›

What makes pitaya (Mexican dragon fruit) one of the priciest fruits sold in Mexico? Pitayas are extremely delicate and go bad quickly. Workers must pick, and transport the pitayas all in a single day to ensure it can reach consumers without spoiling.

What is the most popular Mayan dish? ›

Authentic Tamales

No culinary exploration of Maya life would be complete without tamales. Made from masa harina (corn flour) and filled with chicken, pork, vegetables, and/or cheese, tamales are wrapped in corn husks—or a banana or plantain leaf—and steamed. Then they're unwrapped and topped with salsa.

What is the Mayans Favourite food? ›

What was the most common food? Ancient Maya diet was mostly maize, squash, beans (the 'Three Sisters,') and chili peppers. Of these, maize was most popular, and they ground it up and made tortillas to wrap meat and beans in.

Why can't you climb Chichen Itza? ›

There is no question that tourists, climbing the sites, had left their marks in the form of graffiti, and even the stone steps of monuments were already showing heavy signs of rapid erosion. Letting tourists climb up monuments has severely damaged the pyramid and other buildings in Chichen Itza.

What language do they speak in Yucatan? ›

Yucatec Maya, also called Maya t'aan or 'Maya Speech' is the second most widely spoken Mayan language, spoken today in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, and Belize.

What happened to the woman who climbed the Mayan pyramid? ›

After descending the pyramid steps, she was met by an angry crowd who yelled “jail jail jail” and “idiot,” though the woman seemed relatively unphased. Villalobos was then escorted from the site and taken to the nearby community of Tinum, where she received a fine of 5,000 pesos, roughly $250.

Is the Yucatán expensive? ›

Mexico is generally very affordable, but due to its popularity and location, the Yucatan is slightly more expensive than other parts of Mexico that receive less tourism. Budget travelers can survive on around $30 – $40 USD per day.

Which Mayan site has the most tourists in the Yucatán? ›

For most, no trip to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is complete without visiting Chichen Itza. This is the most popular, as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, though there are other UNESCO Mayan Ruins in Mexico with the distinction as well.

Are cartels in Yucatan? ›

Yes, Merida, Mexico is generally considered to be safe from the drug cartels that have been active in other parts of the country. The Yucatan region, where Merida is located, has a lower level of violence and crime compared to other parts of Mexico.

Are there jaguars in the Yucatán Peninsula? ›

Even though there are still more jaguars on the Yucatán Peninsula than anywhere else in the country, it's the only region in Mexico where the animal's range has diminished — in part because of the development of the so-called Riviera Maya, a string of heavily developed beach towns that snakes down the Caribbean coast ...

Are there tigers in Yucatan? ›

The Yucatán Peninsula is home to several species of large cats including jaguars, pumas, and ocelots — but not tigers.

What are antojitos made of? ›

This creamy and addictive Antojitos recipe is perfect for game day, or any time you need a Tex-Mex inspired appetizer or snack. Soft tortillas are filled with cream cheese, sour cream, jalapeno, bell pepper, and green onion. Rolled up and baked until hot and bubbly.

What do Mexicans call street tacos? ›

Mexicans refer to this street food as antojitos, or "little cravings," as they consider them a snack or small meal, not the main course. For that reason, most Mexican street food is small, making it easy to hold and eat as you walk the streets. The most significant difference between street tacos vs.

What did the Aztecs call tacos? ›

In Nahuatl (the Aztec language), tlahco means “middle”, and the best way to enjoy a tortilla was with something in the tlahco of it. The word tlahco for a filled tortilla is believed to be the origin of our modern “taco”.

What are the big Mexican sandwiches called? ›

What Is a Torta? A torta is a Mexican sandwich served on a soft roll and filled with meat, sauce, and various toppings such as crema, avocado, salsa, and iceberg lettuce.

Can you eat Mexican street food? ›

A lot of street food in Mexico is very safe to eat. Similarly, some brick-and-mortar restaurants may be unsafe. Even if you wash your hands, if the cooks didn't, you'll have a problem.

What is the most important food in Mexico? ›

Corn is the main base of Mexican cuisine. Corn, chili, and beans were the “holy trinity” of food for Mesoamerican civilizations. In fact, corn is the source of great Mexican dishes such as 'enchiladas', 'huaraches', 'machetes', 'tlacoyos', 'sopes', 'molotes' and 'quesadillas'.

What is suadero meat? ›

Suadero, in Mexican cuisine, is a thin cut of beef from the brisket (breast of the cow). Suadero is noted for having a smooth texture rather than a muscle grain. Typically, suadero is fried and used as a taco filling.

Do Mexicans put cheese on tacos? ›

What you may not realize is that cheese is not always included in Mexican dishes. Americanized versions of Mexican foods often do have some form of cheese or another, but authentic cuisine omits cheese a good portion of the time. Street tacos, for example, are not served with cheese in Mexico.

Do authentic tacos have lettuce? ›

In Mexico, tacos don't have lettuce on them. Or tomatoes, Or cheese. Authentic tacos are filled with high-quality marinated meats (or vegetables), & are delicious as they are. They don't need extra trimmings that you find on less traditional tacos.

What are blood tacos called? ›

Moronga or black pudding or morcilla, as the Spanish people call it, is coagulated blood! Yes!

What is the Mexican fried snack called? ›

Chicharrones de Harina {Fried Mexican Wheat Crisps with Chile and Lime} How to make homemade chicharrones de harina or Mexican fried wheat crisps—the ultimate crunchy street food snack. These crispy wheels are totally addictive.

What is a Tony Montana sandwich? ›

The Tony Montana Sandwich⚡️Pork Shoulder, Thick-but bacon, Swiss, Mayo, Mustard, Pickles w/frites or greens.

What is the Elvis sandwich called? ›

Elvis Presley once ate a sandwich made with a jar's worth of blueberry jam, a jar's worth of peanut butter, and an entire pound of bacon. The novelty item, served at the now-defunct Colorado Mine Company in Denver was known as the “Fool's Gold.” It cost $49.95 and was served in an entire hollowed-out loaf of bread.


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