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Culinary Mexico – famous and best food of Cancún

Culinary Mexico – famous and best food of Cancún

The Mexican cuisine is so varied and heaps of fun to discover.

The food of Cancun in the Yucatán Peninsula has strong influences from the Spanish and the Aztecs, but its origins can be traced some 9,000 years back to the Mayans. This ancient empire migrated here and brought with them traditions like open fire cooking in ceramic pots and ingredients like batata (sweet potato), beans, corn, chilies, avocados and tomatoes. Bean paste on corn tortillas? That’ll be a Mayan creation.

Cancún has plenty of foodie experiences to explore with a variety of excellent restaurants. Here’s the famous and best food of Cancún we’ve stumbled on.

Best food of Cancun mayan influence
The Mayans definitely left their mark in the food of Cancún


If you’re heading out to Central America and are after a true taste of Mexico, Cancun certainly has some of the best spots to suit all budgets.

La Destileria is the best place to sample some of the traditional flavours and despite the stereotype of Mexico food being meat heavy, vegetarians are well accommodated here. La Destileria has local musicians who play from table to table and serve up a mean Kiwi Margharita.

Casa Tequila is another great spot for getting up close and personal with the local culture. It is nestled right in the heart of Punta Cancun where all the action is and always has plenty of atmosphere. It is famous for its yummy and super fresh pulpos (octopus) and enchilladas (corn tortilla roll filled with meat, cheese, beans and more). Goes down well with their delicious Margharitas (noticing a theme developing here?)

La Habichuela is the place to come for a truly upmarket experience, in a setting which will make you feel like you’re a Mayan Queen. They serve up delicious fresh fish, the Grouper Supreme is the specialty not to miss. How best to wash it down? Margharitas of course, but look out for their unique shrimp cocktail!

Grouper fish best food of Cancun
The yummy Grouper Supreme at La Habichuela restaurant in Cancún


Quick bites are big business in Cancún, with a a busy street food scene wherever you look.

Tacun is famous for its tacos and has a huge variety. Chorizo taco is one of the tastiest and locals come here for an evening of taco and beers.

Parque las Palapas is considered the real heart of Cancún and should be top of your hit list. This is the place to spoil yourself with street food from churros, ice cream, tostadas and more.

Sopa de lima is the famous Yucatán lime soup and very popular with the locals. It’s a a zingy soup, made from corn tortillas, with lime, chicken, avocados, vegetables and plenty of spices, quite similar to the Greek Easter avgolemoni soup. Sopa de limon is sure to fire up your taste buds in true Mexican style.

sopa de limon best food of Cancun
Sopa de limon – a Yucatán classic


Room for dessert? There’s always room, right?

If you’re in street food territory, sampling marquesitas is a must. These are yummy Yucatán specialties of thin, cooked dough, oozing with a filling of your choice.

Another popular sweet dish you’ll find in both restaurants and street food stalls across Cancún are churros. Churros are fried doughnuts, which are sprinkled with cinnamon. They are a popular evening snack to up the calories after a night of dancing.

Chocoholics need to head over to Ah Cacao Chocolate Café. They are one of the best places to get desserts in the city. Highlights include Mexican spiced chocolate, delicious chocolate flavoured coffee, silky smooth ice cream, crunchy choc cookies and more.

Churros best food of Cancun Mexico
Churros in Cancún – image by Carolyn Coles used under a Creative Commons Licence


As well as sampling the culinary delights, don’t forget to treat yourself to some of Cancun’s best tipple. You’ll find extensive lists of tequila in lots of restaurants. At La Destileria restaurant you can take a tequila tour to learn how the drink is crafted.

Margaritas are one of our favourite accompaniments to all meals and this is the place to get your fix of this awesome cocktail.

Coffee lovers are in for a treat here as the Mexicans know how to make a delicious coffee. You don’t even need to go to a fancy place to find one. Wherever you order a simple Americano, you won’t be disappointed.

Coffee best food in Cancun
Coffee loving Stefan was in heaven in Cancún!

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Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born.

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