Mayan cuisine can be tasted in some of the tourist attractions especially designed in Riviera Maya. In many of them, the original taste has been adapted to the current tastes, although the ingredients enjoyed in its origins are still used. Corn, chili and meat from animals that are common in Riviera Maya are the main protagonists of the dishes that you can eat at these places, dedicated to bring the mayan gastronomic culture to the current visitors.
Part of that meat used in meals made by the Mayans comes from turtles, iguanas and birds that were free. Later, they included animals brought by Spanish colonists, such as pork. Seeds and vegetables also came from crops that existed in the area, such as maize, chili or chocolate. Rice, for example, was also introduced by the Spaniards.
Mayan cuisine was characterized by the use of typical local ingredients and differs from other areas of Mexico.
Corn is the basis of many of the dishes and, with it, almost all the elements of these meals were made. It is used in tortillas, mixed with meats and even chocolate. The latter was made with the seed of the cocoa, adding corn and even chile, giving a stronger flavour that we can find today.
A Mayan menu may be composed of the appetizers, such as the Dzotobichay, a tortilla with banana leaves and pumpkin seed, or cast tamales. Entries are usually soups, such as the one of Huevos Motuleños, Yucatan lime soup, Zucchini flower, corn, avocado and coconut and so on and so forth.
You can continue with the meat, both animals typical of the area, and others who are currently bred in Riviera Maya. Turkeys, for example, are the domesticated version of the birds that lived in the area. Fish and seafood is also important, because it’s a coastal and has always been a seafaring tradition. The preparation of these dishes of fruits of the sea is a tradition and it is also part of the Mayan menu.
For the dessert, chocolate is an essential part, but also the large number of fruits that are grown in the area. Corn is omnipresent and is also part of the Xtabentun, a traditional liqueur that is taken as the end of the meal.