Cancun/Riviera Maya
Cancun and the Riviera Maya offer a variety of cuisines ranging from international fare to traditional Mexican dishes, as well as Maya recipes adapted to suit modern-day gourmands. Seafood dishes such as Pescado Tikin-Xic (grilled fish prepared with local spices and wrapped in banana leaves) lead the list, but other local favorites include panuchos (tortillas stuffed with refried black beans and topped with chopped cabbage, pulled chicken, pickled red onions, and avocado), salbutes (puffed, deep-fried tortillas topped with chopped cabbage, pulled chicken or turkey, pickled red onions, and jalapeño peppers), and chochinita pibíl (slow-roasted pork seasoned with local spices and wrapped in banana leaves). Tequila could be considered the national drink. While Mexicans traditionally drink it straight with a side of salt and lime, or chased by sangrita (a blend of orange, lime, and tomato juice topped with hot chili peppers), U.S. aficionados usually opt for the margarita, tequila sunrise, or tequila sour. Beer, another favorite, often has a twist in these tropical climes, with cervezas preparadas and micheladas. A chelada is a light beer blended with the juice of an entire lime and served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass. Add black pepper, hot sauce, and Worcestershire, and you've got a michelada—supposedly a cure for hangovers. The name comes from Michela helada, or “my ice cold beer." Other local beverages include non-alcoholic cuzamil—a tangy blend of fresh orange, pineapple, and chaya (a member of the spinach family)—and jugo de jamaica, made from the hibiscus flower. The Maya drinkbalche, made from fermented tree bark, is mildly intoxicating. And the Maya potion xtabentún is an anise liqueur, fermented in honey from local flowers.