The best street food in Cancun is found at unassuming little stands, eaten with your fingers and an icy cold Coca Cola in a glass bottle. Each vendor has their own special touch, a flavor all their own or a secret salsa recipe that they guard with their life. When you find your place, that little hidden corner that knows what you want before you order and that you prefer corn over flour tortillas, you’ll return again and again.
For Cancunenses, finding the perfect street food is a journey that never ends, a delicious and delightful quest of love for food! We all have our faves and we would LOVE to guide you through the tastes of the best street food in Cancun. Until you can join us for a Cancun food tour, how about a little introduction to some of the dishes we love most?
“Tacos de Canasta” literally translates to “Basket Tacos” as they are served in large cloth-covered baskets carried through the streets. These steamed tacos are soft and delicious, cuddled in their layers of butcher paper to keep them warm and perfectly portable. They can be filled with frijoles, chicharon, chorizo and potato and so much more and they go perfectly with a healthy shot of spicy salsa. Known in some parts as “tacos sudados” or “sweaty tacos”,whatever you call them they are a filling and tasty way to start the day.
Cochinita Pibil is the most iconic dish from the Yucatan recipe book, you’ll find it on every street corner in the peninsula. Tender pork slow-roasted in a traditional underground “pib” layered with banana leaves. The delicious seasonings of the meat like achiote and sour orange aren’t spicy, but add on the pickled onions and habanero salsa and you have an explosion of flavor that will blow your mind. Order up some cochinita tacos, tortas (sandwiches) or go whole hog and order kilos to go to feed the family.
A list of the best street food in Cancun MUST include esquites and elotes, they are everywhere! “Elote” is a whole grilled ear of corn on the cob and “esquites” are cups filled with delicious corn off the cob and eaten with a spoon. Both are smothered with mayo or butter, “queso fresco” (fresh cheese), lots of lemon juice and dashes of chile powder. These are essentials in the Mexican lexicon of food, a burst of flavor with every bite!
Tacos. Do we really need to say more? Loved around the world, tacos come in all shapes, sizes and flavors but they all have a couple of things in common. A tortilla made with corn or flour and a filling that is usually grilled meat. Some taco stands are proud of their selection of toppings like cheese, beans, rice, onions and cilantro, others just keep it simple but have killer salsas. There are endless variations of tacos and the salsas that accompany them. Try a classic “taco de bistek” (beef taco) with a squeeze of lemon and a shot of habanero salsa and you will be hooked for life.
You can’t possibly be full after 17 tacos, right? Dessert time my friends. Always leave room for dessert. Head to Parque las Palapas and discover a selection of brightly colored carts with shining lights, tempting you with their wares. Handmade ice cream is out of this world, with flavors like lemon, coco, strawberry, and cheese, you’ll want to try them all. “Marquesitas” are a local fave from Yucatan, cooked in the moment with your choice of fillings, it’s a bit of a culinary extravaganza. Fresh waffle-like creations rolled up and filled with “queso de bola” Edam cheese, Nutella, jams of all flavors, cajeta or peanut butter and more. A sweet and savory treat made before your eyes on a gas-fired iron press!
Contact us today to reserve your own Cancun Food Tour and we’ll show you the insiders look at all the deliciousness of Mexico in one great tour. We can’t wait to show you around!