When you’re on your Cancun vacation, chances are pretty good you’ll be well taken care of within the confines of wherever you stay. That said, you (and your taste buds) would be missing out if you didn’t venture out into Mexico’s vibrant city streets. This is where some of Mexico’s best and most authentic cuisine can be found. Of course, the best way to eat like a local is to find out where all of the street vendors are. The best place to find Mexican street food in Cancun is Parque de las Palapas, Cancun’s central park and a major gathering spot for families, especially on the weekends. Here, you won’t just eat like a local, you’ll eat with the locals, so it’s best to know what you’re doing. Here are some food items to look out for while you peruse the options (and since there are so many options, you may spend the rest of your trip moving from cart to cart).
If you’re just looking for a great snack, keep your eyes peeled for vendors with large metal pots. Chances are those pots contain esquites, a charred corn salad made primarily with mayo, chile powder, lime juice, and crumbly queso fresco.
Be sure to try the tacos, served on fresh, soft corn tortillas and filled with the meat of your choice. A far cry from the hard shell or flour tortilla tacos found in Tex-Mex restaurants, you’ll find that these tacos are more about the meat than all the bells and whistles. Pass on more elaborate toppings and go the traditional route, with a simple a mix of chopped onion and cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and whatever salsa the vendor has on offer.
If you’re very hungry, you can’t go wrong with a torta, a usually massive sandwich served on soft bread with beans, sliced avocado, jalapeno and cheese. Again, the choice of meat is entirely up to you, but be sure to throw some fresh salsa verde and lime juice to keep the flavors bright.
A restorative and simple chicken soup garnished with lime juice and tortilla strips, perfect for the morning after one too many margaritas.
For this ideal afternoon snack, a layer of beans is sandwiched between two deep-fried tortillas, then topped with the meat of your choice. A Yucatan specialty.
Lastly, you’ll want to satisfy that sweet tooth. Try a marquesita, a sort of Mexican crepe that you can have filed with nutella or caramel, or go with the classic churro, a fried stick of cinnamon-y goodness.
As you can see, you’ll never go hungry when exploring the streets and parks of Cancun. The only conundrum is making a choice out of so many delicious foods and snacks. Nonetheless, a “food excursion” should be at the top of your list of things to do while vacationing in Mexico. ¡Buen provecho!