Although Cancún is most famous as a spring break destination with a party atmosphere, this city on the Yucatán Peninsula is also a great place to try traditional Mexican foods made with local, seasonal ingredients. From freshly-made tortillas to street foods to beer cocktails, here are some of Cancún’s must-try dishes.
Visit Mercado 23 to watch food vendors prepare local Yucatán-style dishes, including freshly made corn tortillas. Order some served with pork, egg, and onions; Mexican cheeses; or a variety of other toppings.
As you stroll though Cancún, be on the lookout for food carts selling these fried pastries. The batter is piped into the fryer using a star-shaped nozzle, which gives the treats their signature ridges. The finished churro is sprinkled with sugar and is sometimes also served with dulce de leche or cajeta, a Mexican caramel sauce.
Michelada or Chelada
Swing by one of Cancún’s many nightclubs, and order a michelada cocktail, which is made with Mexican beer, lime juice, hot sauce, and (usually) Worcestershire sauce and is served in a salt-rimmed glass. If you’re not into spicy drinks, sip the chelada instead; it’s a milder version that contains only beer and lime juice.
To navigate Cancún’s food scene, join a guided food tour, and sample a variety of dishes, including a seafood ceviche, at local eateries. The Mexican version of ceviche is generally marinated in lime juice and contains tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cilantro. It is often served as a tostada, atop a deep-fried or toasted tortilla.
This is a dish of pork crackling or fried pig skin is a popular snack throughout Mexico. Nibble on it as you explore the city, or enjoy it in dishes like chicharrón tacos (where it is served in a tortilla with avocado and cheese) or chicharrón in salsa verde (where it is dressed in a green sauce made from tomatillos).
Elote and Esquites
These dishes are two of Mexico’s most popular corn-based treats: Esquite is a cup of kernels served with lime juice, powdered chilli, mayonnaise, and shredded cheese that is eaten with a spoon, while elote is grilled corn on the cob sprinkled with flavorings like chili powder and crumbled cheese.