You want to eat your way around the Yucatán Peninsula? Say adios to any preconceived notions of Mexican food you might have in your head. Sure, you can find quesadillas, tortas, and tacos al pastor here, but the regional stuff is markedly different from elsewhere in Mexico—even if you stick to the well-traveled coast, the focus of our content here. A product of the area’s Mayan-territory past, tropical climate, and geographical position as an important land and coastal trade route, Yucatecan cuisine combines ancient Mayan agricultural staples and proteins—such as maiz, beans, pumpkin (and pumpkin seeds), chiles (particularly habaneros), tomatoes, naranja agria (sour orange), annatto seeds, eggs, turkey, fish—with global influences from the Caribbean to Europe to the Middle East. Recados, the complex ground spice/herb blends that form the basis of many dishes, are as likely to include cumin as locally grown oregano. This food reflects an eclectic, uncommon collection of cultures and ingredients, brought together in a most delicious way.

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