Food Friday: A Chef’s Cozumel

cozumel market
Cozumel, Mexico

While on this press trip the only place I had not been was Cozumel, a short ferry ride from Playa del Carmen. But don’t think I was taking a break from reading, I joined the group to take a food tour of Cozumel with a professional chef.

I adore food tours and I had stretched my stomach from eating so much I was ready.

To be honest, when you land in Cozumel you are bombarded with a tourist monstrosity that looks like Disney’s version of Mexico – except on Spring Break.


It’s weird. I don’t like it.


But I’ve learned there is a give in take in the Yucatan. Some party-till-you-puke tourism that I detest but also people who I adore.  And like Playa del Carmen, Cozumel has both – people live on this island I learned when you walk past all the Spring Break junk Cozumel is pretty interesting.

Emily runs Cozumel Chef, she is a classically trained French chef from the States who has discovered all the best haunts on Cozumel, things I would have never discovered on my own.


mexican empanadas

Amazing empanadas served on red plastic tables with matching chairs. Who knew shrimp and cheese would be so good – not the Italians who won’t pair seafood and cheese.


cozumel restaurant

El Sazon de Camaron for shrimp tacos, with refried beans as a base to keep the shrimp on top and cute waiters to keep us amused as they are made to order.


cozumel market

And there’s no food tour complete without a visit to the market.

This was only some of what Emily offers but if you’re interested in getting off the weird strip where people wear balloon hats?? then she’s a good one to take you to the other side of Cozumel. After taking the tour I’m actually interested in going back to the island to see what else it has to offer besides the obvious.





    • Ayngelina says

      I was only there for an afternoon but I find it hard to believe that Cozumel gets any kind of negative review safety wise. I don’t know what there is to do for kids as we skipped the touristy things and headed straight for the food but I can’t imagine people have said its dangerous as it’s pretty stable for tourism.

  1. says

    Great food shots.
    I like your description. Though I’ve not been, there are other places in the world that feel like that and it takes perspective to find the gems of genuineness that remain. Have there been other places you felt like that? Recently, for me, parts of Boracay were like that.
    Christine Martin recently posted..The pain of regret

  2. says

    I’m a bit sad to admit that Cozumel is the only place I’ve visited in Mexico – and I only got to spend a day there because it was a cruise. I do remember some very fresh, nice food though. This looks amazing – if I had to pick a culinary course to take, I’d definitely choose Mexican.

  3. says

    It’s unfortunate that the most many people see of Mexico is Cozumel. It can be a nice place if you look carefully, but most are there for a day on a cruise ship and just see the touristy stuff. Personally I think if you are going to spend any amount of time in Mexico,Riviera Maya is the best choice. It has gorgeous beaches, interesting sightseeing and some wonderful resorts. I have stayed several places there but I think my favorite is Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita. An incredible place. (not an ad – I just love it there!)
    Jan Ross recently posted..The Junipine Resort in Sedona, Arizona

  4. says

    Thanks for visiting our little island, Ayngelina! Both my husband and I live here full time. We avoid the cruise ship culture that dominates the waterfront and love the out of the way spots like Bucannos and Playa Palancar as well as the entire east beach that is nearly untouched by development. Just need to ask around and you will find the gems. Love those empanadas! And safety is not an issue here. I hate how the US media has brainwashed people into thinking that this part of Mexico is unsafe. They just want you to keep your money within the US borders. Let us know if you com back this way and we will take you to have some lion fish lightly breaded with coconut that is to die for! 😉

  5. says

    Hello Angelina,

    Found your blog via someone else’s. you write and take photographs much better than I will ever do (I try though ; my own blog is only a “family-and-friends” one right now), but strangely, your life and my life relate in many ways. I left 2 years ago to find myself and found much much more on the road than I ever imagined. Will be living in Mexico soon (for a while, following my heart this time, but following my travel whims as well) ; love Cozumel, will be back diving as soon as possible but would definitely love to have a food tour like the one you just talked about.
    Shall we meet up some time?
    Enjoy yourself, always!

    • Ayngelina says

      Wow Julie you blog in three languages, that is far more difficult than photography. I’m back in Canada but heading to Loreto, Mexico in May (a secret up until now) if you’re in that area we should definitely meet up.

  6. says

    Glad you enjoyed the island. We love living and working here. I believe I saw a statistic for 2010 that there were fewer drug-related murders in the ENTIRE state of Quintana Roo than in Wichita, Kansas, USA.

    So, I wouldn’t consider Cozumel to be unsafe, unless you rent a scooter! Then you’re really putting yourself in danger.
    Michael recently posted..Telchac Pueblo

    • Ayngelina says

      Glad you piped in Michael, I wasn’t sure but Cozumel seemed pretty tame – except at that weird ballon hat bar.

  7. says

    As always the food shots look amazing. I could really go for a great empanada right now. Never been to this part of the world strangely…well never really been south of the US in the Americas, and I know it’s something I really should change.
    Anwar recently posted..Friday Photo: DC Cherry Blossoms

    • Ayngelina says

      Food tours are my favourite. I tried to convince people in Ecuador to do market tours and they could not understand why tourists would want to go to the market or need a tour of it.

  8. Nick Williams says

    Wow! A very interesting place. The empanadas looks really delish! Hope I can make it there too! Will absolutely watch out for your other destinations. :)

  9. Eugenie says

    Your last posts really made me want to eat Mexican food, I really should try to find out if there is any good restaurant over here!! But I can’t believe how you can eat three plates… Most of the time I’m not able to finish one plate… (that’s where friends come in handy to try their dishes)

    By the way, in Belgium shrimp croquettes (garnaalkroketten) are common, combining shrimps and cheese 😉
    I’m not really sure, but I think it’s actually ‘belgian cuisine’, in any case, it’s a typical starter plate here!.

  10. says

    I had to admit thatr Cozumel is one of the spot I didn’t visited on my road trip to Mexico! I had been told that it wasn’t worth visiting it and so didn’t stopped! So bad trusting people and thinking their wright!

  11. says

    I am so excited to see a post on food in Cozumel! My husband and I love it there (as long as you get away from the cruise ship piers!), and we will definitely be visiting the restaurants you mentioned next time. Also, Emily’s websites has a bunch of great recs too!
    Heather recently posted..Day 5 of Clean Eating


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