As a tourist destination it can be tough to find where to eat in Cancun that isn’t a tourist trap. My arrival in Cancun was a bit rough but ultimately a pork taco saved what appeared to be an inevitable meltdown.
Food is always the highlight of any great trip so if you’re in Cancun and want to wander from the hotel zone keep this in mind:
1. Look for an eatery without gringos
Sure any taco is better than Taco Bell. While eating tacos with meat not coming from a tube is an improvement, locals know where to find the really good ones.
Stay away from posh places frequented by lots of foreigners touting 2-for-1 margaritas. Instead head one block in any direction to find locals eating amazing food on plastic tables and chairs.
There’s heaps of these places around Cancun. Look for menus with no photos, or better yet, no menu at all. It’s okay if you don’t speak Spanish just point to some food and hand over the pesos.
2. Parque las Palapas
At night locals and their children flock to this park to eat from an outdoor food court and be entertained by the buskers. The comida corrida (daily special) prices are cheap and the food is good.
There has been some concerns about the hygiene in the stalls but I had no problems with it. Besides you’d never eat from a restaurant if you saw its kitchen.
3. The bus terminal
I may never forgive myself for not following up sooner on this recommendation by a Chowhound local. If I had known on my arrival I would have camped outside their stall the entire time.
There are two stalls, one by a man, which I have not tried, and one with two women. Don’t be intimidated by the 10 different toppings, they speak a bit of English.
I had both a shrimp taco, which was great. But the taco which will forever be ingrained in my brain (along with a rice, egg dish I had on a train from Thailand to Cambodia) will be the chile relleno taco.
The tender poblano pepper filled with cheese was heaven. It’s early in my journey but I feel I may have hit my culinary peak too soon.
But I don’t want to be too pessimistic, I fully intend to eat my way through Central and South America.