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Don't-Miss Dishes in Cancun

From fresh tortillas to street foods, here are some of Cancun’s must-try dishes.

Don't-Miss Dishes in Cancun
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Michele Laufik is a writer and editor, covering topics such as travel, beauty and wellness, and the events industry for various print and digital outlets. She recently moved from New York City and now calls Lexington her new Kentucky home. Michele has written for Glamour, NBCUniversal, Martha Stewart Living, PureWow, BizBash, among others.

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.


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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.


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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

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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.


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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.


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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

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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.

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