Ready to indulge in the various local cuisines? Cozumel has a wide variety of explosive flavors that will keep you hungry for more. Here’s our list of the top 12 must eats and the best places to try them out.
1. Cochinita Pibil
A Yucatan favorite. Slow roasted pork, hence the name of Cochinita –tiny pig. You’ll find it in tacos or tortas on the island. We recommend trying either a Torta de Cochinita Pibil or Taco de Cochinita Pibil.
Best place to find on the island: Served every Sunday morning on Calle 23 between 25 Av y 25 Bis. Get there early…the solo carne sells out fast!
2. Pescado Frito
The Fried fish is a classic dish in Mexico. It’s a quick and easy way to make a yummy meal. You can’t go wrong with fried fish! Here in Cozumel, most people go for a grouper or red snapper, but there are plenty of other fish in the sea which are great for frying. It all depends on what you like.
Best place to find on the island: San Carlos Pescadaria 50 Av Bis between Rosada Salas & Calle 3 Sur
3. Salbutes & Panuchos
Salbutes are delicious antojitos are small, thick tortillas with a variety of toppings, including the local versions of moles, made with ground spice mixtures called recados. The most popular topping of all is shredded, cooked chicken.
A Panucho is a Mexican food specialty from the Yucatán made with a fried tortilla that is stuffed with refried black beans and topped with chopped cabbage, pulled chicken, tomato, pickled red onion, avocado, and pickled jalapeño pepper.
Best place to find on the island: El Mercado 11 Av entre 25 y 30 Av
Pozole is a bowl of delicousness! Pozole is a traditional soup in Mexico. It is made from hominy, with chicken (or pork) and a mildly seasoned broth. Pozole is served with shredded cabbage, onion, radishes, & limes for garnishing.
Best place to find on the island: Tacotales on 15 Av between Rosado Salas & Calle 3. Note: Otates is open from noon to 4am. This is an old picture….but the food is fresh!
A popular Mexican dish consisting of masa dough and smashed pinto beans placed in the center before it’s given the oblong shape. Filled with a variety of toppings including salsa, onions, potato, cilantro and other protein such as pastor or chorizo, and then finished with queso fresco. We recommend a huarache con papas y pastor!
Best place to find on the island: Taqueria Chilangos 30 Av and Calle 3
A very popular dish in tropical areas. It looks like a fish salad cooked in lime juice, but it can be prepared with many different ingredients.
Best place to find on the island: Everywhere! Particularly La Conchita del Caribe Av 8 de Octubre (formerly Av 65) between Calles 13 & 15 Sur
7. Tacos al Pastor
Crisp-thin shavings of vertical spit-roasted pork, marinated with guajillo chiles and achiote, piled on double corn tortilla and topped with chopped onion, pineapple and cilantro. The meat is cooked in a Trompo de Pastor (a stout metal skewer loaded up with strips of marinated pork cut in a rounded shape).
Best place to find on the island: Super Taqueria El Pique Av 30 between Juarez y Calle 2 &Los Seras Corner of Av 30 & Morelos
Baked or fried turnovers that are made with pastry dough and stuffed with endless combinations of meat and/or vegetables or fruit. Empanadas are usually shaped like half-moons and range in size from bite-sized to family-sized.
Best place to find on the island: Punta Sur Cerveceria 10 Av entre Rosado Sales y Calle 3 , Del Sur Parrilla Argentina corner of 5 Av and calle 3 Sur, El Paste 60av y 55 sur bis or Calle 2 between Melgar and 5Av
Corn in Mexico is commonly found in two forms: elote and esquites. Both are delicious. Esquites are cups of corn covered in butter, lime juice, chile powder, cheese, and mayo.
Best place to find on the island: in the southwest corner of the main Benito Juarez Plaza. We haven’t seen this stand open lately (March, 2021), but hopefully he will be back soon!
We do not need a special occasion to cook Chilaquiles, they are served every day in family homes, restaurants and hotels across Mexico. Either for breakfast or brunch, green or red Chilaquiles are a favorite dish. They are served garnished with crumbled cheese, cilantro, onion and topped with cream.
Best place to find on the island: Everywhere! Particularly at LA Candela corder of 5 Av and Calle 6
Crisp and golden on the outside, soft and almost moist in the center, and covered in a gritty mix of sugar and cinnamon, churros are one of the Mexicans’ favorite desserts. You can find churros being sold by street vendors in little paper bags in stands that have a heating light to keep them warm.
Best place to find on the island: Javier…delivers on his bike! Otherwise in the main Benito Juarez Plaza in the evening. Javier is currently recovering from a health issue (March, 2021)….but hopefully he will be out and about very soon!
Marquesitas are a crispy crepe rolled up and traditionally filled with melted shredded cheese and a sweet filling of your choice. These bittersweet desserts are only popular in the Yucatan Peninsula. Look for small carts with a big sign that says “Marquesitas”. Watching them as they are made is part of the fun of getting one.
Best place to find on the island: in the main Benito Juarez Plaza in the evening