OK, time for less narrative, more pretty pictures.
Bees swarm the displays of sweets in every market. I always thought people must bring the bees with them, and put them out to show off how sweet their treats are. I mean, where the hell are the bees coming from in the middle of the city? But then I saw a girl with a fly whisk actually trying to brush them away. (I guess every other vendor has just given up.) And then I noticed bees on flowers in someone’s teeny front-almost-all-concrete-patch of a yard. The ancient Maya kept bees and traded honey. Those bees are here to stay.
Here’s another Hanal Pixan specialty, mucbipollo. It’s a big ol’ tamale, studded with black beans and chicken.
We stopped at the market in Oxkutzcab–I’ve never been there early enough to see much action. But in the morning, the whole front area is filled with people selling oranges and flowers wholesale. Inside are snack and craft vendors. And this woman, selling delicate thin disks of chocolate, patted out by hand like tortillas. Her fingerprints were in every one.
The chocolate was completely bitter, and so intense as to be medicinal. Good medicinal.
Just across from her sat a woman shelling xpelon, the little black beans eaten everywhere in the Yucatan:
Not all tradition is good. I see this stuff everywhere too, and it fills me with horror.
I believe it’s white bread slathered with some kind of mayo-y treatment, and studded with canned peas. Hilarious, in an El-Bulli-wait-I-thought-this-was-going-to-be-something-normal mindf**k way.
Here’s some slightly more high-brow junk food:
Poblano pepper stuffed with cream cheese (most beloved cheese of the Yucatan, aka queso Filadelfia) and shrimp, and–yeah, baby–battered and deep-fried. Tastes great even if you’re drinking some healthy green juice instead of your ninth beer of the night.*
*Wondering where to get the deliciousness? Check Pescaditos, in Cancun. Details in my Cool Cancun & Isla Mujeres iPhone app.