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<< back to foods in Coastal Yucatan


Papadzules from Yaxche in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

What: For what’s thought to be one of the oldest traditional Yucatecan dishes, tortillas are dipped in a creamy green sauce made of ground pumpkin seeds (pepitas), epazote, and broth; then they’re stuffed with boiled eggs, rolled up, and draped in more sauce. A chiltomate salsa—tomatoes and habanero chilies—goes on top. Papadzules are like a Mayan take on enchiladas, pared down and more delicate in flavor. They're delicious and unique to this area, and an absolute must-eat on the Yucatán Peninsula.

Where: We got our papadzul fix at Yaxche (5th Ave. & 22nd St., map) in Playa del Carmen, right on the tourist-filled main drag, Quinta Avenida. We have mixed feelings about even recommending this upscale, commercialized, Palm Beach-y part of town, but the truth is, the Mayan food at this restaurant is still legit (and damn good), if a little on the pricey side. We're just grateful you can still find authentic Mayan food in Playa del Carmen!

When: Daily, 8am-11pm

Order: The papadzules (95p) come three to a plate, with some lovely garnishes including whole pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed powder, ringed around the plate. The dish is milder in flavor than you might expect, but we loved the creamy texture of the boiled eggs and green sauce—and the chiltomate salsa gives it a nice kick.

Alternatively: Along the coast, it’s difficult to find this dish outside of Yucatecan restaurants, so get thee to a good one. Our favorites include El Faisan y El Venado (Carretera Federal at Calle 2 Norte, map), in a much more “local” part of PDC (right off the main highway, actually), and Labná (998-892-3056; Margaritas 29, map) in downtown Cancún; or try Loncheria El Pocito (998-884-4736; 31 Norte, betw. Av. Lopez Portillo & Chichen Itza, map), also in downtown Cancún. 

More: See 16 other essential dishes and drinks from the Yucatán Peninsula.


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