Hae Mee Tng (Prawn Noodle Soup)
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What: One of Mexico’s all-star soups, sopa de lima, or lime soup, is hard to resist, even on sultry Caribbean nights when all you want is a cold drink. Shredded chicken or turkey, crispy-fried tortilla strips, and lots of local lime—which is different from any regular old lime you've previously encountered—and lime juice mingle with onion, cilantro, and chiles in an aromatic clear-brothed bowl of goodness. Bursting with fresh, bright, tangy flavor, this dish is a love letter to the area's prized citrus, and it’s totally unmissable.
Where: In a quiet pocket of downtown Cancún, near Parque de Las Palapas, we love the high-ceilinged, white-tableclothed Labná (998-892-3056; Margaritas 29, map), a friendly restaurant that specializes in Yucatecan cuisine—and doesn’t disappoint. You’ll want to try everything here.
When: Daily, noon-10pm
Good to know: The weekday buffet (Mon-Fri, 12:30pm-5pm; 158p per person) at Labná includes sopa de lima and other Yucatecan favorites, including cochinita pibil, escabeche oriental, salbutes, and papadzules.
Order: The sopa de lima (65p) is something special here—a server pours the broth into your bowl at the table, which keeps the tortilla strips crispy till the last second, and then finishes the dish with chopped onion and habanero chiles, lime rind, and cilantro. It’s tangy, bright, and spicy, simultaneously waking up your palate and settling gently into your bones as only chicken-based soups can. Let it be the start of a beautiful meal here; move next to the queso relleno, the pavo en pepian, or perhaps the escabeche oriental.
Alternatively: You will see sopa de lima at many restaurants along the coast, but they’re certainly not all created equal. We found that Yucatecan restaurants in particular seem to give the dish the attention it deserves, so we suggest the excellent El Faisan y El Venado (Carretera Federal at Calle 2 Norte, map), a locals’ favorite off the highway in Playa del Carmen. Other good bets are loncherias, like Alexia y Geovanny on Isla Mujeres (outside Mercado Municipal Javier Rojo Gómez Centro, Vicente Guerrero betw. Lopez Mateos & Matamoros, map) or Loncheria El Pocito (998-884-4736; 31 Norte, betw. Av. Lopez Portillo & Chichen Itza, map) in downtown Cancún, where you’re more likely to taste some home-cooked love.
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