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Travel Guide and Information about Cancun

Activities

  • Ocean and beaches, For the more advanced swimmers, the edge of the open ocean can make for a challenging and fun swimming experience. For less advanced swimmers, or those with little ones, pick a resort facing Isla Mujeres for a gentle and relaxing aquatic experience. Be aware that the island becomes extremely hot during day and there are few, if any opportunities to cool off. The sand found here is ground up coral and doesn't get hot like you might expect. The beaches are absolutely gorgeous and the water is crystal clear and warm. Spending the day on the beaches of Cancún is not only an opportunity to relax, but to shop as well. Many of the native people of Cancún make a living by selling different items to the tourists on the beach. There are a variety of items to be purchased from these vendors, items such as sarongs, jewelry, sea shells and more. However, as in the markets, you have to be willing to bargain to get the right prices.

  • Xcaret . Xcaret is an eco-archaeological park located about 76 km (46 mi) south of Cancún and less than 7 km (4 mi) south of Playa del Carmen, in the Riviera Maya. Here you can admire tropical flora and fauna typical of the region as well as different expressions of the Mayan culture. In its facilities you can find an archaeological site, snorkeling in underground rivers, beach, butterfly pavilion, orchid greenhouse, regional fauna breeding farm, Mayan village, jaguar island, among others. For additional cost visitors can swim with captive dolphins; enjoy the Temascal and Spa services. At night you can admire the unique night show “Xcaret México Espectacular” which features a variety of performances from ancient Mayan culture to traditional Mexican music and dances. Admission US$80.

  • Bird watching at the airport, It may sound odd, but because the airport is basically carved out of a large block of forest, there are all kinds of birds and animals around, especially early in the morning. Look for the Mexican agoutis (large forest rodents) grazing on the lawns next to the forest.

  • Swim with Dolphins, . Wet'n'Wild also offers dolphin experiences. (Beware: no cameras are allowed, then they charge M$25 for the first photo, M$20 for each subsequent one). Other great places to swim with captive dolphins are Delphinus Dreams and Dolphin Discovery.

  • Jeep Adventures. Experience some of the most beautiful parts of Cancún in a self-drive jeep safari. Tour prices ususually include an experienced guide, and the chance to swim or snorkel in underground caves, explore Mayan ruins and visit a jungle reserve.

  • Aqua Tours. Exciting water tour. Choose either a jet ski or two person jet boat for a trip through the lagoon out to snorkel on the reef. Popular tours are the Jungle Tour and the Sailing Quest (Catamarans).

  • The Lobster Dinner Cruise. Take a trip out on the calm lagoon on a beautiful boat with friends you have not met yet. The staff allow you to take part in the fun or settle back and watch the sunset. Steak and lobster is cooked on the boat and is extra tasty when eaten out on the high seas.

  • Football, New in Cancún with the First Division team "Potros de Hierro (Iron Colts) of Cancún". The Atlante team, now based in Cancún, has a brand new stadium downtown.

  • Hidden Worlds Cenote Adventure Park, Tulum. 9AM-5PM. Situated on the most extensive system of underwater caves and caverns on Earth, the park is home to some of the most stunningly beautiful cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, as featured in the critically acclaimed 2001 IMAX movie, Journey Into Amazing Caves, the 2005 Hollywood movie, The Cave, and the award-winning 2007 BBC Planet Earth television series. Enjoy zip lines, the world's only SkyCycle, and snorkel tours in the most pristine cenotes in the area.

  • Punta Este Marina. Drive your own boat through the lagoon in the Jungle Tour and sknorkel on the reef. Diving lessons and dive trips to the best dive spots in Cancún such as underwater museum.

  • Cancún Yachts Club, boulevardo kukulkan km. 5.8 (zona hotelera, +52 998 8495317. Yacht rentals in Cancún. exclusives luxury yachts for rentals tours in all the Cancún areas, snorkeling, diving, swimming the most save water activities in yacht.

  • Exotic Rides Mexico, +52 998 882 05 58. Driving experiences in some of the most exotic and luxurious cars in the world, race them on a private racetrack in Cancún.

  • Always Diving. Scuba dive with the most professional team in the area. Competitive prices and a wide catalog of diving programs.
  • Diving Center Cancun, Boulevard Kukulcan, Km 3.2, Zona Hotelera, Marina Chac Chic, +52 (998) 148 7077. Professional PADI certified scuba diving company provides PADI Diving certifications.

When shopping in Cancún, you can either go into the downtown area or the hotel zone. Downtown is much cheaper, but the Hotel Zone has brand-name goods.

Markets, Bring your haggling skills and get ready for a vast shopping experience in any of the city markets in downtown Cancun. Great buys can be found, so stick to your price resolve. The prices are fixed in the malls and in the shops selling the brand-name goods which are comparable to those in the U.S. and Europe for the similar products.

  • Market 28, Xel-ha m 2 13 SM 28, 28,. Daily 09:00-20:00. This is the local market in downtown Cancún. Great shopping for souvenirs. It also has some great Mexican outdoor restaurants. Very cheap and good shopping. Don't forget to bargain.

  • Market 23, Ciricote 15, SM 23. Daily 07:00-19:00. This is more of a 'locals' market as most products offered are like groceries, flowers, supplies, etc. Doesn't have the same range as Market 28, but is worth a visit.

  • Plaza Las Americas, Dialogo Norte-Sur, 7, (Southeast of the roundabout at Av Labna/Sayil and Carr Cancun-Tulum/Av Tulum (Fed Hwy 307. Daily 10:00-22:00. The Plaza de las Americas offers Cinepolis (movie) Theaters, Sears, Chedraui, Liverpool and numerous smaller shops and restaurants in the mall itself and in the immediate surrounding areas not part of the mall.

  • La Isla Cancún Shopping Village, Blvd Kukulcan Km 12.5 Lt 18-10, Zona Hotelera, +52 998 883-5025. Daily 10:00-22:00. Shopping mall in the hotel zone. Features hundreds of stores ranging from American brands like Under Armour to Mexican brands like Senor Frogs. There are numerous restaurants including Chili's and McDonald's along with more local Mexican foods.

  • Kukulcan Plaza, Blvd Kukulcan Km 13, LOCAL 410 y 411A, Zona Hotelera, +52 998 193-0160. Daily 10:00-22:00. Another mall down the street from 'La Isla' mall in the hotel zone featuring American and Mexican brand names such as Forever 21, GNC and Señor Frog's among other stores and restaurants.

  • Lapis Jewelry Factory, Blvd. Kukulkan km 11.5 local 100 Int. Plaza Flamingo, Zona Hotelera, +52 998 110 87 87. You are likely to be offered a coupon for free jewelry at this store. Their website also offers a free gift for individuals who book a shuttle through their website. However, if you do not have any evidence of this, the offer will not be honored. A free shuttle service is offered to take you to the store from your hotel. However, the prices in the store are exorbitant (even at the "discounted" rates), and much of the same jewelry is sold by street vendors and hotel gift shops, as well as online. Be sure to investigate other vendors first to get an idea of how much you should pay. One rule of thumb is to buy at 20-30% of the quoted price. For example, if a Mayan calendar pendant is offered to you at the discounted rate of $75, it's actually probably worth about $20. The salespeople will insist that it's worth much more, but stand your ground. If a salesperson agrees to your offer too quickly, you're probably paying too much. In addition, a number of people have reported difficulty obtaining refunds.

The city has been home to Atlante F.C., a traditional Mexico City football club, since 2007. Atlante F.C. was moved to Cancun's Andrés Quintana Roo Stadium when that stadium opened. Its games had low attendance at its previous stadium, Azteca Stadium, which it had been renting. The team currently plays in the Ascenso MX, the second level of the Mexican football pyramid.

The city is also home to the baseball team Tigres de Quintana Roo, who play in the Mexican League .

Eat and drink

  • Mikado, Blvd. Kukulcán, Retorno Chac L-41, Zona Hotelera (CasaMagna Marriott Cancún Resort, +52 998 881 2000. 17:30-23:00. Japanese and Thai cuisine featuring teppanyaki tables.

  • La Capilla Argentina, Blvd Kukulcán, Retorno Chac L-41, Zona Hotelera (CasaMagna Marriott Cancún Resort, +52 998 881 2000. Argentine steakhouse with a Mediterranean flair.

  • Champions Sports Bar, Blvd Kukulcán, Retorno Chac L-41, Zona Hotelera (CasaMagna Marriott Cancún Resort, +52 998 881 2000. 12:00-02:00. Stepped up bar food with all the games on over 40 screens.

  • Simply Seafood, Blvd Kukulcán, Km 14.5, Lote 40-A, Zona Hotelera (JW Marriott Cancún Resort & Spa, +52 998 848 9600 ext 6637. Simply Seafood serves off the boat seafood in traditional Caribbean style.

  • Gustino, Blvd Kukulcán, Km 14.5, Lote 40-A, Zona Hotelera (JW Marriott Cancún Resort & Spa, +52 998 848 9600 ext 6637. Gustino has authentic Italian cuisine using the freshest Mediterranean ingredients.

  • Cambalache, Blvd Kukulcán Km 9, at Forum By the Sea Mall, +52 998 883 0902. This Argentine Steakhouse serves up one of the best menus in Cancún. The atmosphere inside the restaurant makes you feel you have travelled an extra 1000 miles. The staff's attention to detail and desire to please make you feel like you're the only one they are serving that night. Great place to have a dinner with the one you love or enjoy the company of friends. The food alone could give this place a 4-star rating, the rest is just an added bonus.

  • The Cove Cancún. On Playa Langosta (the lobster beach). One of the prettiest and calmest beaches of the Hotel Zone, The Cove offers an excellent variety of dishes. In the morning they have a delicious buffet with sweet bread, fresh fruit, juice, coffee, eggs cooked to order, and other Mexican delights. For lunch, a la carte service. Then at night, a romantic atmosphere with candles, to enjoy the nights of Cancún with a special selected menu with seafood and fish with Caribbean accent, as well as fine cuts, complemented with an ample wine carte.

  • La Habichuela, Margaritas 25 (Near Parque de las Palapas, +52 998 884 3158. La Habichuela is a must-visit with its Mexican cuisine, Mayan setting and Caribbean seafood. This restaurant has been open since 1977 and is a legend in Cancún. The romantic, outside garden is a popular place to dine with the decoration of various native trees and plants that create a beautiful illusion of the Mayan ruins under the night sky. La Habicheula received the National Best Restaurant Award and has been a part of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Organization since 2001.

  • Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cancún, +52 998 885 2375. Blvd Kukulcán. This establishment combines the atmosphere of a restaurant, bar, and a mini night club. During the daytime hours, Margaritaville is a restaurant and bar. At night, the place is a combination of the three. With an orange sailboat with images of a plane, shark, and the orange sun, Margaritaville attracts families of all ages as well as party goers.

  • Laguna Grill, Blvd Kukulcán Km 16.5, +52 998 885 0267. This grill serves seafood, steak, and pasta with a contemporary flair. There is a lush tropical garden at the entrance, intricate handmade tile work on the floor and walls, a small flowing creek that traverses the restaurant, and elegantly-finished tables hewn from trunks of tropical trees. The large terrace is right on the water’s edge. Elegant and comfortable, the next-door Lounge Bar Trágara offers a wide variety of wines and liquors, while you listen to soft background music and enjoy the charm of the lagoon.

  • Salt, Blvd Kukulcán Km 12. Mediterranean cuisine from a wood burning oven, show kitchen and an array of culinary displays. Restaurant overlooks ocean.

  • El Pabilo, Ave Yaxchilán # 31. Art exhibitions every 15 days. Good baguettes and wine.

  • Paloma Bonita. 18:30–23:30 daily for dinner. Mexican cuisine with live music in an authentic Mexican atmosphere which recreates different regional ambiances based on architectural, crafts, and folkloric traditions. Features include a traditional Mexican kitchen with coal "comales" where you can watch as tacos and snacks are prepared right in front of you. There is also a tequila bar featuring more than 100 kinds of tequila, and a romantic outside patio separated from the main area.

  • Roots Jazz Club Tulipanes and Parque de las Palapas. Live Jazz Music, the best place to hear live music in Cancún. Great food and drinks.

  • El Rincón del Vino, Alcatraces & Parque de las Palapas. Good baguettes, gourmet tapas and wine.

  • Las Tortugas, +51 998 887 6209. Plaza Las Avenidas. Serving tortas, a kind of Mexican sandwich.

  • Tumbaburros, in Plaza Las Américas (Downtown) and another one across the street from the ADO bus terminal (also in Downtown). Genuine Mexican cuisine and a great atmosphere. Real Mexican good humor and hospitality along with your taco order.

  • La Destileria, Bulevar Kukulcán Km 12.65, across from Kukulcán Plaza, Cancún Island, +51 998 885 1086, +51 998 885 1087. Daily 13:00-00:00. Combines some of the most authentic Mexican cuisine in the hotel zone with good service and medium price. Very good tequila. Main courses US$12-28.

  • Atotonilco, Mercado 28 downtown Cancún (Right across from El Cejas. 08:00-18:09. An extremely good sampling of Mexican food from all around the country. Excellent value. Nothing fancy but a gastronomical delight. Try the "Huevos Motuleños". US$4-10.

  • Silk Asian Bistro. Blvd Kukulkan, km. 12. Sushi and sashimi, soy paper vegetarian rolls alongside bolder creations. Teppanyaki stations with theatrical chefs. .
  • Pescaditos, Ave Yaxchilán 59 (Close to corner of Marañón. Really nice and laid back seafood restaurant where everything's deep fried. Try the chiles rellenos, possibly the best ones in Cancún.

  • Los de Pescados, Ave Tulum. Very simple Ttco (specialising in seafood) restaurant. Fish tacos- a few pieces of fried fish with some tortillas and you put your own sauces and condiments on. About M$22 for a taco and M$25 for an ice cold beer.

  • La Panza es Primero, Plaza Flamingos, Cancún Mexico Hotel zone, +52 998 252 0776. Daily 13:00-00:00. Main courses US$12-28.
  • restaurante natura, Boulevard Kukulcan km 9.5 (Zona Hotelera, +52 998 8830585. 07:30-23:00. Natura is the only healthy choice restaurant to be found in the hotel zone of Cancún. Fit for Vegetarians and non vegetarians. Over 20 choices of fresh made juices and salads. Service fast and friendly, very clean place and inexpensive. Highly recommended to anyone looking to eat or enjoy some drinks outside in Cancún.
  • Restaurante Labná, Calle Margaritas #25, +52 998 892 3056. 12:30-22:00. One of the only restaurants to serve Yucatecan Mayan cuisine in Cancun. Prices are higher than most Mexican food in downtown Cancun, but it's much cheaper than tourist traps or anything in the hotel zone.

Shopping

When shopping in Cancún, you can either go into the downtown area or the hotel zone. Downtown is much cheaper, but the Hotel Zone has brand-name goods.

Markets, Bring your haggling skills and get ready for a vast shopping experience in any of the city markets in downtown Cancun. Great buys can be found, so stick to your price resolve. The prices are fixed in the malls and in the shops selling the brand-name goods which are comparable to those in the U.S. and Europe for the similar products.

  • Market 28, Xel-ha m 2 13 SM 28, 28,. Daily 09:00-20:00. This is the local market in downtown Cancún. Great shopping for souvenirs. It also has some great Mexican outdoor restaurants. Very cheap and good shopping. Don't forget to bargain.

  • Market 23, Ciricote 15, SM 23. Daily 07:00-19:00. This is more of a 'locals' market as most products offered are like groceries, flowers, supplies, etc. Doesn't have the same range as Market 28, but is worth a visit.

  • Plaza Las Americas, Dialogo Norte-Sur, 7, (Southeast of the roundabout at Av Labna/Sayil and Carr Cancun-Tulum/Av Tulum (Fed Hwy 307. Daily 10:00-22:00. The Plaza de las Americas offers Cinepolis (movie) Theaters, Sears, Chedraui, Liverpool and numerous smaller shops and restaurants in the mall itself and in the immediate surrounding areas not part of the mall.

  • La Isla Cancún Shopping Village, Blvd Kukulcan Km 12.5 Lt 18-10, Zona Hotelera, +52 998 883-5025. Daily 10:00-22:00. Shopping mall in the hotel zone. Features hundreds of stores ranging from American brands like Under Armour to Mexican brands like Senor Frogs. There are numerous restaurants including Chili's and McDonald's along with more local Mexican foods.

  • Kukulcan Plaza, Blvd Kukulcan Km 13, LOCAL 410 y 411A, Zona Hotelera, +52 998 193-0160. Daily 10:00-22:00. Another mall down the street from 'La Isla' mall in the hotel zone featuring American and Mexican brand names such as Forever 21, GNC and Señor Frog's among other stores and restaurants.

  • Lapis Jewelry Factory, Blvd. Kukulkan km 11.5 local 100 Int. Plaza Flamingo, Zona Hotelera, +52 998 110 87 87. You are likely to be offered a coupon for free jewelry at this store. Their website also offers a free gift for individuals who book a shuttle through their website. However, if you do not have any evidence of this, the offer will not be honored. A free shuttle service is offered to take you to the store from your hotel. However, the prices in the store are exorbitant (even at the "discounted" rates), and much of the same jewelry is sold by street vendors and hotel gift shops, as well as online. Be sure to investigate other vendors first to get an idea of how much you should pay. One rule of thumb is to buy at 20-30% of the quoted price. For example, if a Mayan calendar pendant is offered to you at the discounted rate of $75, it's actually probably worth about $20. The salespeople will insist that it's worth much more, but stand your ground. If a salesperson agrees to your offer too quickly, you're probably paying too much. In addition, a number of people have reported difficulty obtaining refunds.

Fajita

A fajita in Tex-Mex cuisine is any grilled meat usually served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla. The term originally referred to the cut of beef used in the dish which is known as skirt steak. Popular meats today also include chicken, pork, shrimp, lamb, salmon, and all other cuts of beef, as well as vegetables instead of meat. In restaurants, the meat is usually cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments are shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, refried beans, and diced tomatoes. The northern Mexican variant of the dish name is Arrachera.

Fajita is a Tex-Mex, Texan-Mexican American or Tejano, diminutive term for little strips of meat cut from the beef skirt, the most common cut used to make fajitas. The word fajita is not known to have appeared in print until 1971, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Although fajita originally referred to these strips of beef skirt, fajitas now are made with a variety of fillings.

The first culinary evidence of the fajitas with the cut of meat, the cooking style and the Spanish nickname goes back as far as the 1930s in the ranch lands of South and West Texas. During cattle roundups, cows were butchered regularly to feed the hands. Throwaway items such as the hide, the head, the entrails, and meat trimmings such as the skirt were given to the Mexican cowboys called vaqueros as part of their pay. Hearty border dishes like barbacoa de cabeza (head barbecue), menudo (tripe stew), and fajitas or arracheras (grilled skirt steak) have their roots in this practice. Considering the limited number of skirts per carcass and the fact the meat was not available commercially, the fajita tradition remained regional and relatively obscure for many years, probably only familiar to vaqueros, butchers, and their families.

The food was popularized by various businesses such as Ninfa's in Houston, the Hyatt Regency in Austin, and numerous restaurants in San Antonio. In southern Arizona, the term was unknown except as a cut of meat until the 1990s, when Mexican fast food restaurants started using the word in their marketing. In recent years, fajitas have become popular at American casual dining restaurants as well as in home cooking.

In many restaurants, the fajita meat is brought to the table sizzling loudly on a metal platter or skillet, with the tortillas and condiments.

Nightlife

Cancún's nightlife is unlike any other destination on Earth. For some, a day in Cancún doesn't start until tasks like an 11:00 breakfast, nap on the beach, and siesta are arduously completed. This is your place to shine.

The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18, but it is not strongly enforced.

Tamale

A tamale is a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa or dough (starchy, and usually corn-based), which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. The wrapping is discarded before eating. Tamales can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned.

Tamales originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC.

As making tamales is a simple method of cooking corn, it may have been brought from Mexico to Central and South America. However, according to archaeologists Karl Taube, William Saturn and David Stuart the tamales date from the year 100 AD. They found pictorial references in the Mural of San Bartolo, in Petén, Guatemala. Although the tamales may have moved from one country to another, there is no evidence of where the migration of the tamales went from north to south .

The Aztec and Maya civilizations, as well as the Olmeca and Tolteca before them, used tamales as easily portable food, for hunting trips, and for traveling large distances, as well as supporting their armies. Tamales were also considered sacred as it is the food of the gods. Aztec, Maya, Olmeca, and Tolteca all considered themselves to be people of corn and so tamales played a large part in their rituals and festivals.

The diversity of native languages in Mesoamerica led to a number of local words for the tamal, many of which remain in use. The Spanish singular of tamales is tamal. The English word tamale differs from the Spanish word by having a final vowel.

In Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, tamales are also wrapped in plantain leaves. The masa is usually made from maiz (dent corn in the US, not sweet corn, which is called elote).

In Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras, tamales without filling are served as the bread or starch portion of a meal:

  • Tamal de elote (made with yellow corn, sometimes with a sweet or dry taste)
  • Tamal de chipilín (made with chipilín, a green leaf)
  • Tamal blanco (simple, made with white corn)

During the Christmas holidays, tamales made with corn flour are a special treat for Guatemalans and Hondurans. The preparation time of this type of tamale is long, due to the amount of time required to cook down and thicken the flour base.

One version of tamales, called humita, is found in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. It can be either savoury or sweet. Sweet ones have raisins, vanilla, oil, and sugar; salty ones can be filled with cheese or chicken.

Tamales have been eaten in the United States since at least 1893, when they were featured at the World's Columbian Exposition. A tradition of roving tamale sellers was documented in early 20th-century blues music. They are the subject of the well-known 1937 blues/ragtime song "They're Red Hot" by Robert Johnson. While Mexican-style and other Latin American-style tamales are featured at ethnic restaurants throughout the United States, there are also some distinctly indigenous styles.

Cherokee tamales, also known as bean bread or "broadswords", were made with hominy (in the case of the Cherokee, the masa was made from corn boiled in water treated with wood ashes instead of lime) and beans, and wrapped in green corn leaves or large tree leaves and boiled, similar to the meatless pre-Columbian bean and masa tamales still prepared in Chiapas, central Mexico, and Guatemala.

In the Mississippi Delta, African Americans developed a spicy tamale made from cornmeal (rather than masa), which is boiled in corn husks. In northern Louisiana, tamales have been made for several centuries. The Spanish established presidio Los Adaes in 1721 in modern-day Robeline, Louisiana. The descendants of these Spanish settlers from central Mexico were the first tamale makers to arrive in the eastern US. Zwolle, Louisiana, has a Tamale Fiesta every year in October.

In Chicago, unique tamales made from machine-extruded cornmeal wrapped in paper are sold at Chicago-style hot dog stands.

Around the beginning of the 20th century, the name "tamale pie" was given to meat pies and casseroles made with a cornmeal crust and typical tamale fillings arranged in layers. Although characterized as Mexican food, these forms are not popular in Mexican American culture in which the individually wrapped style is preferred.

The Indio International Tamale Festival held every December in Indio, California has earned two Guinness World Records: the largest tamale festival (120,000 in attendance, Dec. 2–3, 2000) and the world's largest tamale, over 1 foot (0.3 m) in diameter and 40 feet (12.2 m) in length, created by Chef John Sedlar. The 2006 Guinness book calls the festival "the world's largest cooking and culinary festival."

Binaki, a type of sweet tamale from Bukidnon, Philippines In the Philippines and Guam, which were governed by Spain as a province of Mexico, different forms of "tamales" exist. Some are made with a dough derived from ground rice and are filled with seasoned chicken or pork with the addition of peanuts and other seasonings such as sugar. In some places, such as the Pampanga and Batangas provinces, the tamales are wrapped in banana leaves, but sweet corn varieties from the Visayas region are wrapped in corn husks similar to the sweet corn tamales of the American Southwest and Mexico. Because of the work involved in the preparation of tamales, they usually only appear during the special holidays or other big celebrations. Various tamal recipes have practically disappeared under the pressures of modern life and the ease of fast food. Several varieties of tamales are also found in the Philippines. Tamales, tamalis, tamalos, pasteles, are different varieties found throughout the region. Some are sweet, some are savory, and some are sweet and savory. Mostly wrapped in banana leaves and made of rice, either the whole grain or ground and cooked with coconut milk and other seasonings, they are sometimes filled with meat and seafood, or are plain and have no filling. There are certain varieties, such as tamalos, that are made of a sweet corn masa wrapped in a corn husk or leaf. There are also varieties made without masa, like tamalis, which are made with small fish fry wrapped in banana leaves and steamed, similar to the tamales de charal from Mexico, where the small fish are cooked whole with herbs and seasonings wrapped inside a corn husk without masa. The number of varieties have unfortunately dwindled through the years so certain types of tamales that were once popular in the Philippines have become lost or are simply memories. The variety found in Guam, known as tamales guiso, is made with corn masa and wrapped in corn husks, and as with the Philippine tamales, are clear evidence of the influence of the galleon trade that occurred between the ports of Manila and Acapulco.

Guacamole

Guacamole is an avocado-based dip, spread, or salad first developed by the Aztecs in what is now Mexico. In addition to its use in modern Mexican cuisine, it has become part of international and American cuisine as a dip, condiment and salad ingredient.

The name comes from an Aztec dialect via Nahuatl āhuacamolli, which literally translates to "avocado sauce", from āhuacatl + molli ("sauce", literally "concoction"). In Mexican Spanish, it is pronounced, in American English, it is pronounced /ɡwɑːkəˈmoʊliː/, and in British English, /ˌgwɑːkəˈməʊleɪ/. The name of the Guatemalan version has the final "e" omitted .

Avocados were first cultivated in South Central Mexico to Central America and as far south as Peru. In the early 1900s, avocados frequently went by the name, alligator pear. The Hass avocado is named after postal worker Rudolph Hass who purchased a seedling in 1926 from a California farmer and patented it in 1935.

Guacamole has increased avocado sales in the US, especially on Super Bowl Sunday and Cinco de Mayo. The rising consumption of guacamole is due to the U.S. government lifting a ban on avocado imports in the 1900s and the growth of the U.S. Latino population.

Guacamole dip is traditionally made by mashing ripe avocados and sea salt with a molcajete . Some recipes call for tomato, onion, garlic, lemon or lime juice, chili or cayenne pepper, cilantro (UK English: coriander) or basil, jalapeño, and/or additional seasonings. Some non-traditional recipes call for sour cream or even peas as the main ingredient.

Due to the presence of polyphenol oxidase in the cells of avocado, exposure to oxygen in the air causes an enzymatic reaction and develops melanoidin pigment, turning the sauce brown. This result is generally considered unappetizing, and there are several methods (some anecdotal) that are used to counter this effect. Commonly used methods to counter this effect include storing the guacamole in an air-tight container or wrapping tightly in clear plastic wrap to limit the surface area exposed to the air.

As the major ingredient of guacamole is raw avocado, the nutritional value of the dish derives from avocado vitamins, minerals and fats, providing dietary fiber, several B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E and potassium in significant content . Avocados are a source of saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and phytosterols, such as beta-sitosterol. They also contain carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein.

Prepared guacamoles are available in stores, often available refrigerated, frozen or in high pressure packaging which pasteurizes and extends shelf life if products are maintained at 34to.

National Guacamole Day is celebrated on Mexican Independence Day, September 16. On September 3, 2017, 815 gastronomy students set the world record in Concepción de Buenos Aires, Jalisco, Mexico for the largest serving of guacamole, which weighed 2670kg.

Empanada

An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries of The Americas and in Spain. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.

Empanadas are made by folding dough over a stuffing, which may consist of meat, cheese, corn, or other ingredients.

Empanadas trace back their origins to the northwest region of Spain, Galicia. A cookbook published in Catalan in 1520, Libre del Coch by Robert de Nola, mentions empanadas filled with seafood in the recipes for Catalan, Italian, French, and Arabian food.

Many other world cuisines have dishes very similar to the empanada. These include:

  • Bánh gối and other types of bánh from Vietnam
  • Börek and pogača from Turkey and areas of the former Ottoman Empire
  • Bridie, baked pastry filled with spiced beef and onions, from Forfar, Scotland.
  • Calzone and panzerotti from Italy
  • Curry puff from Malaysia and countries with Malay populations
  • Goat roti, goat curry in flatbread from the east of India
  • Gujia from India filled with sugared coconut, nuts, and sweets, but no meat
  • Hot Pockets, prepared, mass-marketed food from the United States
  • Jamaican patty
  • Jiaozi from China, also called gyoja in Korea and gyōza in Japan
  • Kajjikaya from Andhra Pradesh, India, similar to fried empanadas filled with sweetened, dried coconut
  • Khuushuur, from Mongolia, commonly made with mutton or beef, or whitefish when within the vicinity of Lake Khuvsgul.
  • Kibbeh, from Lebanon/Levant, with lamb meat encased in bulgur dough
  • Karanji from Maharashtra, India, filled with fried and sugared coconut
  • Knish, a dish from Eastern Europe
  • Kubdari, a traditional dish of Svan people in Georgia
  • Mandu, from Korea
  • Momo, either steamed or deep-fried, from Tibet, Nepal, and northeast India
  • Natchitoches meat pie, fried or baked pastry turnover filled with ground beef, pork, onion, garlic, and spices
  • Pastel, a similar Brazilian and Indonesian dish with a more flaky, pastry-type crust
  • Pastizz (plural pastizzi) is a traditional savoury pastry from Malta. Pastizzi usually have a filling either of ricotta or mushy peas, and are called 'pastizzi tal-irkotta' (cheese cake) or 'pastizzi tal-piżelli' (pea cake).
  • Pasty, Cornish baked pastry filled with beef and potato, from Cornwall, England
  • Pierogi, bierock and runza from Slavic countries
  • Pīragi or pīrādziņi from Latvia
  • Pirozhki or Chebureki, from Russia and nearby countries
  • Samosa, from South Asia; also known as sambusak in Arabia
  • Scovardă, mainly used in the plural scoverzi, from Romania, especially Transylvania, fried in a pan and usually filled with various types of cheese, with or without dill
  • Stromboli (which is Italian American)
  • Strudel, from Germany and areas of the former Habsburg Empire

Pulled pork

Pulled pork is a method of cooking pork where what would otherwise be a tough cut of meat is cooked slowly at low temperatures, allowing the meat to become tender enough so that it can be "pulled", or easily broken into individual pieces. Pulled pork is found around the world in a variety of forms.

Pulled pork, usually shoulder cut is commonly slow-cooked by a smoking method, though a non-barbecue method might also be employed using a slow cooker or a domestic oven. In rural areas across the United States, either a pig roast/whole hog, mixed cuts of the pig/hog, or the shoulder cut (Boston Butt) alone are commonly used, and the pork is served with or without a vinegar-based sauce. Before cooking, it is common to soak the meat in brine; it provides the extra moisture needed for a long, slow cooking process.

Milanesa

The milanesa is a South American variation of an Italian dish where generic types of breaded meat fillet preparations are known as a milanesa.

The milanesa was brought to the Southern Cone by Italian immigrants during the mass emigration called the Italian diaspora between 1860-1920s. Its name probably reflects an original Milanese preparation, cotoletta alla Milanese, which is similar to the Austrian Wiener Schnitzel.

A milanesa consists of a thin slice of beef, chicken, veal, or sometimes pork, eggplants, tempeh or soy. Each slice is dipped into beaten eggs, seasoned with salt, and other condiments according to the cook's taste (like parsley and garlic). Each slice is then dipped in bread crumbs (or occasionally flour) and shallow-fried in oil, one at a time. Some people prefer to use very little oil and then bake them in the oven as a healthier alternative. A similar dish is the chicken parmigiana.

By adding tomato paste, mozzarella cheese, and sometimes ham, a dish called milanesa a la napolitana was created. "Neapolitan" is not named for the city of Naples, but because it was first made and sold in Restaurante Napoli owned by Jorge La Grotta in Argentina in the 1940s.

In Argentina milanesas are frequently served hot with fried or mashed potatoes; this dish is known as milanesa con papas fritas or milanesa con puré. In Argentina and Uruguay, it's often topped with a fried egg, known as milanesa a caballo (milanesa riding horseback). They are often eaten cold as a sandwich filling, with salad. Lemon juice and sometimes mayonnaise are commonly used as seasoning. Their low cost and simple preparation makes milanesas a popular meal.

Milanesa Kaiser, or escalopa as it is known in Chile, is a variant (where normal milanesas are also eaten) reminiscent of cordon bleu or valdostana, with a layer of melted cheese between the beef and a layer of ham. A classic Chilean version is called escalopa a lo pobre, topped with french fries, sautéed onions and fried eggs, akin to lomo a lo pobre.

In Mexico and the Southern United States, milanesas are eaten in some regions, often in a torta (a sandwich made with bolillo or telera bread). In northern Baja California, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chihuahua (due to U.S influence), it features lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise like a traditional sandwich, but the milanesa is also common in these regions as the main course of a meal. The milanesa memela napolitana is made with a thick fried tortilla with a milanesa on top, with ham, tomato sauce and grated cheese. In Mexico, milanesa usually refers to the preparation method; any type of meat that is pounded thin, breaded and fried might be referred to as a milanesa. In the northern state of Nuevo León, perhaps due to the influence of German and Czech immigrants, the dish known as milanesa is extremely popular and stands on its own as a main dish in most restaurants. It is usually served with french fries, refried beans, rice, and a lettuce salad.

In Panama, they are most commonly made of thinly sliced beef (usually sirloin steak), but also thin chicken fillet. Lime juice is squeezed over them before serving or eating them, and often they are also seasoned with hot sauce. They are eaten with white rice and other side dishes such as salad, lentils or beans. The latter two are poured over the rice, as they are usually served in Panama while the salad is served off to the side where there is still space left on the plate. When served as sandwiches, they are known as emparedado de milanesa or sandwich de milanesa when tomatoes, onions, lettuce, ketchup, and/or American cheese (queso amarillo i.e. yellow cheese). Pan de molde (sandwich bread) and pan flauta (a Panamanian type of baguette that is thicker and softer) are the types used to make these sandwiches.

In the Philippines, milanesa is known as carne frita, and is cooked in much the same way as described above (meat pounded until thin, flour, egg, breadcrumbs, fried). Admittedly, it is not as popular in the country as it is in South America, and it is served mainly in people's homes, not in restaurants. The families that do eat it usually serve milanesa/carne frita with white rice, a bean stew of some sort (for instance, white beans with a dark leafy green; also fabada), sometimes an American-style potato salad with cut green beans added, and often, chili ketchup and/or a mayo-ketchup mixed sauce not unlike the South American salsa golf. It is virtually never served as a sandwich.

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