Making tortillas.  (Photo: Contributed)
Making tortillas. (Photo: Contributed)

Food report from Cancun

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He says:

Last week I mentioned that we were in Cancun for some R&R. I had done some reading on Trip Advisor about the resort we were going to stay at to find out about the food. Most people were happy with the food and some others were not.

First of all, in general keep in mind that people do not trek to Mexico for the food - it’s not exactly known as a culinary destination. Their food is not always spicy, contrary to popular belief and most of their food is fairly healthy although they do like their fryer.

Point number one, if you have a giant buffet you will probably find some food to feed you enough so that you can go back snorkeling the next day. I was listening to people at the pool one day and they were talking about the steak they had the night before… it was tough. I don’t get this… you are staying at a resort facing the ocean and you complain about the meat. Why not eat fish, since you are so close to the ocean and all? They offer deep sea fishing tours, where do you think the fish you caught ends up? And while you are at it, why not stick to Mexican dishes since that’s really what the cooks will be best at making. I am not saying that Mexican cooks can’t make anything else, but you don’t usually go to a Sushi restaurant to experience a good burger. We had some really nice grilled fish with fresh salsas, flavourful rices, nice vegetables – I mean what else do you want? You are there for the sun, the cheap drinks, and the bed.

Breakfast was plentiful, eggs any way you want, quesadilla type items, exotic fruits, pancakes, waffles or French toast… I mean if you can’t find enough to feed yourself for breakfast there is something seriously wrong with your eating habits.

At lunch I was looking at the same people eating burgers every single day or chicken wings - I even saw a kid eating chicken nugget-type stuff. Why take your kids to a foreign country and have them eat the same crap they get to eat at home? Why not use this experience to make them… yes, MAKE THEM eat other food so that when they come back home they will have learned something new. Why not start by introducing some fresh handmade tortillas as a snack to your kids just like you would normally eat a Kit Kat or a granola bar in the middle of the afternoon - that’s what they eat.

She says:

If you read our column regularly, you won’t be surprised at Chef’s dismay towards some people’s lack of adventure. You know we are curious eaters and hopefully we have encouraged or maybe even inspired you. We don’t travel to experience the same kind of things we have at home - we enjoy trying new things and discovering other cultures. I was quite frankly surprised when Martin told me he wanted to stay at an all-inclusive resort, as I thought that would be too boring for him. (He’s not much for lying on a beach chair all day.) But for getting a break and really having a chance to just turn our brains off and relax, this was the perfect holiday. We only had one week but it felt like more because we just hung out. I love tropical food so for me, the decadence started at breakfast…

I drink fruit juice every morning at home but I have never seen (even in a container) papaya juice in Canada. In Cancun, I had a glass of it every morning! How cool is that?! Fresh fruit is the best and I could smell one of my favourites as soon as I got near the buffet … guava. It has an enticing perfumed aroma to it that makes me think of palm trees and a hammock and drinks with umbrellas in them. It tastes like a combination of banana, lime and mango. A few pieces of that with my yogurt (maybe over top of a waffle – I was on holidays after all) and I was in heaven.

For lunch, most days we had a plate of tortilla chips (freshly fried) with guacamole and fresh salsa. One day we did try the lunch buffet though (we had walked half of the 12 km beach strip, so we felt we deserved it). The coolest tasting thing on the buffet was the grilled octopus – tender and tasty, especially with salsa verde.

For dinner, we tried lots of things – every night was a different theme. Sometimes dishes on the buffet had no sign but looked interesting. I had pickled cactus, jicama spiced with smoked paprika (that was hard to decipher from the waiter!) and even black bean bread! (It was really good with scrambled eggs and salsa in the morning.)

In Mexico, there are many types of salsa, so you can change things up easily. Martin and I liked the salsa verde (green salsa) made from tomatillos with fish or on tacos, and we liked the salsa molcajete (roasted tomato salsa) with pork and as a change from fresh salsa (uncooked tomatoes, onions and chilies, with lime juice). If you want a good recipe for this salsa, here is a link from Rick Bayless, one of the best known chefs for authentic Mexican cuisine. (http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/view?recipeID=195)

So even if you go to a resort where everything is supplied, try to step out of the box just a little bit. If you go to enjoy a real adventure, ask where the locals go. We went to the market and discovered it was full of only tourist souvenirs – if you go to Cancun, ask for directions to Market 23. They will tell you it’s for the locals and look at you like you must be nuts to want to go there. Just smile, nod and enjoy the bus ride. It’s worth the trip!

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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