Fresh corn tacos at Chichen Itza
The first time I’ve had fresh corn tacos was at a restaurant at the Hacienda Chichen Resort, walking distance from Chichen Itza. We had stopped at the resort for lunch before continuing on to explore the Mayan ruins. The food at the restaurant was regular buffet fare with a pasta station to appeal to Western tourists. But way in the back, outside, past the patio was a little taco station and some ladies were seated around a fire pit hand rolling corn tacos and frying them up to order. Needless to say, we visited this little taco station multiple times.
A server at the taco stand scooped up fresh taco toppings at our request. Our favourite was the tender chicken. The meat was perfectly marinated and juicy and succulent.
The freshly made tacos really made a difference too, the tacos were soft and light in texture. Since they were fried up only moments ago, the taco shells were very delicate and if we packed too many toppings on the taco, the shells teared in the middle. Nothing compares to the sweet corn taste of these freshly made taco shells though. I don’t know how I can go back to eating regular store-bought taco shells now.
The other thing that sticks in my mind is the smoky, rich aroma of the tacos being fried up. Something about the smell of cooking tacos connotes a warm, homey, comfy feeling and made an otherwise totally foreign place seem more hospitable and inviting to us. Also, stuffing ourselves with tacos gave us the perfect fuel to hike around Chichen Itza, the largest Mayan ruins site on the Mayan Riviera. Chichen Itza is made up of multiple buildings including the giant iconic pyramid seen on many postcards and websites. Around the pyramid, are many other structures, columns and the famed Mayan ball stadium where Ancient Mayans played their deathly ball game using a rock hard rubber ball that was passed from player to player by bouncing the ball off each player’s hips. To score, the ball was to be bounced through a little ring sticking out from the stonewall. The story of Mayan death ball can be viewed on the hieroglyphics on the walls of the stadium.
I wish we ate more tacos in Mexico but there were so many other wonderful foods to try. Believe it or not Mexico is home to incredible French and Asian fusion cuisine and we were much too distracted eating deep fried tempura ice cream and sauteed baby octopus to eat enough tacos. If you’re going to gorge on tacos in Mexico, make sure you try them fresh. It’ll change your life.