The flavors of the Yucatan Peninsula are diverse and delicious – especially when it comes to its fresh fruit harvest. As you explore the Mayan Riviera during your stay at the all-inclusive Barceló Maya Grand Resort (comprised of Barceló Maya Beach, Barceló Maya Caribe, Barceló Maya Colonial, Barceló Maya Tropical, and the all-suite, AAA Four-Diamond Barceló Maya Palace) make sure to stop in at the local mercados (markets) to sample some of Mexico’s tastiest natural treats.
Should you be eating a cactus? You should if it’s a Nopale. Also known as “prickly pears,” the Nopale has been a mainstay of Mexican diets for centuries upon centuries. Don’t worry – the prickly part of the plant is removed before you eat it. Nopales are the “pads” of the cactus and they can be sautéed and added to many authentically Mexican dishes: tacos, scrambled eggs, or as a side dish with tomatoes and onions. Locals love raw Nopale … give it a try!
This one is also known by an exciting name: Dragon Fruit! The Pithaya is a bright pink and green fruit – looking a little dragon-esque! – that grows on a cactus in Mexico’s Sonoran desert. It’s kind of like the Mexican kiwi (though yet another name for it is the strawberry pear), with a sweet flavor and smooth texture – and you can just cut it in half and eat it raw. Other uses include cocktail flavoring and delicious desserts.
Native to the tropical regions of the Americas and the Caribbean, Soursop – also known as Guanabana – is a Vitamin C superfruit, rich in antioxidants. That means that the Soursop is not only extremely tasty, it’s also very good for you – it’s especially good for your eyes. In Mexico, it usually forms the basis for beverages, ice creams and other popular sweet foods. While you’re exploring the Mayan Riviera, pay a visit to street vendors selling Dulce de Papaya (fruity popsicles) for a Soursop-flavored beat-the-heat treat.
A classic Mexican street food, Huayas (pronounced “why-yah”) look a bit like bunches of grapes, and they taste a bit like grapes, too. But this tropical fruit has a tougher shell that you crack open by squeezing it with your fingers or by using your teeth to get at the softer flesh. It’s worth the effort, though you don’t want to eat the seed. Mexicans also make delectable Huaya jam or preserves.
The Avocado isn’t an exotic fruit, of course. But Mexico is the largest producer of Avocados in the world, so it’s a necessary part of any Mexican vacation, whether you’re enjoying some fresh guacamole or adding it to your taco for added creaminess. Avocados are also incredibly healthy. They’re incredibly rich in monosaturated fat (the so-called “good” fat), which is known to reduce cholesterol. Avocados also contain loads of potassium – even more than bananas.