First we had to define what exotic was, then we had to think about some of the exotic food that we had tried.
The list we came up with is a mix of both items and restaurants. Exotic refers to a food that is not native to an area and not normal food fare of a person. But this becomes tricky when visitors are discussing exotic with locals. If you look at exotic food lists, they are super obscure foods that most would not even want to try. What is the point of discussing exotic foods that others will not eat?
This list is not exotic foods that people would be squeamish to try, a favorite travelers games that so many play in the East; snake heart, birds nest soup, fish sperm sashimi. If that is your idea of exotic, this post is not for you. We thought through exotic meals and foods that people would want to try, not be dared to taste.
1. Pitahaya – This beautiful cactus fruit is becoming more readily available worldwide, but having a fresh pitahaya fruit straight from the cactus, well that is a whole other story. Grown locally and ready to eat in the summer months, this is a very exotic fruit that is delicious, high in Vitamin C and inexpensive.
2. Chapulines – Yes, we are putting roasted grasshoppers on the list. Some of you may think this ranks right up there with snake’s heart, but truly this dish is so good for you and really delicious. Grasshoppers are roasted with lime and chili, popped onto a tortilla so they can be eaten like a taco. As much as it has taken us many years to try this, chapulines are delicious, truly delicious!
3. Mole – This Oaxacan sauce is made from chiles, nuts, dried fruits and cacao, which some folks mistake for chocolate. The final product is a sweet, spicy gravy type sauce that is used on fish, chicken, shrimp and pork. When prepared right, this is a wonderful dish. If you can find mole tacos, go for it.
4. Frida Kalho Restaurant – New to the Playa del Carmen dining scene is the Frida Kahlo restaurant, a contemporary Mexican restaurant that plays with exotic produce, meats, and presentation. Inspired by the creativity of Frida Kahlo, food is art this local restaurant. Check it out and experience something a bit different this trip.
5. El Chique Restaurant – This restaurant is located in the Azul Sensatori hotel near Puerto Morelos. They describe your culinary experience like this – ” an experiential, multi-sensory dining adventure that will challenge any notions of how fine cuisine should look, feel and taste.” They have a tasting menu only, similar to what some refer to as a chef’s table dining experience. Flavors, presentation, and your experience is exotic. If you are familiar with Chicago’s restaurant Alinea, this is a similar experience for a portion of the price.
How do you define exotic food when on vacation? Do you seek out extraordinary meals that few people have heard of let alone may want to try? Or do you look for a meal, a dish, a restaurant that is something you want to dive into due to its unique flavors and environment? The Riviera Maya has both, but we have to admit we love both exotic food experiences and flavors…not just one or the other. This combination defines the Riviera Maya in some many restaurants, food stalls and places to eat.Find more cool restaurants in our Loco Gringo Directory.