Best Little Taco Stand in Merida Yucatan
Hmmmm... tacos! When you finally discover real Yucatecan tacos, how can you not fall in love? Don't you just love those Maya-palm-sized tortillas heaped with a tasty combination of meats or fish or veggies, topped with a spicy salsa, some fresh onions, avocados, tomatoes, cheese or black beans? Pour on a little salsa habanero, roll it into a mini handheld burrito and pop it into your mouth! Four of those is a filling meal, eaten in about ten minutes. Fast food, Yucatan style! Heaven on the tongue!
In our experience, which is far from exhaustive, there are good taco stands in every corner of the city. In fact, most of the ones we know about are not in the Centro, curiously. They aren't all on the Paseo de Montejo either... in fact, some of them are downright difficult to find for the uninitiated. Therefore, we have created a map for each one in our poll, a linked and printable PDF file at the end of each description.
Here in Yucatan, tacos are eaten for breakfast or lunch. These places are almost all closed at night, except Tacos Arabe, which isn't open in the morning. So obviously, this is the Yucatan and you can't count on consistency... except that the food at these places is consistently good.
Eating tacos is not a literary or intellectual experience. It's more of a finger-licking, salsa-dripping, lip-burning, tummy-rumbling immersive and delicious dance between you, the taco-eater, and the Universe, which has in its Infinite Wisdom and Grace, presented you with that taco, if you know what we mean. And when the habanero kicks in, it's like you and the Universe are dancing the tango, if you know what we mean. And if you're voting in this poll, you probably DO know what we mean!
Here are our five nominations for Best Little Taco Stand in Merida Reader Choice Poll. As always, we hope that you will add your nominations if you don't see your favorite on the initial list. Leave a comment, and we will add your nomination to the poll.
Nominations are open until October 30th and the voting will be open until midnight on December 31st, 2007. The winner of this and our other polls will be announced early in January 2008.
The nominees for Best Little Taco Stand in Merida in alphabetical order are...
La Virgen de Caridad del Cobre - Located across from one of Merida's most unusual and largest urban parks, Parque Ecológico, and from the city's Hospital Psiquiátrico (Mental Hospital), La Virgen de Caridad del Cobre features authentic Yucatecan cuisine. Here you can find tacos with cochinita, pavo en relleno negro, castacan and many other local favorites. Sit at one of their nice clean tables under a ceiling fan or belly up to the bar and eat your tacos standing up! And you can walk off all those calories afterwards in the park! The address for La Virgen de Caridad del Cobre is Calle 116 x 59 & 57 Colonia Francisco y Madero. Map to Caridad del Cobre
El Cangrejito - One of two of our entries that are walking distance from the zocalo, El Cangrejito is a little hole in the wall with a big reputation and a very unusual interior designer. The Coca Cola awning barely distinguishes it from the other nondescript buildings on that block. Once inside, take a moment to take a look around. We're not sure what influenced their interior designer to mix a statue of Michaelangelo's David, a wooden Christmas tree, family photos from the 60's, bullfight posters and stuffed animals with a disco ball and a large black and white photo of a hermaphrodite, but whatever it is, we'd like some! The owner may or may not have named the place after his friend, El Cangrejito, who is a local retired matador who once fought in Spain the same day as the world-famous El Cordobés (and has the poster to prove it!). What is certain is that the fish or shrimp or whatever-is-fresh-today tacos are to die for! Wash them down with a Coke, of course, while you marvel at the most magnificent example of a "soda-straw" chandelier we've ever seen. El Cangrejito is on Calle 57 #523 between 64 and 66 and is usually open for lunch. Map to El Cangrejito
La Tía - Legend (and our locally-born team members) tell us that the time to eat at La Tía's (it means 'the Aunt') Taquería is 4:00 am, after a hard night of drinking and dancing. Sunday morning at 4:00 am, La Tía serves the city's best cochinita tacos, hands down. Turns out, you don't have to stay up all night to enjoy them (thank goodness). La Tía is open from 3:00 am until 2:00 pm every day, so even the old folks who go to bed early can partake of their alimentary splendor. Another benefit is that La Tía's is located at the entrance to the old mercado, making a trip there satisfactory on so many different levels. Map to La Tía
Tacos Arabe, a.k.a. Rocket Tacos - We've already written about "Rocket Tacos" at great length. If you haven't tried them, you should. They are a different breed of taco from any others on this list, thus the "Arabe" in the title. The tortillas are flour, not corn. The flavors are Lebanese, not Yucatecan, because there was a huge influx of Lebanese during the early part of the 20th Century here. Lucky Yucatan, because Lebanese food is some of the most delicious in the world. There is garlic and sour cream and grilled onions and... This place is probably the most difficult to locate, but well worth the effort. Check the map for directions. Map to Tacos Arabe
Wayan'e - The last on our list was the first in our stomachs and our hearts. Wayan'e was our introduction to the joys of eating tacos here in Yucatan. How fortunate was that? Wayan'e is still one of our favorite places for a quick and delicious lunch. Arrive before lunchtime so you can choose from up to twenty different types of filling for your taco or torta (sandwich). Point to or ask for the kind you want and then wait while they heat up the tortillas on the grill, spoon a heap of delicious pollo poblano or carne asada onto it, top it with fresh onions and cooked black beans and try not to salivate. We like these tacos best with a generous serving of their fresh habanero salsa, which makes the delicious fresh fruit juice they serve a practical necessity. Wayan'e has two locations, one in Colonia Mexico and one in Colonia Aleman. Read our article about Wayan'e before you go! Map to Wayan'e.
So now you know everything you need to know for five delicious meals. Print out this page and those maps, and go forth and eat tacos!
If, in the process, you find yet another taco stand that you enjoy (and there are many, we're sure), please let us and our readers know by leaving a comment. We look forward to finding out our Reader's Choice for the Best Little Taco Stand in Merida!