Yucatan Cuisine has some very distinct dishes and flavors due in part that the area was geographically isolated for decades. The corn, the chocolate and the honey, the venison and wild turkey, squash, cucumbers, chiles and tomatoes are from the Mayans while the pork and Seville oranges come from Spain and the Edam cheese from the Dutch who traded in the area.
Pavo (turkey), pollo (chicken) and pork are the main proteins, along with fish closer to the coasts, while seasonings like achiote – a sweet, slightly peppery red sauce made from the seed of the tropical annatto plant – and sour orange (brought to Mexico by the Spanish) impart a distinctive flavor profile to many Yucatecan dishes.
I found a great article by Emma Sloley, a freelance writer, on about.com who wrote the definitions of Yucatan Cuisine. I am sharing them below. Thanks Emma.
Huevos Motulenos: Huevos Motulenos is a breakfast dish of fried eggs served on tortillas with refried black beans and a tomato-based sauce, which is often studded with ham, peas and plantains and then sprinkled with cheese. The dish is said to have originated in the Mexican town of Motul, east of Merida, near the Gulf of Mexico coast.
It is by far my favorite breakfast dish in Mexico and even in Santa Fe NM! I always order it when I can.
Papadzules: Papadzules consists of tortillas rolled around a filling of hard-boiled eggs and topped with a sauce made of pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and tomato.
Pavo Relleno Negro: Pavo Relleno Negro is comprised of turkey in a dark sauce made from charred chilies and spices. The dish is garnished with hard-boiled eggs and eaten with fresh tortillas.
Pibil: Pibil is a dish consisting of marinated meat wrapped in spices and banana leaves, then cooked in a barbecue pit. Cochinita Pibil, meanwhile, is made from a whole suckling pig.
Poc chuc: Poc chuc is slices of pork marinated in a sour orange and achiote sauce.
Queso Relleno: Queso Relleno consists of a whole, hollowed-out Edam cheese, stuffed with a mixture of pork, peppers, onions, tomatoes, raisins, capers, olives and herbs and spices. The dish originated in the 19th century when Dutch traders brought the cheeses to the Yucatan Peninsula. Like many Yucatecan dishes, it owes its existence to a blend of cultures and influences.
Salbutes: Salbutes are a snack made from crisp fried tortillas topped with shredded meat, lettuce and tomato.
Sopa de Lima: Sopa de Lima is a broth-like hot soup made from chicken stock and lima (a citrus fruit similar to lime but less acidic), and filled with chunks of chicken and pieces of fried tortilla.
Sopes: Sopes are a snack food consisting of a tortilla stuffed with refried beans then topped with shredded chicken, pork or beef, lettuce and sometimes sour cream.