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La Tía de Kaua: A Yucatán Living Culinary Treasure.

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

The Yucatán Peninsula is a culturally rich region located on the eastern coast of Mexico, known for its unique blend of indigenous, Spanish, and Caribbean influences. The Yucatecan cuisine reflects this wonderful cultural fusion, resulting in a diverse range of dishes that incorporate traditional Mexican ingredients with Caribbean flavors and cooking techniques.

Inland aerial photo of moist forest, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico.

Some of the most famous Yucatecan dishes include Poc Chuc, Cochinita Pibil, and Papadzules. These dishes often feature local ingredients such as achiote, sour orange, and habanera peppers, giving them a distinct and flavorful taste. Whether you choose to enjoy it at local street markets, family gatherings, or high-end restaurants, Yucatecan cuisine is sure to delight the senses and provide a true taste of the amazing region's cultural heritage.

Left to right: Poc chuc, cochinita pibil, papadzules.

In this article, I want to show you a wonderful dish that is widely considered as the most representative of Yucatecan cuisine, that is Poc Chuc. Poc Chuc is a traditional dish from this very region, the Yucatán Peninsula, made from thin slices of marinated pork that are grilled over an open, wood flame.

The dish has a unique flavor due to the unique combination of sour orange juice and achiote paste, which is made from annatto seeds. Poc Chuc is typically served with tortillas and various accompaniments, such as pickled red onions and habanera salsa, making it a staple of the cuisine here.

Poc Chuc, Yucatan-style grilled pork. Source: Wellspent Market.

If you want to taste the original and authentic flavors of Poc Chuc, you must come to Kaua, a small town between Cancún and Mérida. The town is situated near important Mayan ruins, such as the archeological site of Dzibilchaltun, and is surrounded by lush jungle and cenotes, Besides its foods, Kaua is also known for its handcrafted textiles, pottery, and other traditional crafts, made by local artisans using techniques passed down through generations.

Dzibilchaltun ruin near the town of Kaua. Source: Mexico Desconocido

Here, you will find a small thatched-roof hut on the right side of the road, if you're coming from Cancún, with a quaint restaurant sign, La Tia de Kaua (Auntie of Kaua).

Street view of La Tia de Kaua. Source: Mochileros En Yucatan

The restaurant owner is Doña Antonia Noh Poot. A small but radiant lady who has made her name known far beyond the peninsula for decades. She started out offering licuados, blended drinks, in banana and ChocoMilk flavors which became popular. She then later offered Huevos Encamisados, a recipe that was passed down to her by her mother, which is now a staple on Doña Antonia's menu. It is a dish made with fresh raw eggs, cracked and then cooked inside a hot corn tortilla.

Her name grew larger and larger over years as truckers and locals fell in love with her Huevos Encamisados and her black bean soup. Doña Antonia left her rented place and opened a restaurant just down the road where you can find her here 'till this day.

Tia saying "Hi" to Ser Andy's camera. Auntie is 68 years old in this photo.

Even though she is known for her Poc Chuc, there are other stars on the menu that you have to try when you visit this place such as her black bean soup, and the wonderfully fresh, hand-patted corn tortillas cooked right in front of you. I doubt you will leave this place feeling unsatisfied or half full.

Mexican sausage and thinly-sliced pork cooked on a griddle with wood fire below.

Fresh salsa picante, hot sauce, is made throughout the day.

Eggs in fresh, hand-patted tortillas are made when customers come in.

Fresh tortillas are expertly made with care and decades of experience.

Left to right: Black bean soup, sausage, huevos encamisados (egg in tortilla), and poc chuc.

Ser Andy devouring the whole meal of Poc Chuc at the famous La Tia de Kaua.

Ser Andy taking photos with new friends at La Tia de Kaua.

Due to the popularity of La Tia de Kaua, there are many other copycats out there with the names Tia-.... I also have seen many Tio....(Tia means "auntie" and Tio means "uncle"). I have no doubt they can cook the food just as great or even better. Just be aware and look carefully for La Tia de Kaua.

The Yucatán Peninsula is a great place to visit and definitely worth checking out. If you're looking for authentic local cuisine, be sure to visit La Tia de Kaua. Have a great trip!

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