Taste of Yucatan at Chichén Itzá, Los Angeles

chichen itza
Repeatedly mentioned by LA Times Jonathan Gold, Chichén Itzá, located in Mercado La Paloma in Southeast LA, is a great place for good Yucatecan food that is fast and cheap.

There are 2 reason why you want to visit this place:

1. Yucatecan cuisine has Mayan, Spanish, Lebanese and South American influences, giving it a cosmopolitan flare compared to the Mexican food you may be used to.
2. Mercado La Paloma is an experience. It is more than just about food - it is a marketplace that offers Mexican crafts, cooking classes and community events.

Cochinita pibil is the restaurant's signature dish. Unique to Yucatan, cochinita pibil is a slow roasted pork dish marinated in citrus juices (normally Seville or bitter oranges) and achiote, which are the two main ingredients that give this dish its characteristic color and taste. Cochinita pibil is served in one of three ways: with rice and beans, as a soft taco, or as a sandwich (torta) with toasted French bread.

Tamale horneado is another unique dish where the tamale is baked instead of steamed, giving it a crunchy texture. The horneado tamale is stuffed with achiote chicken, hard cooked eggs and tomato. The kibi (ground beef and cracked wheat patties) is a dish with strong Lebanese influence.

There are bottles of habanero hot sauces available (which you can buy to take home) if you want to add some heat to your food. But if you don't find it spicy enough, ask them to bring you something spicier. In the back, they have a similar sauce but with alot more heat! The secret is rolling the habanero peppers between the hands (to release more flavor), and then charring them before making the hot sauce. Add this to your cochinita pibil, with a bit of fresh lime juice and salt, and you will be golden! This is how the locals eat it.

Torta de Cochinita Pibil

Taco de Cochinita Pibil

baked tamale
Tamal Horneado

Habanero Hot Sauce

A few miles from Chichén Itzá is an awesome market, ported over to LA from NYC this past year, called Artists & Fleas. Open on the 3rd weekend of each month at 647 Mateo Street, Artists & Fleas is an outdoor market with carefully curated local vendors featuring art, jewellery, housewares, vintage fashion and unique reclaimed wood work. It is an intimate setting where creative minds conjoin. A dedicated food area, featuring LA-based food trucks, is also set up for the hungry mouths.

artists and fleas

3655 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, California USA
Telephone: 213-741-1075

Chichen Itza on Urbanspoon