Yucatecan cuisine is one of the most fascinating and flavorful in México. It is based on an exquisite blend of ingredients and spices introduced by the Europeans during colonization. During this period, its ports became accessible for commercial trading with Cuba, New Orleans, and Europe, leading to the diversity of its cuisine.

Yucatecan food is famous for its unique blend of spices, such as pumpkin seed powder, oregano, red onion, sour orange, sweet pepper, lime, achiote (marinating paste), capsicum pepper (X-cat-ik), habanero chili pepper, and coriander.

Gourmet chef in the Riviera Maya

Among the different activities available at Hacienda Tres Ríos, every week Chef Oscar shares his culinary secrets with our guests in his Flavors of the Yucatan cooking class. He provides cooking tips and includes unique, easy-to-make Yucatecan recipes in our restaurants so that after their vacation, guests can bring home a piece of the Yucatan.

We were very excited to assist Chef Oscar in one of his classes and sampled some of his delicious delights. They were so flavorful that we wanted to give you a sneak peek of what awaits you right here at the resort.

For all culinary lovers out there, brace yourselves. You are in for quite an experience!

This week’s recipes:

Xtabentun gourmet shrimp

Xtabentun ShrimpXtabentun is a fantastic liquor made with fermented honey, from a regional flower of the same name, combined with rum and anise seed. It is commonly used here for cooking food.

Ingredients: Shrimp, Xtabentun Liquor, Garlic, and Chopped Onion.Fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes on low heat, then add sauteed shrimp followed by tomatoes, chopped cilantro, onion and the Xtabentun liquor. Once finished, season with salt and pepper.

Yucatan Cooking Recipes

Beef Filet with Charmula Sauce Marinade: Parsley, four garlic cloves, one tablespoon of cumin, coriander leaf, one tablespoon of paprika, one tablespoon of coriander seeds, ¼ tablespoon of cayenne pepper, two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, two tablespoons of olive oil.

Place all of the ingredients in the processor until you make a paste.  If you prefer fish instead of beef, it is recommended that you marinate the fish for 30 minutes. Soak the beef with the marinade and place it on the grill.

Guests at Hacienda Tres Rios

Tikin Xic FishTikin Xic is a very famous dish here and is prepared with a blend of Red Annatto (achiote), Orange juice, Sour Orange Juice, and Oregano.

Dip the fish filet in the marinade and wrap it in a banana leaf. Place it in the frying pan, adding the sauce with the white wine, and saute it for approximately 10 minutes.


Take a look at this video of Chef Oscar in action:


Cooking Lessons with Chef Oscar from HaciendaTresRios on Vimeo.

Next time you visit us, don’t forget to join our class!

14 Reviews

  1. I had an amazing Shrimp Ceviche while there last week. The end dinner for the Cancun Celebrity Golf Tournament was also very delicious. Definitely a great idea for guests to have a cooking class!!

    Kirsten Alana


  2. How very interesting!! I can hardly wait to come and visit you myself and participate in your cooking classes. There is no doubt in my mind that this is certainly enjoyed by the guests and considered a fun and educational highlight of their vacation.
    Thanks for sharing this with us!
    Stephanie aka TravelDesigned on Twitter



  3. Thank you for all your wonderful comments!



  4. I was wondering if there was a “similar” substitution we could use for the Xtabentun Liquor? Or on online resource for buying and shipping to the US? The recipe sounds fabulous but there’s no way a local liquor store in the mountains would have that liquor!

    Thanks in advance!

    Carrie H


  5. The cooking classes are a fabulous idea and the recipes look yummy!



  6. Carrie!
    A good substitute for Xtabentun liquor that is more likely to be found in the United States in Herbsaint liquor (An anise-flavored liquor),Pernod(which tastes a little sweeter)or Ricard.
    I hope you find this useful!



  7. Liliane – thanks so much for the substitution ideas!

    Carrie H


  8. Thank you for the information provided. Food and cooking is my passion so this helps

    Bill Dinitto


  9. I can not believe the amount of quality material that exists on this site. The site is extremely eye catching and pulls the reader straight in, the articles are great quality and are very professionally written. I have seen too many of these sites where it looks like they pay an 8 year old to do the writing – Not this one. Your site is easily the best that I have seen in a long while.

    Michal Tucker


  10. Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing

    Enoch Sutler


  11. Very nice post I love your website keep up the amazing posts



  12. Hello to everyone @ the Hacienda Tres Rios Resort.

    My hubby and I will be arriving this Friday Feb 26th from Montreal, Canada for a 1 week stay. Your web site is absolutely amazing and a joy to navigate.
    I am getting so very very excited to see your resort in person.
    I am looking forward to meeting Jesse, Thanks for everything, See you all on Friday, we can’t wait
    Sue Walker

    Susan Walker


  13. We are looking forward to ANother stay at HTR, and would like to definitely book the Chef’s Table for the evening of April 4th, in celebration of our son’s 35th b-day. (pls email confirmation if this is possible) We will be staying April 2-14, pls confirm, Thanks, & anxious to see you again! And we love your great website, & wonderful blog. Love to share it, & hope to find more friends that will come join us as members. You are the best resort, no holes barred!!
    Bud & Barb Fosdick

    Wade Fosdick


    • Thank you so much for the kind comments, Wade. We look forward to your return visit. We’re sending a message to our concierge staff, but upon your arrival, be sure to stop by the concierge desk to reserve the Chef’s Table. See you on Saturday. 🙂