There’s just so much going on in Mérida’s Centro that sometimes it’s hard to keep up.
Saturday nights are Pok-Ta-Pok in front of the (Episode 376) and since I’m obsessed with the game that is often where we go, but there is also “Noche Méxicano” at the Remate de Paseo on Saturdays, and it’s a great show too.
In December, the show focussed on Christmas themes, and was aimed largely at families with small children. in January, Méridafest activities superseded the show, and then for most of February we were in the stands cheering on our favourite Pok-Ta-Pok players, but as March approached we began walking up to the Remate for the stage show on Saturdays. Plus, there is an artisanal helado vendor that brings his cart to the Remate on show nights; for 40 pesos he fills a hand-made waffle cone with two generous scoops of one of his five flavours for the night.
Noche Méxicano itself is an ever-changing show that focuses on the folkloric songs and dances of a different part of Mexico each week.
On February 25th, we were treated to dances from the state of Veracruz. While we’ve become used to the beautifully embroidered costumes and floral hair ornaments of the Yucatecan dancers, we were absolutely blown away by the gorgeous full white skirts of the elegant female dancers and pristine white suits and boots of the males. Everyone’s footwear was constructed with a kind of “tap” hollow heel that created the dances’ percussive rhythms..
The first dance involved complicated steps performed while the dancers balanced lit candles on their heads!
After a vocal interlude, the dancers returned in beautiful new costumes – the women’s dresses adorned with embroidered designs and accessorized with colour-coordinated shawls. Even their hair styles and ornamentation had been re-done! The men had changed out of their all-white ensembles, and exchanged their boots for the typical Mexican men’s sandals. One of the dances performed was an intricate group pasodoble, the dance based on a Spanish march step at a rate of 120 steps per minute.
On a (very important to me) side note, February 25th’s helado flavours were mandarina, chocolate, queso de bola (Edam cheese), mamey, and guanabana. Ted had chocolate and I had the guanabana, which was a new fruit for me (apparently in English it is more commonly called soursop), and incredibly delicious. The texture of the fresh fruit bits in the helado was similar to pineapple, with a taste that has hints of strawberry and sweet apple, combined with creamy banana; a whole tropical fruit smoothy in a single fruit! Since finding out that mamey is another unique Mexican fruit (Mamey sapote in English) that is at its peak in February and March, I’m hoping he’ll still be offering that flavour when we go back in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’ve found mamey at the market and, in addition to eating it with a spoon right out of the shell, turned it into a sweet dip for tostadas by adding a touch of crema and some cinnamon.
We’re down to just 4 Saturdays left in Mérida, with a concert and at least one last pok-ta-pok game planned, but hopefully we’ll get to the Remate for one more Noche Mexicano before we leave for our short stint back in Canada.
Hi Rose. Will be in Merida this December and would love your restaurant recommendations. Very much enjoy your posts.
I took a minute to go through my Tripadvisor reviews to remind me of places we particularly enjoyed. All o& these are in the historic centre of town. Tropico 56, especially if you like ceviche. If you go on a Saturday, stay to take in Noche Mexicano in the adjacent park (Remate de Paseo). Rosa y Xocolate if you’re celebrating a special occasion – absolute outstanding food, but prices to match. Amaro for Italian-influenced dishes and nightly live music (Wednesday is the best night for traditional trova). 2012 Espacios Mayas for a traditional (but quiet) Yucatecan dinner in a lovely courtyard. Voltacafe for desserts and the best horchata in the city IMO. Picheta (make reservations), but more for the view than the decent but not spectacular food). ManjarBlanca for truly authentic cochinita pibil tacos. Coyote Maya for terrific appetizers and drinks. There are so many restaurants,for every taste and budget. Our only disappointment was the wildly popular tourist place Chaya Maya, where we found the food bland and sloppily presented.
Excellent advice! Thanks so much
Hi there. Just love your posts! We’ve just booked a tour to Mexico City and other locations, and also booked a post-trip tour to the Yucatan, including a few days in Merida. May I ask for your restaurant recommendations? This is the kind of tour that includes quite a bit of free time, and few meals. We don’t love super spicy food, but are pretty open to any other comments/recommendations. Thanks so much! Best, Laura from western MA
Hi Rose and Ted we are very much enjoying your sexellent adventure the dancers and costumes are stunning as are your other blogs about Merida thank you šo much we hope to see you in Sydney sometime next year and please come and stay regards Ivija and Rod
Hi Rose and Ted- I loved it when the dancers would put trays of beer and tequila on their heads and keep dancing. Unusual for a traditional dance but it fits since these drinks really are a huge part of tradition here in Mexico. We are still in San Miguel- head back to the snow next week. Lots of activities here as well- theatre, music, art….. we are spoiled for choice just like in Merida. I do miss the Chochinita Pibil Tacos but am enjoying the temperate weather here. Hope you two are managing the Merida heat! Thanks for the post and hope we cross paths again.
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It’s a big beautiful world – hope we see you somewhere again!!
Hey Rose – we were fortunate to have a private food tour in n Panama City. One of our requests was to go to a fruit market where we tasted ripe soursop -delicious!
Our tour guide had us eat pineapple and passion fruit together- you should give this a try if they are available in your Merida market – a truly fantastic flavor combo.
Thanks for the post – I often read them aloud to me wife so we can both enjoy your adventures!
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Pineapple and passionfruit is a helado flavour here!!