goth Mayan oyakodon

December 22nd, 2013, 2pm

It was 27°C with scattered clouds. The breeze was gentle.

When we lived in Japan one of my favorite dishes was oyakodon which loosely translates as “mother and child over rice”. Now in our household any dish with chicken and eggs is referred to as “okyako”. Though this black dish isn’t over rice, it’s definitely an okyako dish.

It’s day three of our stay in Tulum, and after getting a bit pinkened at the beach yesterday we decided to spend today exploring. In the morning we biked to the local cemetery which had above ground graves that reminded me a bit of my grandmother-in-law’s gravesite in Taiwan. But these graves were colorful. Blues, yellows and greens amidst the unfinished grey concrete graves.

We then spent some time strolling down the main strip and realized that the tourist tchotchkes were of higher quality and better selection by the Mayan ruins. (We had biked out to the entrance to the ruins on Friday just to get our bearings of where everything is.) We stopped for some fresh squeezed juice (I had pineapple and chaya, a green vegetable that was described as being “a little like spinach” by our waitress. Ed had orange, apple, and lemon.) and then headed back to our hotel fora bit of a rest until we felt hungry enough for our main outing of the day: lunch at Kinich Tulum.

I had come across reviews of this restaurant while browsing TripAdvisor for places to eat. Kinich was recommended as authentic Mayan cuisine, and though I know little about Mayan food, or Mexican food in general, it certainly seemed authentic to me.

We were given crisp corn tortillas with three dipping sauces to start. One was a jalepeno relish which was nicely flavored but too spicy for us to finish, another was a black bean dip, and the third was a dip made from pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and onion. Very tasty. For appetizers we had some sort of soft tortilla with chicken, pickled onions, tomatoes and avocados and a very mildly spicy sauce.

For the main course I had Relleno Negro, which Ed dubbed goth Mayan oyakodon. It’s black. Black black black. It is earthy and mildly spicy. The eggs are wrapped in some sort of spiced ground meat and the chicken was very tender. The gourd you see to the right of my bowl was full of fresh corn tortillas, which I used to soak up the black sauce. Behind my plate you can sort of see Ed’s chicken which was baked in banana leaves with spices and bitter orange. Ed managed to finish his dish, I brought some back to the hotel for my supper.

When we returned to the hotel I went online to try to figure out what exactly I had eaten. The black sauce is made with the ash of roasted chilies and other herbs and spices. It’s very tasty ash. We saw some goat cheese covered in something that looked the same at the grocery store so I think we’ll try that next time we get groceries.

Our hotel is pretty rustic, with a shared kitchen and lounge but a small fridge in our room. We’ve gotten into the routine of eating a breakfast of yogurt drinks (I’m working my way through the 15 or so flavors they have at the grocery store) and fruit or veg and some nuts or cheese. We eat out for lunch, and then eat supper in our room usually piling tostadas (crispy corn tortillas) with cheese sandwich meat and vegetables.

Tomorrow it’s back to the beach, and Tuesday or Wednesday we’ll go to the ruins and spend a day there.

Stephen, Chris, David Wade, Paul and 5 others said thanks.

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Lia Pas

inter-disciplinary creator/performer

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