Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mmmmm, Cemitas.....

I was starving when Hubby picked me up from work today and he came up with the brilliant idea to hit one of our secret little hideaways in Cancun for big, honkin', ginormous cemitas. Cemitas are found in a few states in Mexico, but their fame seems to come from Puebla, Hubby's home town. Cemitas are similar to tortas only in that they are sandwiches, other than that, the flavours are quite different.

The cemita's distinguishing feature is the delicious sesame seeded egg bread they are served on, thought to have been introduced to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. The fillings are typically milanesa (breaded meat fried to a deep golden brown), pata (pig's feet), quesillo (just cheese and lots of it) or something as simple as ham. The bread is hard, but seems to have a sweet flavour. The toppings on a cemita include fresh avocado slices, panela cheese, Oaxaca cheese (or other string cheese), onions and "papalo", a fresh herb that is quite similar to cilantro. Now personally, I always go for the milanesa, with no onions and no papalo (it's an acquired taste I guess). These sandwiches are so gigantic that even on an empty stomach and feeling like I could eat a whole cow, I can only ever eat half a cemita.

The cemita place we've found here in Cancun is located on Andres Quintana Roo, kind of kiddy corner to CityClub. Hubby says that these are REAL poblano cemitas, but even if they weren't authentic, they are delicious. They are also budget friendly, three cemitas today cost us 110 pesos. Considering we'll have the second half for dinner, that's a good value for a big sandwich.

Apparently cemitas are becoming quite popular in the United States. The New York Times sings the praises of this famous street food and LA Weekly has a great review of this very special sandwich in one of their local eateries.

Now to tempt your taste buds with some pictures of these yummy concoctions....

The Secret Cemita Place

Delicious Beverages

The Menu


Now that's a LOT of cheese

Can you guess who had the ham and cheese?


Heather said...

Looks like the calzone some italian offered us last night. I had never heard of a calzone or cemitas before but they both have a lot of cheese, lol!

Fned said...

Hmmmm!! Those look goooooood!! I miss cemitas. I used to love the quesillo ones (exney on the papalo for me too but bring on the onions!!!).

I do have a doubt however... I recall cemitas in Puebla being made with Oaxaca cheese. The ones in your pics looks more like queso panela... perhpas I'm wrong though (I have been known to get my mexican dishes mixed up)....

In any case, they sure do look delish'!!!


Kathy said...

Those look GREAT!

If you're in the general same area (around the corner of Soriana llegando a City Club parking lot) there is a tamale lady who has The Most Amazing array of luscious tamales come dinner time. The Rajas are my personal favorite. About 5-6 for around 48 pesos.

barry said...

boy kelly,, they look tastyroo.. and who couldn't love sandwiches that have 'cheese for eight '

Tom said...

GUAU That is some kind a cemita!

Those look awesome. I always worry a little when we start turning people on to our favorite little out of the way places. Worry, that they'll get wise to us and raise the prices, become overrun with other extranjeros, change the recipes to try to appeal to an extranjero market.

But isn't it great fun to turn someone on to a place they may never find/try on their own.


CancunCanuck said...

Heather- Ooh, I miss a good calzone! Of course here, calzone means underwear so I haven't even asked for one, haha.

fned- They are YUM and that is Oaxaca cheese. A bit sweaty in the heat, but still Oaxaca.

Harvestmoon- I've seen the tamale ladies out there, but after my recent bout of amoebas, I've sworn off "street meat", lol! I know I will cave again and try them, I LOVE tamales (though only the Yucatecan ones in the banana leaf, I don't dig the corn leaf ones very much).

Barry- LOL, cheese for eight indeed! I am a cheese devotee so these fit right in to my love for lactose.

Tom or Debi- Er, Debi I guess, haha. Yes, sometimes you want to keep the little secrets, but this one I just had to share. I sure hope they don't go changing their style, I think they're just a family run corner business that would be happier turning away the gringos and keeping their paisanos, KWIM? I hope so anyway!

Laura said...

I'm not sure about the pig's feet part, but I'd be willing to give it a try for that bread and cheese :)

Anonymous said...

I read your blog everyday since I discovered it, I really like your pictures and stories!

Thanks a lot for sharing your little secret. I'm a Canadian woman who lived 1 year in Puebla and I'm going back to Cancun/Isla Mujeres/Tulum with my Peruvian husband who never visited Mexico before. I'll sure bring him to this little secret place because I am kind of afraid that our hotel won't offer us the real Mexican food I miss so much.

Thank you so much, and keep writing your wonderful stories!

Anonymous said...

Those cemitas look yumm-o!! I'd go for milanesa too, pass on the papalo, but with onions and extra aquacate!! The 1st time we went back to Mexico, I think Adrian ate papalo every day! He had missed it so much. It never really grew on me, though...


CancunCanuck said...

Laura- Yes, I skip the pig's feet more often than not, haha.

Julie- Welcome and thanks for stopping in! Glad you like the blog and the post, definitely share this little hideaway with hubby while you are here!

Kim- Oh man, papalo every day? What would that do to your stomach, lol! Certainly not a favourite flavour of mine, I can do without it. :)

3LittleFlowers said...

I agree with Heather that they look like calzones... They actually look like ones from one of our local Pizzerias.

D is for Dengue, Depression and Dread

I'm currently sitting in my Cancun apartment, staving off the Covid 19 panic and using all my Jungle Kelly powers to maintain my cal...