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Panuchos: The Origin of a Gastronomic Tradition in Yucatan

  • Joel CZ 
  • 3 min read
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Among the delicacies of traditional Mexican cuisine are the panuchos of Yucatan, small “puffed” corn tortillas filled with a bean-based stew and fried in oil or lard.

These small wonders of Yucatecan foods originate from Merida, Yucatan. There is a legend about its origin, which tells that this recipe was invented by Don Hucho, owner of a food stall for travelers coming from the Camino Real, around the middle of the 19th century.

At that time, Don Hucho prepared bread with beans and boiled eggs. Travelers called it “Don Hucho’s bread.” As time went by, the bread was changed to a corn tortilla, and the dish became famous under the name panuchos.

Its name comes from a play on words between the word “Pan” and its creator Don Hucho.

Yucatan is a state full of exceptional gastronomy, and it is so unique that the people or tourists who try it are compelled to come back in the future or not even leave.

Panuchos are a dish par excellence in the gastronomy of the Yucatan Peninsula.

What are panuchos?

panuchos
Source: Ernesto chi / shutterstock.com

If you are still wondering what Panuchos are, this delicious dish is handmade fried corn tortillas; these tortillas are made with a hole in the middle in which a stew, most commonly beans, is put and then fried in a pan in oil or lard.

Once the tortilla is fried, you put a bed of lettuce, turkey, or whatever you want to accompany it, slices of tomato, cooked carrot, avocado, and pickled onion; if you’re going to add a little more flavor, you can accompany it with a bit of lemon and a spicy sauce made from fresh habanero chili.

The complete history

Again, popular history tells of a man who lived in this part of the city of Merida, who many knew by the nickname of “Don Hucho,” this man had a food stand where he offered food for travelers going or coming to Campeche, on a road that was known as “Camino Real” all this happened in the mid-nineteenth century.

On one of those days, Don Hucho came up with the great idea to start preparing a snack consisting of bread with strained beans and boiled egg, people and travelers who passed by and ate at his stand began to call it “Don Hucho’s bread.”

This became more popular, and as time went by, the bread was replaced by corn tortilla (thanks Don Hucho), until the dish quickly became popular because of its delicious flavor, and because of the play on words between bread (pan) and Don Hucho they began to call it “Panucho” and that’s how it has remained until today.

You can accompany them with an ice-cold Coca-Cola (Mexicans are very fond of this soft drink) or delicious horchata water, hibiscus, pitahaya, orange, or any flavor juice you like.

Without a doubt, panuchos have become a traditional food, and it is almost mandatory to eat them if you come to the Yucatan peninsula. Buen provecho!

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