People are always asking me what food they should try in Mahahual, and I always suggest ceviche. I never ate much ceviche until I came to Mahahual, and now I love it. Almost every restaurant on the malecon serves cerviche, and they all have different varieties. You can get fish ceviche, conch ceviche, mixto ceviche, and shrimp ceviche on the malecon.
Ceviche, also spelled seviche or cebiche, is a fish or seafood dish cooked or cured in an acidic marinade. Lemon and lime juices are the most commonly used citrus juices because of the high acid content, but orange and grapefruit juices are sometimes added for flavor. Ceviche is most often served as a chilled appetizer.
The meat is technically denatured, where the fish and seafood turn opaque and the meat is firm to the touch. The proteins coagulate, but is not cooked. This dish differs from an escabeche since the fish in ceviche is essentially raw (no parasites or bacteria are killed).
Cooking or marinating times vary with the recipe: the fish may marinate for a period of time to denature the meat, or it may just be tossed with the marinade and served immediately. If the fish is cured in the marinade, the ceviche is often drained before serving, and then other fresh ingredients are added. If the fish is served raw, then the ceviche is served immediately after mixing with the marinade.
Ceviche has a long history in Latin America, from Spain to South America, but its history is somewhat gray. While most agree that its origins trace to Peru, some believe ceviche was introduced by Arabians. It was historically made with fermented fruit or vegetable juices, and the use of lemon and lime juices started with the introduction of citrus fruits by Spanish colonists in Peru.
The type of fish and shellfish to use in ceviche vary, and is usually based on what is the most popular seafood caught in the area, or what is most abundant. Tilapia, corvina, sea bass, shrimp, shark, salmon, tuna, sole, and red snapper are all popular fish to use in ceviche.
Mexico – Unlike other places, the ceviche is served ‘wet’ or ‘dry’. The dry version is popularly drained from the marinade and served with chips, on top of tostadas, or inside tacos. Shrimp and tilapia are popular ceviche seafood choices.
Now everybody on the malecon does good ceviche, but my favorite at the moment is the ceviche Pedro makes at the Tropicante. I like it with saltines crackers, like I eat shrimp cocktail. I also can take it home at night to eat, because it requires no refrigeration.
Now I am just giving my opinion, and what ceviche I like best. So please people don’t get upset, and start sending me messages and comments, and telling me I am an ignorant redneck for not picking your restaurant, or your favorite place for ceviche. Last year I did an article on my favorite places I like to eat, and I got a backlash from the local expats here because I did not put their favorite hang out or where they eat with the other expats. This is just the ceviche I eat a lot at the moment.
I also have had some pink conch ceviche in Rio Indio before and it was excellent also. In fact, I can say I have never had a bad ceviche in Mahahual. So, no matter where you eat ceviche in Mahahual, I am sure it is a dish you must try when to come to visit on a cruise ship, or here on vacation.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina