Background: Along with the Aztecs, the Mayans where one of the greatest pre-Columbian civilizations.

Chichen Itza Pyramid

Chichen Itza Pyramid

Many of the Mayan cities were at their highest state of development in the classic period (250 AD – 900 AD) but was initially established in the pre-Classic era (2000 BC – 250 AD). At the Mayans peak, they were leading in many fields of science and maths. The Mayans established the number zero and also traced the planet’s movements. Not only were the Mayans good  at science and maths, but they were also very good at literacy and writing. They were the first pre-Columbian civilization to have an alphabet that completely represents their spoken language, comprising of over 1000 glyphs and symbols. Mayans worshiped many nature Gods and also a leader God of fire and hearth. One of the most important Gods in the Mayan culture is Chac who is the God of rain and lightning. The leaders of the Mayan cities were considered as interpreters of the Gods and semi divine. All people that died were believed to have traveled to the underworld whose presence is depicted by a jaguar, the God of death.

Influence  on modern Mexican cuisine: Since the Mayans empire was close to the coast of Mexico, the Mayans diet included many marine animals like fish, crustaceans, squids and manatee. These creatures are still eaten today in the coastal regions of Yucatan(except manatee). There are many meats that the Mayans ate that are still eaten today in some parts of Mexico including:

  • Armadillo
  • Peccary
  • Monkey
  • Fowl
  • Iguana

These meats are not the only foods that comes from the Mayans that are used today, many vegetables like corn and beans were first cultivated by the Aztecs and Mayans so the both brought them into modern Mexican cuisine. Fruits also coming from the Mayans like papaya, guayaba and lima (a citrous fruit like a lemon).

Recipes that exist today from the Mayans:

Tacos De Cazon

Tacos De Cazon

  • Ceviche (Lime juice soaked raw fish)
  • Tacos de tiburon (Tortillas with shark)
  • Pollo pibil (Chicken with hot red sauce)
  • Múkbil pollo (tamal pie)

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