Foreign Kitchens: Tulum, Mexico

I'm very excited to share a special feature of Foreign Kitchens! One that involves a yoga guru, tasting the fruits of paradise and sharing in the slower pace of life from the seaside town of Tulum, Mexico. All told by my oldest friend and former SF neighbor, Chelsea. 

Chelsea is a lady who is all about the good stuff in life. Whether it be scouring Tulum in pursuit of the freshest Yucatecan fruits dripping with sweet nectar, teaching yoga beachside at her family's charming hotel or sharing with us the colors of Tulum in all its facets - bold architecture and city walls decorated in artful graffiti, this place is magic. With every photo that Chelsea captures, the serene crystal blue Gulf sea or the mysterious fruits plucked from the jungle, my desire to hastily pack my bag, fill the tank with gas and jet off on my first road-trip to Mexico is strong. And I promise you that after being enchanted by Chelsea's city, you will be too.

Enjoy Tulum...


PS: If you'd like to join and feature one of your favorite places or the city you live in, the instructions are at the bottom of the post under 'How to Join'. Would love to feature you!

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Name: Chelsea

From: San Francisco, CA


1.) Sight, sounds and taste of the local markets?

Tulum is a small town so even the busiest markets are quite dignified. Everyone knows everyone, so sometimes it feels less like shopping and more like happy hour to go for groceries. My favorite fruit market is one of those places that offers something different every day. Whether that be because the selection actually changes or because I find a new corner - I’ll never know. They have every fruit, spice, and weird nut you didn’t even know you needed! I desperately miss kale, so I’m always on the lookout for dark, leafy greens. Chaya is a Yucatecan green similar to spinach, and I eat it by the bucketful. It has a slight sweetness to it that makes it great in smoothies.

2.) Ingredients you can't find anywhere else?

It’s great to be on the coast because we get all the traditional pig-buried-for-three-days Yucatecan meat preparations, while also being able to enjoy fish just pulled out of the sea. I love that I can get incredible chicharron-topped lechon tacos (crisped pig skin on top of suckling pig) at Don Honorio, and also eat delicately braised octopus with local ibes beans cooked by an ex-San Francisco chef at Arca - all in the same town! Beyond that, it’s the brightly-flavored salsas that you just can’t get anywhere else. I get frequent requests from clients to take home our habanero salsa. It’s so strong because the spice of the pepper comes out in two ways: as a sharp, pungent hit at first bite, followed by a slow burn that takes days to get over. People love it.

3.) Eateries that do it right?

There are so many great places to eat in Tulum - you can’t imagine how hard it is to stay fit! Tulum has always been an international destination, full of the delicacies of many distinct cultures. Everybody loves Hartwood, and rightly so. My favorites are the sides - you haven’t lived until you’ve had his wood-fire roasted beets and and sweet potato. Arca is the new kid on the block and I think they’ll be huge this season - a San Francisco style restaurant focused on local ingredients creatively paired. Their cocktails are spectacular too (definitely try their Hemingüey). For pizza I go to Manglar and get the Parmesana, which is thinly-sliced eggplant covered generously in parmesan. Lately I only want to eat the gnocchi Sorrentina and spinaci al limone at La Nave. And I love the food we have here at ZAMAS because it’s all about bold, clean flavors. I’m obsessed with our jicama shrimp tacos, our chicken a la diabla, and of course, our ricotta doughnuts with chocolate dipping sauce.

4.) Divey hangout?

My 2am snack is this tiny little Argentinian empanada place called El Sudaca. I love their caramelized onion and blue cheese empanada, as well as the huitlacoche (corn smut) one. They’re especially good if you’ve had a few too many cervezas at nearby Encanto Cantina.

5.) What brought you here?

My family moved here when I was little and Tulum was still just a tiny milpa town. I spent a lot of my childhood here. It was incredible to grow up in the jungle surrounded by all manner of wildlife, and just steps from the water. After college, I was working at a startup in San Francisco that lost its funding, so I decided to take a trip. I came to Tulum for two weeks in February, and have been working at ZAMAS ever since. It’s the perfect job for me - I get to work with clients, food and writing, and do it all from a desk by the ocean. Plus, I’m really into yoga, and Tulum is such a great place to practice and teach.

6.) A moment to capture?

My favorite time of day in Tulum is early evening, any day of the week. Tulum is very pedestrian, so everyone is out and about, whether walking with their families, eating at any number of wonderful places, or playing soccer in the park. Tourists mingle with locals. The air cools as the sun sets. There is absolutely nothing better than sitting on a bench on the main avenue with a pistachio gelato in hand.


Website Links: (click below)



La Nave

Pizzeria Manglar


Don Honorio

Encanto Cantina

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I hope you guys loved reading about magical Tulum through the eyes of the lovely, Chelsea! To keep up with Chelsea's explorations throughout Tulum or to discover more of ZAMAS Hotel follow the links below:

Chelsea runs the ZAMAS IG account: @zamashotel 

ZAMAS Website: ZAMAS Hotel

Website: Chelsea Yoga

Tumbler: Chelsea's Yoga Stuff


Want to be feature and share a tasting of your favorite place you've visited or the city you live in? All you have to do is send me (via email on my contact page) 4-6 high-quality pictures of the destination you'd like to share, answers to these same questions and thats it!

Can't wait to share more Foreign Kitchen inspiration with you guys every Wednesday!

xx Marie