Dine Like the Mayans at HAAB’

In Dine, Playa del Carmen & Tulum by Suzanne Koch

If a traditional meal brought to your table is a bit of a bore to you then consider dining at HAAB’, where you can have a hand (literally) in the prep and cooking of an authentic Mayan meal while face-painted warriors and burning torches dance around you. This dining concept from Banyan Tree Mayakoba, celebrates the ancient traditions and foods of the Maya culture that still emanates throughout the Yucatan peninsula while taking diners on an ancient journey of good eats. HAAB’ takes its name from the Mayan Zodiac and is inspired by the four basic elements of earth, wind, fire and water which all play key roles throughout the dining experience.

Set in the jungle, HAAB’ holds up to 16 guests seated on the earthy floor around an open fire pit where the cooking takes place. The experience begins at sundown with a Mayan ritual that pays tribute to the sun. Arrive at the pit after beating drums and Mayan warriors—complete with headdresses and traditional garments—escort you to the secluded jungle location and then light four fire pits to signify north, south, east and west. As the evening continues, the warriors teach guests about the history and culture of the Mayans through stories, as well as educate on the origins and meanings of the Mayan calendar and traditional customs, crafts and astronomy knowledge.


To kick off the culinary portion of the night, guests are served sopes, an authentic Mexican appetizer of fried corn dough with vegetables and slow cooked meat. Traditional dishes like aguachile ceviche, lime soup, spiced pibil suckling pig and chayote-filled tortillas, include regional ingredients and reflect the Mayan culture. Expect tastes like avocado sauce, banana leaves and other native ingredients to accompany the dishes. Even the drinks are infused with Yucatan ingredients. Guests start the meal off with a xtabentum-flavored drink, which is a flower that grows wild in the Yucatan peninsula. The welcoming beverage is even served in a wooden jar made from the fruit of the calabesh tree. Keep the drinking going by ordering one of their signature cocktails that’s infused with Mayan liquers like a guanabana fruit rum (huana), a coconut liquer (kalani), or a rum with aniseed (XTA). In between cocktails, sip on hibiscus flower- or lemongrass-flavored water.

“HAAB’ is a one-of-a-kind experience that creates a cultural connection to our land that our guests will remember for years to come,” says Sergio Serra, Banyan Tree Area Director of Business Development for the Americas.

For more information, visit: banyantree.com/em-mexico-mayakoba

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