I was starving when Hubby picked me up from work today and he came up with the brilliant idea to hit one of our secret little hideaways in Cancun for big, honkin', ginormous cemitas. Cemitas are found in a few states in Mexico, but their fame seems to come from Puebla, Hubby's home town. Cemitas are similar to tortas only in that they are sandwiches, other than that, the flavours are quite different.
The cemita's distinguishing feature is the delicious sesame seeded egg bread they are served on, thought to have been introduced to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. The fillings are typically milanesa (breaded meat fried to a deep golden brown), pata (pig's feet), quesillo (just cheese and lots of it) or something as simple as ham. The bread is hard, but seems to have a sweet flavour. The toppings on a cemita include fresh avocado slices, panela cheese, Oaxaca cheese (or other string cheese), onions and "papalo", a fresh herb that is quite similar to cilantro. Now personally, I always go for the milanesa, with no onions and no papalo (it's an acquired taste I guess). These sandwiches are so gigantic that even on an empty stomach and feeling like I could eat a whole cow, I can only ever eat half a cemita.
The cemita place we've found here in Cancun is located on Andres Quintana Roo, kind of kiddy corner to CityClub. Hubby says that these are REAL poblano cemitas, but even if they weren't authentic, they are delicious. They are also budget friendly, three cemitas today cost us 110 pesos. Considering we'll have the second half for dinner, that's a good value for a big sandwich.
Apparently cemitas are becoming quite popular in the United States. The New York Times sings the praises of this famous street food and LA Weekly has a great review of this very special sandwich in one of their local eateries.
Now to tempt your taste buds with some pictures of these yummy concoctions....
The Secret Cemita Place