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dinsa Jun 22nd, 2005 06:59 PM

Eat the Salad?
hey ya'll! we're heading to Cancun on our honeymoon and my husband loves taco salad. He would love to savor an authentic taco salad but I've read not to eat any fresh veggies? Any feedback or does anyone have any reccomendations for safe places to eat?
Thank you so much!

Diana Jun 23rd, 2005 03:36 AM


I don't mean to offend, but I don't think there's any such thing as an "authentic" taco salad.

They were invented by Taco Bell or Wendy's, and to my knowledge, you can't even find them in Mexico. (I've never seen them.)

That having been said, we travel to Mexico once or twice a year and eat salads frequently and have never been sick. We eat veggies and/or salad every day when we're there.

There are many safe places to eat in Cancun.

Try Maria Bonita and La Habichuela for dinner, and Las Brisa and Iguana Wana for lunch.

suze Jun 23rd, 2005 06:25 AM

As above, I don't think taco salad is an authentic Mexican dish. I can't remember ever seeing it on a menu, but then again I haven't specifically been to Cancun.

I never eat salads in Mexico, but do eat steamed vegetables and fresh fruits that can be peeled (i.e. banana or melon yes, stawberries no.).

SusanInToronto Jun 23rd, 2005 06:41 AM

I have often eaten salads in Mexico, but it depends on where I'm eating, i.e., the type of restaurant, what the conditions are. I am generally leery of street food, but even then it depends.

zootsi Jun 23rd, 2005 07:14 AM

Since my wife is a big salad eater, this was a concern to her on our first visit to the Yucatan. However, we found that many restaurants now post on their menus - 'all produce washed in a mild anti bacterial solution'. We ate lots of salads, and had no problems. PS: our favorite Yucatan foods were the chicken lime soup, and the fish tacos.

Ryberg Jun 23rd, 2005 09:12 AM

Food including salad is safe in Mexico. It would be hard for Cancun to keep up the level of some 2+ million visitors a year if it weren't. Stories of getting sick from food X at place Y -- which if you think about it is impossible to know with any real certainty -- should also be considered in light of the various other factors that can cause digestive problems and illness, notably increased consumption of alchohol and the sudden change in climate (especially dehydration), as well as the stress of travel, changes in schedules and the like.


suze Jun 23rd, 2005 10:38 AM

Steve, If you have ever been sick with a bad case of "tourista" you KNOW that it is NOTt the same at all as what happens when you overindulge in alcohol, or have a change in climate or schedule, or stress.

Without going into the gory details, it is a very specific form of stomach upset caused by different or bad bacteria which comes from contaminated, poorly handled, or ill prepared foods.

LuvMaine Jun 23rd, 2005 10:42 AM

We've never had a problem with food and water in our six trips to Cancun. We did however have a problem in Cozumel...

Dude Jun 23rd, 2005 11:01 AM

IMHO What Steve says is off the Mark. No, I have never been to Cancun so I can't speak to a touristed area like that. I can speak to travel all over Mexico and to many places you would not even think of wanting to eat a salad. In addition the notion you don't know where you got sick from is absurd. I once ate with a group in southern Mexico. Everyone got sick thereafter. As far as I am concerned I knew with a certainty where the illness came from. In addition these problems are not only shared by tourists but by locals as well. All this said, most places make an effort to be as hygenic as possible, nevetheless places that don't have purified water, know safe food handling practices etc. can have problems. This is not an effort to be negative twoard Mexico I travel there on a regular basis and throughly enjoy it, my point is- it ain't that simnple as a blanket statement that food is safe in MEX. Its not always true in the U.S. either.

suze Jun 23rd, 2005 11:49 AM

well said, Dude.


dougout Jun 23rd, 2005 01:10 PM

11 trips to Cancun. Many salads especially caesar. NO illness ever. Just our experience.

Tess_Durberville Jun 24th, 2005 11:19 AM

Cancun is all about serving it's clientele --- tourists. It's probably the least 'Mexican' place in all of Mexico. You'll have little cause to worry about eating salads there.

Jed Jun 25th, 2005 06:32 AM

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage.

If you plan to travel much in the future, you should consider getting Hepatitis A immunization. HepA is a food-borne viral infection which can cause a chronic problem. Ask your doctor.

More common is diarrhea which is usually from bacteria. It is distressing, but temporary. ((R))

Ryberg Jun 25th, 2005 08:21 AM

I have been sick with "turista" and from drinking and I know the two are different . I didn't say they weren't. What I said was that a great many of the reports that people post about getting sick, in which they almost invariably somehow identify a particular food at a particular place as having been responsible, are probably inaccurate, for two reasons: (1) even doctors and chemical labs can have a hard time identifying such a source clearly with their backgrounds and sophisticated testing equipment, and (2) most visitor weaken their systems by consuming suddenly greater amounts of alcohol than they usually do, even while other things are weakening their systems as well -- climate change, sub-tropical sun/heat that causes dehydration, even the stress of travel, time and schedule changes, etc.

I don't just throw this out lightly. I have 5 years of experience living here in the Yucatan peninsula, I eat out often, including at places not even within the tourist zones which could only be called "dives," I eat all kinds of foods, and have only been sick from a problem with the food itself once. I also see a great number of guests go through who do not get sick, certanly many, many more than those who do. I wish to clarify these things for people because otherwise they might easily think that there is a great danger to eating in Mexico when in fact the number of cases of people visiting here, eating out (including salad) and not getting sick must overwhelmingly outweigh the number of cases in which people do.


Ryberg Jun 25th, 2005 08:42 AM

Here's a good, recent thread on the topic of food safety here in Playa del Carmen, at least:


Ryberg Jun 28th, 2005 08:26 AM

Had to come back to this thread after my wife got sick this weekend. Earlier on, Dude wrote:

"In addition the notion you don't know where you got sick from is absurd. I once ate with a group in southern Mexico. Everyone got sick thereafter. As far as I am concerned I knew with a certainty where the illness came from."

I am in complete agreement with that situation. Unfortunately I almost never run across that situation. What people report is much more commonly the situation regarding my wife this past weekend: we spent the entire Sunday together, then went out to eat that evening, and she was very sick the following morning. However, the other 12 of us who spent all that time with her and ate essentially the same foods as she did have all been fine. In this case it is not at all absurd to say that it is difficult if not impossible to know the source of her illness.

Similarly virtually every case in which a guest reports that someone is sick, one person in their family is sick, and everyone else is fine. And it is not uncommon to say "We're sure it was the _______ she at at ______ restaurant" despite the fact that everyone else is fine. (Sometimes they even point out that one or more others in the group had the same dish.) What is very uncommon -- I've never seen it -- is for an entire group to come back sick, as Dude described.

Given all this, of course it would be very unfair of us to assume that the restaurant we ate at was at fault. Everyone's system can react differently to foods just like medicines, and apart from the other things I mentioned, perhaps just individual susceptibility is to be considered as a possible reasons.


TripleSecDelay Jun 28th, 2005 09:06 AM

The issues is the Giarrdia and Amoebic Dysentery in the water.

If you grow up exposed to certain bacteria, you can continue to ingest them w/o problems. Otherwise, it's like Robin Williams said, "Two exits; no waiting".

Dude Jun 28th, 2005 09:34 AM

Re: above, I have never stayed at a mexican home where the people drink the water. Usually water is delivered. Likewise I have spent quite a bit of time in medical work in Mexico and Honduras assisting in the treatment of water born illnesses. Untreated water is generally not potable for tourists or locals. The notion that locals can drink the water is generally a myth. Obviously the exception are places, such as resorts, equiped with water treatment systems. Drinking untrested water is usually done out of economic necesity

Ryberg Jun 28th, 2005 09:49 AM

"If you grow up exposed to certain bacteria, you can continue to ingest them w/o problems."

Well sorry but that also cannot give us an answer in this case, as my wife grew up in this region from the age of 7 and we've now been living in it again for 5 years now. By contrast I'm the foreigner and I'm fine. So again, hard to know!

On Dude's point, I've seen people in Merida, which to my mind at least does not qualify as a tourist zone, who do drink water out of the taps in their homes. I suspect this is more and more common the farther you go down the economic scale, of course. But yes the vast majority of cases I've seen of Mexican families at home involve the use of purified water from delivered tanks for cooking as well as for drinking directly, just as the vast majority of cases I've seen also involve using iodine-based solutions to clean vegetables (broccoli, lettuce, etc) and fruits (grapes, strawberries, etc) before eating them. The idea that there is a great deal of difference between the local's and the visitor's world in these aspects is misperception, I believe.


welovemexico Jun 28th, 2005 11:02 AM

I've been to Mexico numerous times and I have always ate the salad. I'm a huge salad lover, so I often eat a salad with every meal. I've never had a problem, however, I do stay at 4+ and 5 star resorts and I don't eat a salad from a local restaurant.

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