Ciudad del Carmen, in the Mexican state of Campeche, is not a star in Mexico’s tourism constellation. It’s a petrol-oriented city on the Gulf of Mexico, hot year-round, and lacking in terms of attractions– its most-visited point of interest is Puente El Zacatal (The Zacatal/Pasture Bridge), the longest in the country. Coincidentally, I had driven over this bridge in 2018, but didn’t stop to check out the city.
But, then you must remember, Ciudad del Carmen is still in Mexico, so the food’s probably good. Considering that Campeche is the center of the shrimp industry on Mexico’s gulf coast, as long as you stick with seafood, you’re in good hands.
Eager to try the local version of one of my favorite crustaceans, I randomly stopped for a bite at a restaurant called Coctelería Cajun, located right by El Zacatal Bridge.
Now, if you’re a fan of ceviche, you will find that the Mexican variety is quite different from the Peruvian. In Mexico, ceviche and cóctel go hand-in-hand, offering up a mix of fish and seafood submerged in Clamato/tomato juice/ketchup and served in a glass or bowl. Although I’m partial to the Peruvian exemplar, I’ve got a weakness for mariscos (seafood), so I had to try something.
That something became Vuelva a la Vida.
Meaning “return to life,” it is a popular hangover cure throughout Mexico. Throw in a whole range of things from beyond the shore…think shrimp, squid, clams, mussels, and then on top of that, add in red onion and cilantro, and if you’re like me, some wildly spicy salsa. Don’t fret, for the sweetness of the tomatoes in the liquid base will help soothe some of the spiciness.
Though I really don’t ever want ketchup unless it’s beside a french fry, I couldn’t resist the assortment of marine life swimming in the glass.
Next time, I will see if they can add crab to the motley crew.