NYC Food Adventures: Cancun Deli & Grocery

Notes from a New York City Foodie Trip
Christopher Rios mural

Yes, the empanadas make it worth a visit

During our brief trip to NYC, we took a tour of the outer boroughs. We visited Harlem, the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, and we stopped for food twice. In the Bronx, we purportedly stopped to see a mural of Christopher Rios, a young rapper from the neighborhood who had met an early death. But really, the point was to visit Cancun Deli & Grocery, kitty corner from the mural.

I was happy to stop at Cancun for a couple of reasons. One, is that one of the typical foodie cultural experiences to have in NYC is to stop at a bodega. The second was their empanadas. They were mentioned in glowing terms in many of the reviews of the tour. Apparently, it is indeed visits from tour groups that keep Cancun Deli open – the enterprising owners started giving empanada samples to tour guides that came to visit the mural, and they got hooked. Now they have several tours stopping by daily.

Cancun’s empanadas are made by hand (though by now, they may be assembled by machine) by the owner,  Nathalie Rodriguez, a Dominican immigrant who learned to make empanadas by watching YouTube videos. After tasting them, I can say she found her calling. The fried empanadas, served warm, had a thin, crunchy tasty shell and a generous amount of filling. I ordered the Korean beef empanada and Mike had the standard beef empanada. Mike liked his empanada, which was quite flavorful, but we both loved mine. I don’t think there was much to it, it was basically a bulgogi empanada, which is a brilliant, brilliant idea that I’ll have to try myself (though, while fried empanadas are usually better than oven-baked ones, I’m not a fan of deep frying).

In all, the stop at Cancun was great, and if you happen to be in the neighborhood – or take a tour of the Bronx – make sure you grab an empanada there.

Cancun Deli & Grocery
908 E 163rd St
The Bronx, NYC
(718) 676-9765
7 AM - 10 PM

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