Asia Caribe-Isla Mujeres

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2014 was significantly different for the three sisters on Isla Mujeres: Sister #2 had already been and gone, visiting the island just after Christmas so that her daughter (who became an Islaholic on her own steam) could make the trip with them before the latter returned to her new home in Australia.  With them was a new family member; we call him “The Aussie” and the brave man demonstrated his deep love for our niece and us all, by visiting Canada for the first time in the winter, which to our dismay has turned out to be the coldest recorded in over 35 years.   He is now appropriately initiated to Island life. 

Sister #3’s dates were only slightly different than my own but her Isla network has widened to such an extent that I call her “Islapedia” and she is the perfect resource to chum with if you are new to the island.  So too, she is friends with so many of the locals and such a loyal one at that, she fills her time on Isla with repeat visits to their businesses.  I, on the other hand, am still trying to visit every restaurant on my “must visit” list at least once and I still have not spent enough time on the island, even though the days would tally almost 100.  So too, we had our own “newbie” in our entourage as “The Frenchman” spent his first week on Isla.  All this preamble is to say that Sister #3 visited many restaurants that I did not have the pleasure of and even though she is at this moment watching her last Isla sunrise, she has already written and emailed me this guest blog post.  

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I give you, Sister #3: “Walk down Hildalgo, the main restaurant thoroughfare of Isla Mujeres, any night of the week and you are sure to meet Annalise, an endearing woman doling out samples of yummy sticky ribs. Annalise and her husband, Chef Peter, are the proprietors of Asia Caribe which opened in a smaller location in 2008. 

The year they opened was the first time our gang visited their establishment which specializes in Thai and Chinese cuisine as well as sushi.  Mexico may seems an odd location to open an Asian restaurant but the reality is that people from across Asia have been in Mexico for many generations; helping to settle coffee plantations and build the railway.  They brought with them ingredients like limes, coconut and rice that are now staples in what we know as Mexican food. 

Over the 6 years since our first visit to Asia Caribe, our gang has grown and the kids are now young adults and they have discovered this restaurant themselves. They find it a great place to satisfy their sushi craving and their desire for healthier options, as Asia Caribe offers lots of items suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

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We didn’t get to Asia Caribe on our visit last year so were determined to make a stop this year and were very glad we did.  Everything was beautifully presented.  The service was attentive and most importantly, the food was delicious.  We started with cocktails of strawberry margaritas and mango daiquiris.  You could actually taste the tequila in my margarita and the fruit in both drinks was obviously fresh and not a bar mix.   

The waiter started by bringing us a plate of marinated cabbage with little dollops of sriracha chilli sauce. The cabbage is a perfect balance of sour, sweet and spicy and is a great amuse bouche to awaken your palate.  

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My dinner mate and I decided to share two entrees; Garlic-Ginger Shrimp and Pecan Encrusted Grouper.  Both were served with fluffy rice garnished with daikon radish and slivered carrot, a medley of carrots, chayote, water chestnuts and snow peas and a bit of slaw of jicama and carrot. 

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The grouper melted in your mouth and the tamarind sauce was a nice balance of sweet and sour which still managed to not over take the fish.  The ginger in the garlic shrimp was a nice addition adding another taste and a bit of heat. 

Our only regret of the night was not having room for a delicious dessert.  We have sampled both the coconut cheesecake and the chocolate Kahlua mousse in the past and would have enjoyed that to finish but instead made due with our fortune cookie and a stroll around town to try and work off some of the fullness in our tummies. “

Kath’s quote: “I think somebody should come up with a way to breed a very large shrimp. That way, you could ride him, then, after your camped at night, you could eat him. How about it science?”-Jack Handey

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Love-that is all.

P.S. To Annalise from Kathryne.  I mistakenly called you Lori the last time I saw on Hidalgo.  I love your name and will forever remember it.

 


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