The Critic had heard that the famous and too-often mentioned (at least by this Critic) Susana Internacional panucheria in Kanasin had opened a branch in Mérida. Last night, in a fit of Yucatecan food poch*-ness, the Critic and his much better half zipped over to one of Mérida’s older colonias (neighborhoods), the colonia Alemán to see if this Susana was as good as the original.
There is no comparing the quirky atmosphere, the decorations; the ambience, that permeates the original Susana. At this sucursal (branch), admittedly easier to get to than the original and located in the afore-mentioned colonia, directly across from where the Cine Maya once stood, there are much fewer decorations, the waiters aren’t as funny, the furniture is plastic Coca Cola red, and the street is right beside your table. Last night, there was also the added bonus of live entertainment in the shape of a wach (tenia aspecto fuereño) scratching a battered guitar and attempting something resembling music. The Critic and Co hate live music while eating and tried not make eye contact.
The food is very good, as in the original. The obligatory menu was had consisting of salbutes and panuchos, caldo especial and a taco each of chicharra. Portions are huge, again as in the original. Drinks were aguas de pitaya and chaya, two local flavors that you, dear visitor, must try at some point while in the Yucatan.
Service was good and the Critic was impressed with the speed in which the ordered food appeared at the table. Too speedy, since everything arrived at once. But that way, you can work your way through the panucho and the salbut, dropping bits and pieces into your caldo, which is cooling off while you eat.
Prices are ridiculously cheap; perhaps a little over those of Kanasin. The total bill for two fruit waters, 2 salbutes, 1 panucho, 2 small caldos and 2 tacos de chicharra, came to $145.00 (pesos!) At today’s exchange rate, this works out to around $13 USD for a very filling, belt-popping, cholesterol-level-boosting dinner.
On a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best) the Critic subjectively awards the Susana Internacional’s second location a hearty 3.
*poch – A Mayan word meaning to be in the mood for something. Also when you are feeling in need of a hug, your mood can be described as ‘poch’.