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What's the Difference Between Ceviche and Campechana?

Ceviche and campechana are both delicious seafood dishes that originate from Latin American cuisine. While they share some similarities, there are distinct differences between the two. In this article, we will explore the key characteristics of ceviche and campechana, including their ingredients, preparation methods, and regional variations.


Ceviche is a traditional dish that typically consists of raw fish or seafood, such as shrimp, scallops, or white fish, marinated in citrus juice, usually lime or lemon. The acid in the citrus juice effectively "cooks" the seafood, giving it a firm texture and a tangy flavor. Ceviche is often served with various accompaniments, such as onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado, which add freshness and additional flavors to the dish.

Campechana, on the other hand, is a seafood cocktail that combines various cooked and raw seafood ingredients. It is commonly made with a mixture of shrimp, octopus, crab, and sometimes scallops or fish. Unlike ceviche, campechana includes cooked seafood, which provides a different texture and flavor profile. The seafood is typically mixed with a tomato-based sauce, often including ketchup, hot sauce, lime juice, and other seasonings. Campechana is often served with crackers or tortilla chips.

In-Depth Review and Comparisons


Ceviche primarily consists of raw fish or seafood, which is marinated in citrus juice. The marinade may also include additional ingredients such as onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado. Campechana, on the other hand, includes a combination of cooked and raw seafood, typically shrimp, octopus, crab, and sometimes scallops or fish. The sauce used in campechana is tomato-based and may contain ketchup, hot sauce, lime juice, and other seasonings.

Preparation Methods

To prepare ceviche, the raw fish or seafood is cut into small pieces and then marinated in citrus juice for a certain period, usually a few hours. The acid in the citrus juice "cooks" the seafood, resulting in a firm texture. Additional ingredients are added to the marinated seafood before serving. In contrast, campechana involves cooking the seafood ingredients before combining them with the tomato-based sauce. The cooked and raw seafood are mixed together, and the sauce is added to enhance the flavors.

Regional Variations

Ceviche is a popular dish in various Latin American countries, including Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia. Each region has its own unique twist on ceviche, incorporating local ingredients and flavors. For example, Peruvian ceviche often includes corn, sweet potatoes, and aji amarillo (yellow chili pepper), while Mexican ceviche may feature diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.

Campechana is particularly popular in Mexico, especially in coastal regions. The exact ingredients and sauce variations can vary from place to place. In some regions, campechana may include additional ingredients like avocado, cucumber, or even oysters.


In summary, ceviche and campechana are both delicious seafood dishes with distinct characteristics. Ceviche is made with raw fish or seafood marinated in citrus juice, while campechana combines cooked and raw seafood in a tomato-based sauce. The preparation methods and ingredients used in each dish contribute to their unique flavors and textures. Whether you prefer the tangy freshness of ceviche or the hearty combination of flavors in campechana, both dishes offer a delightful culinary experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use any type of seafood for ceviche or campechana? A: Yes, you can use a variety of seafood options for both ceviche and campechana. Popular choices include shrimp, scallops, white fish, octopus, and crab.

Q: Are ceviche and campechana safe to eat since they contain raw seafood? A: When prepared properly, ceviche and campechana are safe to eat. The acid in the citrus juice used in ceviche effectively "cooks" the seafood, while campechana includes cooked seafood. However, it is essential to use fresh, high-quality seafood and follow proper food safety guidelines.

Q: Can I make ceviche or campechana in advance? A: Ceviche is best enjoyed immediately after preparation to maintain its freshness and texture. Campechana can be made in advance and refrigerated for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld together.

Q: Are there vegetarian or vegan versions of ceviche and campechana? A: Yes, there are vegetarian and vegan versions of ceviche and campechana available. Instead of seafood, these versions often use ingredients like tofu, mushrooms, or hearts of palm as a substitute.

Q: Can I customize the flavors and ingredients in ceviche and campechana? A: Absolutely! Ceviche and campechana are versatile dishes that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients, spices, and seasonings to create your own unique variations.

Remember to always use fresh ingredients and follow proper food safety guidelines when preparing ceviche and campechana for a delicious and enjoyable dining experience.