Guatemalan Food

Foods available in Guatemala City
I’ve bashed against Guatemala’s food in repeated occasions, not because there is no good quality cuisine. Yes! There are great restaurants here, if you visit Guatemala, you won’t have trouble finding amazing quality Italian, Argentine, French, grilled meats or American style foods.

What I’ve found difficult is to eat authentic Guatemalan food. Yes, there a few places offering Guatemalan dishes, but they are not conveniently located. La Antigua Guatemala is one of the exceptions.
I always thought this lack of Guatemalan foods was unique to Guatemala City, but in my travels throughout the country side, I’ve found that the same phenomenon occurs there too.
You can go to one of the last bastions of Mayan traditions and ask several people for authentic local food, and you’ll be very disappointed with the menu at the only restaurant that offers “regional dishes”.
A few months ago, I read a news paper article inviting people to a gastronomic festival in Petén, Guatemala’s most distant province with the last remnants of jungles and with local population that still speaks the language of the builders of the ancient Mayan Cities.
Well, I went to this province a few weeks ago and engaged on a conversation with a local street food vendor, who happened to have a spot on that “gastronomic festival”. I asked her if they would have local dishes or something unique. “No, lo que hay son dulces tipicos, tostadas, hotdogs y pollo frito.”; No, there are Guatemalan sweets, tostadas, hotdogs and fried chicken, she tells me.
No, it is not just a Guatemalan phenomenon. A friend from Argentine told me they were having the same issue in their cities; another friend from Spain tells me the same, in the sense that “Americanized” foods are becoming more dominant. The only difference is that it is still easy to find their local foods, but in Guatemala it is becoming more and more difficult to find our local cuisine, unless you live in La Antigua Guatemala.
A few days ago I read about a place that offers very authentic dishes in Guatemala City, I’ll have to try it out soon, because opportunities to try these foods won’t last for long. Of course I’ll have photographs and a full review of Donde la señora Pú.
Menu at an Authentic Food Restaurant in a Mayan Town

© 2014, Eli Orozco. All rights reserved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tags:

  • NYChapin

    Is that why I could not find tostadas de salsa roja con cebolla y perejil and atol de elote at the ” Oakland Mall” ? I ended up eating crepes at Saul Cafe. Ha ha ha

    I promised myself that I was not going to comment on this, not only because I feel you are beating an old horse, but also because I think I already suggested to spend the time searching for the places, both in the city and other towns, where you can still find authentic Guatemalan. What is authentic Chapin food anyway? is the art lost or has it changed, how? A few questions to mull over next time you are eating a chile relleno. Also, why not think about your own place? say Antojitos 2.0 ( I got patent on the name already, but willing to negotiate !) I have some ideas, let’s talk, seriously.

    • Elí Orozco

      Hello NYChapin. I read an article about a place that sound very yummi. I’ll check it out when I come back from Peten. https://nomada.gt/comer-muy-bien/

      • What Elí does not say is that he got this link from me. 😉

      • NYChapin

        Looks great, good find.

    • Oh no NYChapin, I just think it is Elí who avoids eating true authentic Guatemalan food, such as chow mein. Just look at the over 325 entries at AntiguaDailyPhoto about food + http://antiguadailyphoto.com/category/food-drinks/

    • I’m in NYChapin, let’s do it.

      • NYChapin

        great, I already have a logo design in mind.

    • Elí Orozco

      Those are 3por Q5 here in Petén. I took my companions to Las Mesitas, the street vendors who sell them tostadas, and they loved them. In fact we have been eating tostadas for dinner every night.

  • Nowhere is Guatemala’s syncretism more evident than in its food. Here you have a sampler of what is considered authentic traditional Guatemalan dishes, yet you can see Chinese fried rice and chow mein, French roll sandwiches fill with Spanish-style pierna (leg), Russian potato salad, buche and tomato salad, revolcado Guatemalan curry, Guatemalan tacos (fried flautas), fried chicken, and fried plantains in chocolate-based sauce by the name of mole. However weird this may sound, these dishes have little in common with the meals that originated them; they are Guatemalan food now.

    Bon appetite!

    http://antiguadailyphoto.com/2007/02/19/guatemalan-cuisine-sampler/

  • elgordo

    One does not go to Oakland Mall for tostadas, why would one? As to other Guatemalan food, perhaps my family is different, but I eat pulique, pepian, jocom, etc, all the time at home. I don’t like to eat any of these things in restaurants because I like the way my family makes those foods. By the way, there is a reason why they don’t sell tostadas, chuchitos, etc. in Oakland Mall, it would attract people who can only afford tostadas, chuchitos, etc.

    • NYChapin

      I was being sarcastic Gordo. For tosdadas I go to El Trebol.
      And for Taquitos, I go to place in Zona 1 near el Cerrito del Carmen, at the end of Juan Chapin St. Do you know the place? salud !

      • elgordo

        I am shocked, pleasantly shocked, that you would know the place for tacos in Calle Juan Chapin near el Cerrito. That’s my neighborhood! I was actually happy that anyone would go looking for tostadas in any of the hoighty toighty malls in La Capital.

        • NYChapin

          Well, well well, small world amigo. That was my hood too, at least until 84. We might know each other then. Please don’t tell me you went to Loyola! ja ja. I did not. I lived on 11 Avenida A ( callejon de la Yesera)

          • elgordo

            I came to the US before the earthquake when I was a little kid, I went to Vanguardia Juvenil, but my neighborhood is Barrio San Jose.

  • Elí Orozco

    Apologies for the late reply. I’ve been on the move and hate typing on the cellphone.
    Regarding the lack of authentic foods at the malls, yes, it is something I despise. Why can’t regional foods be at luxury shopping malls!? Why are those spaces exclusive to Westernized foods!? There is a place in Coban at Plaza Magdalena, La Abuelita it is called, they sell Guatemalan dishes on a fast food setting. You have these americanized foods all around at this plaza but you still have the option of having a large side of platanos fritos con crema for Q10.
    The issue is complex and somewhat has to do with the status food represents in Guatemalan Society.
    I’d love yo have atol de elote while at a meeting in Oakland Mall, nothing wrong with it, but lets be honest, I would be seen as a “Shumo”, as Guatemalans call someone who portrays practices of the lower social classes. And yeah, as bad as it sounds, a lot of the regional foods are seen as foods of the shumos. And yeah, I’ve been called shumo a few times for eating Guatemalan foods at “improper” places.