Monday, January 11, 2010

Food in Guatemala

Overall, we're fans of Guatemalan food.  Our meals have been simple but tasty.  Breakfast isn't usually included with our rooms, so we wander in the morning to find a small cafe.  Our breakfasts have been hearty, (allowing us to skip lunch many days) and are typically a few eggs scrambled or over easy, served with salsa picante, a scoop of refried black beans, and a basket of warm tortillas.  The eggs in the picture above are "huevos divorcados", or "divorced eggs", so named because of the two different sauces (orange and green).

Typical dinners are grilled chicken or beef served with seasoned rice, a garnish of tomatoes, and again- a basket of warm tortillas.  When you pass by open doors to private homes, you can often hear the slapping sound of women patting cornmeal into a ball and then flattening it on a hot griddle.  We took this picture of women making blue corn tortillas in the food stalls at the Chichicastenango market.

Some scruffy American ex-pats recommended a place in San Pedro for its variety of traditional Mayan cuisine.  We ordered chicken and squash in a green herbal sauce to share.  The dish arrived as a stew, the green liquid was still boiling when the bowl was set down.  I tasted lots of cilantro, though we weren't sure what else.  It wasn't our favorite, but it was definitely unique.

One of my favorite meals was a late lunch at a small place in Flores (after a long morning hiking at Tikal).  Mohit liked his banana-pineapple-papaya smoothie so much he drained it in a few long slurps.  My shrimp enchiladas were served with amazingly fresh guacamole (rivaled only by the guac Mohit was served with grilled chicken from a late-night street vendor in San Pedro).  Since it was a rainy afternoon, we lingered for awhile reading the cafe's books about Mayan history and ordered a dessert of crepes with banana, papaya, and chocolate.  The crepes were spongy and thick, different from the paper-thin crepes we're used to.

My only difficulty with the food is that vegetables are hard to come by.  The only veggies we can find (other than black beans and tomato garnishes) are usually on tourist menus and not at traditional Guatemalan places.  Still, the freshness of the produce, which is all grown locally and doesn't travel far to make it on your plate, makes everything yummy.  One night we had the most delicious appetizer of grilled eggplant served with a soft salty cheese similar to feta. Mmmmm.  I also ordered a "veggie burger" for dinner one night and was pleasantly surprised when a huge sandwich with layer upon layer of grilled spiced squash, potato, carrot, eggplant, and pepper was brought to the table.

Our next stop is Tokyo, it's hard to believe we'll be there 2 days from now!  We're both looking forward to sushi and noodles...


  1. I love following your blog. It makes me want to go on a world tour:). Miss you guys! Be safe...will keep following you around the world.

  2. I'm travelling to Gautemala next week, but I'm a little worried because I'm a vegetarian.

    I heard that the refried bean is cooked in lard and that the central consensus of food is on the salty side. So are whole beans available in restaurants and what other suggestions do you have? Thanks!!