Foods to try when visiting Guatemala

Foods to try when visiting Guatemala | Jürg Widmer Probst Guatemala

Guatemala is a melting pot of cuisine cultures and delicious delights with Mayan, Spanish and international influences, including African, Caribbean American and Chinese. There’s even a vegetarian movement happening too.

The best places to taste authentic Guatemalan foods are the local cafes, restaurants and street vendors; this is where you will find the traditional dishes made with real passion. There are, of course, many different international eateries offering everything from pizza to fried chicken.

What’s it like to eat out in Guatemala

Guatemalan food is cheap, and certainly, in comparison to other countries found in Latin America, it is incredibly inexpensive, which is why it is such a food lovers paradise. The tourist destination in Guatemala is the places where the prices are more comparable with places like America and Europe.

As with many European countries like Spain and Italy, smaller establishments provide the best price options for those on a budget or anyone who wants to experience a local eatery for a more authentic atmosphere.

Because Guatemala neighbours Mexico, you will find a lot of similarities to the cuisine there. Enchiladas, nachos and tamales are all on the menu; the main difference you will find is the price because they are much cheaper. There are so many great Guatemalan dishes worth sampling to mention but here’s a taste of what you can expect to find.

Here’s an idea of what you can expect from the foods in Guatemala

As Guatemala is famous for its coffee, you can be certain you will enjoy a cup of Joe with your breakfast or any time you desire really.

Breakfast and Lunch

Breakfast tends to involve plenty of tropical fruits which grow on the island, such as papaya, bananas, mangoes and avocados. You can also expect to enjoy eggs, beans, tortillas, cream, oats, cheese, and plantains to help get your day off to a nutritionally balanced start.

Lunch and Dinner

The Guatemalan diet consists of proteins, carbohydrates and fats predominantly from natural sources like corn, rice, chicken, pork, beef, cheese, tortillas, and beans, so you can expect to eat well and hearty foods.

Caldos (meat stews) and Sopas (soups) are certainly the most popular foods enjoyed by the locals because they are a meal in one and very satisfying.

While Guatemalan food is well spiced as you would probably expect in a country in Central America, it doesn’t tend to be unbearably spicy, and it is possible to ask for the spice to be reduced before cooking.

Very special Guatemalan dishes to try

These dishes are the ones you’ll find in most places and are worth trying to understand the Guatemalan cuisine.

Pepián

This dish is the country’s national dish in Guatemala and is worth trying when you visit. It’s a fusion of Myan and Spanish culture and is a sort of rich stew served with corn tortillas and rice. The dish includes meats which are often chicken, pork or beef roasted in spices and cooked in a tomato sauce.

It’s rich, satisfying and delicious.

Chiles Rellenos

Another popular dish in Guatemala is the stuffed peppers which are usually stuffed with minced meat, vegetables and spices. The peppers used tend to be pimento; they cover them in egg and then deep fry them, so they’re crispy on the outside and hot and delicious on the inside.

Of course, this is another dish which you can find in Mexico, but in Guatemala, they then smother the Chiles Rellenos in the right tomato sauce or serve it in a sandwich if you buy them at a street stall. Take away food doesn’t come much more enticing than that.

Kakik

Last but not least, we have the traditional Mayan dish Kakik, a much loved dish that is regularly enjoyed in Guatemala, especially on special occasions. It’s so special that it’s considered a cultural icon by Guatemala’s Ministry of Culture.

This is a turkey stew or soup packed with fresh herbs like coriander and mint and spiced with dry-smoked chile Cobánero. Served with fresh corn tortilla, masa tamales (tamalitos) and steamed rice.