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Street Food & Traditional Gastronomy in Guatemala: Like a food truck, without the truck

October 3rd 2018

It can be confusing, maybe even mysterious, but make sure you dig into some great-tasting street food during your small group adventure trip to Guatemala.

As you and your travel buddies trek through remote villages, hang out in colonial-era central squares, or pass through church plazas, you’ll see hard-working señoras dishing out delicious, traditional food (comida típica), including thick, hot drinks and sweet treats.

While some vendors hit the street pretty much every day with their rustic grills, boiling kettles, and overflowing straw baskets, their presence multiplies on holidays and special events, especially during Lent and Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Antigua Guatemala as processions and vigils take place.

  • Sound Interesting? Why not check out our 8 Day  Guate Guate” tour of the Guatemalan Highlands or contact us for ore information. 

Our street food tour guide, Juan Carlos Orellana, who also owns the Saberico restaurant in Antigua, explains that the traditional food scene has a special role during Semana Santa:

“Even the restaurants know that during Semana Santa, the locals prefer comida típica as part of the tradition. The vendors set up around parks and outside the churches to prepare and sell food. Other times of year, the locals would go to their favorite comedor (rustic diner), but during Semana Santa, they stay with comida típica from the vendors, who rent space from the church.

“The best time to find comida típica in Antigua is in the evening when churches have their velaciones (holy vigils). After the services, people stop at their favorite food stall to share a meal and maybe do a little celebrating — things often get lively! You’ll find the most vendors at two churches, San Bartolomé Becerra and La Merced. It’s so good, and there’s so much variety, that people drive from Guatemala City just to enjoy the food and atmosphere!”

Whether it’s Semana Santa, a holiday, festival, or an ordinary weekend or weekday, here’s the rundown from Juan Carlos on the most common street food items:

MAIN DISHES

  • Chiles rellenos: Peppers (bell or jalapeño) filled with a mix of chopped meat, green beans, carrots, onions, and spices, which is then coated in egg batter and fried.
  • Chuchitos: Corn dough filled with beef or chicken, which has been cooked in tomato sauce, and then wrapped in cornhusks and steamed. (Guatemala’s version of Mexican tamales.)
  • Tostadas: Flat, toasted corn tortillas layered with guacamole, black beans and tomato sauce, with cheese and parsley sprinkled on top.
  • Enchiladas: Flat, toasted corn tortillas topped with lettuce, chopped meat, pickled beets and other vegetables, tomato and chili sauce, and slices of onions and hard-boiled egg.
  • Tacos:Soft corn tortillas that are stuffed with pork, beef, chicken, or vegetables, and then rolled up and fried.
  • Elotes locos: Boiled corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise and sprinkled with cheese, usually with a few squirts of mustard and ketchup on top.
  • Dobladas: Soft corn tortillas filled with beef, chicken, cheese, or vegetables, and then folded, fried, and sprinkled with cheese.
  • Atol:A hot, dense drink (often thick like soup) made of one primary flavor: rice, corn (meal or whole kernel), plantain, milk, oatmeal, chocolate, guava, etc.

SWEET TREATS

  • Mole de platano: Fried plantains covered with a sweet mole sauce infused with chocolate.
  • Chupetes: Small hard candies in triangular shapes (think lollipops).
  • Empanada de manjar: A sweet turnover with milk custard inside.
  • Rellenitos: Plantain dough with black-bean stuffing, and then fried and sprinkled with sugar.
  • Algodones: Cotton candy. It’s a traditional favorite here, too!

For more information on Guatemala check out our articles on the great festivals for Semana Santa (Easter) and Guatemala’s unique Day of the Dead Kite Festival.  Also find out about Inspirit’s unique Uaxactun eco community experience in the northern jungles of Guatemala within the Maya Archaeology complex and community at Uaxactun – something really not to be missed and is included in our “Guatemala Incredible” package and our “Guatemala Total” vacation.

  • If you are interested in trips to Guatemala why not take a closer look at our itineraries such as our 8 day “Guate Guate” vacation package covering the Maya temples of the rainforest and Semuc Champey. Our 8 day”Guatemala Incredible” trip which  focuses on the Maya highlands with Antigua and Lake Atitlan. Put together these make up our 15 day “Guatemala Total” package.
  • Check out all of our trips here.
  • If you are looking for more luxury, private, tailor-made trips to Guatemala check out our sister company Viaventure.
  • Culinary
  • Culture & History
  • Guate Guate
  • Guatemala
  • Guatemala Increible
  • Guatemala Total
  • Magia Latina
  • Responsible Travel

October 3rd 2018

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  • Culinary
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