Guatemalan food

By Maangchi

Guatemala is known as a country of corn and their staple foods are corn, tomatoes, peppers, beans,  tomatillos, sweet potato, and squash. You can hear the clapping sound of women making tortillas in every corner of town. They take some dough and rub it to make a ball between their palms and spread it by tapping with both hands until the shape becomes a circle. The tapping sounds like clapping. I imitated what they were doing when I passed their shop. The girls always gave me big smile.

These are the foods I tasted:


cornI got this steamed  corn in the Chichicastenango market, the biggest and oldest market in Central America. The lady in the background is the seller. As you see in the photo, the each ear of corn was like a jewel! It was very tasty.

AntiguaearthenwaremealFrijoles negros volteados: blackbean paste (it’s not the black bean paste for Korean jjajangmyun!) on the left, and a bowl of hilachas (it’s made of cooked and shredded beef in tomato sauce). I love it. It’s not spicy at all, kinda bland.

AntiguarestaurantA famous restaurant that sells their traditional local food in Antigua. They keep the soup warm in earthenware jars. You can choose one of the soup and 3 more side dishes. They took the dish I chose to a table inside of the restaurant. Even though I could not understand any of Spanish language, I got what I wanted.  : )  Body language is powerful!

cacaotea1This tea is made with fresh cacao beans, the main ingredient of chocolate making. I love it.

chicken-and-riceBBQ chicken, rice, and blackbean paste! The chicken was surprisingly tasty!

chuchitoChuchito, steamed ground corn with a chunk of meat in sauce, beautifully wrapped in corn husk, got my attention a lot during my trip. I learned how to make it. I have an idea of using this method in Korean cuisine.

cobanfoodMayan special food. The mixed greenish vegetable dish was a little bitter, but very good!

curryAn Indian restaurant in San Pedro served good curry rice. After finishing the 2 big bowls of food, I had to carry my stomach separately by grabbing it with both hands. ; )

dessertBeautiful, but too sweet dessert!

egg1I bought precious eggs twice that came from Guatemalan free range chickens! I boiled them with my electric kettle and enjoyed it! As you see the egg yolk, the taste was totally different from the taste of usual hard boiled eggs. The egg yolk was almost orange color and the taste was thick and a little chewy. I felt like I was eating rice cake! : ) It was a good decision to take my small electric kettle during this trip so that I could taste their eggs and beans.

fruitsI got these tropical fruits: blackberries, rambutan, and jokotes in the market in Antigua. It was the first time for me to taste jokotes. It has one large seed inside, but the flavor was so good. It reminds me of mango flavor. I bought the fruits a couple of times during my trip. Delicious!

nachoI ordered this  in a famous restaurant a day before I left. The name of this food is just nachos, but you can see this could be a heavy meal. Big chunks of grilled chicken breast on top, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, black bean paste, and more vegetables! I could not finish it.

palleaI was lucky to taste this real authentic Spanish paella made by a spanish chef Miguel running a restaurant in San Pedro. To eat this, I had to reserve one day before. It was very good! It reminded me of kimchi bokkeumbap! : )

picanteThey called this “picante“. This simple salad tasted like not yet fermented kimchi. The ingredients look very simple: shredded cabbage, chili peppers, and carrot. The chili pepper gives this spiciness. I did not miss kimchi during my trip because their “picante” helped!

picante1This mixed chili powder was served in a restaurant, Coban. The waiter called it “picante”!

SanpedrofirstmealI was hungry when I arrived San Pedro. The first food that I tasted is this. In the rice, lots of cooked broccoli was hidden that made me surprised. I loved it!

simplebreakfastThis breakfast in Guatemala city was ok. The pan fried banana was good.

soupVegetable soup.

squidFried squid (calamara a la Romana) in French cafe, Antigua. I had this with coffee as breakfast. ; )

streetfoodThis pancake that looks like korean hotteok is sold everywhere on the street in Guatemala. Unfortunately I did not have chance to taste it. It’s served with some salsa sauce.

tacoThe brand name of beer Gallo must be big in Guatemala. I saw their advertisement everywhere. I love the taste!  Crispy shell taco, it was awesome !

totilla-and-beansI got this crispy tortilla and the black bean paste in the market in Antigua. Spread the paste on the totilla and put it in your mouth. : )

turkeyGuatemalan special food kak’ik, turkey soup-stew made with a variety of spices. The turkey was chewy but not that tough. Loved it. The orange earthenware bowl and plate was beautiful. So guess what I did?
hmm, anyone guesses I stole it? no way! I bought them and brought home in my carry on bag. : )

totillawrapJust like Korean lettuce wrap, you can wrap any edible food in tortilla.




  1. Anonymous
    Posted December 20th, 2009 at 7:00 am | # |

    wonderful sharing … thanks !

  2. Harry
    Posted December 16th, 2009 at 5:39 pm | # |

    wow the food looks amazing
    picante means spicy :P|en|picante
    i recognized it because it looks like french piquante .. and two different foods but both look spicy :P

  3. Pure_Hapa Redondo Beach, California joined 8/09
    Posted December 11th, 2009 at 7:59 pm | # |

    Whenever I go somewhere new, I want to eat all the local food too! Thanks for sharing, Maangchi!

  4. deborah Toronto, ON joined 4/09
    Posted December 4th, 2009 at 10:23 am | # |

    that looks delicious!!!! i am so jealous of all your food adventure in guatamala :)

  5. Zoe
    Posted December 4th, 2009 at 7:47 am | # |

    Wow. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful food during your vacation. I agreed with everyone. The color of the food are so colorful and vibrant. I just love to try local food when I travel to another country. Did you enjoy the trip? :-)

    Ko-mo-si-mida oni :-)


  6. Libelle
    Posted December 4th, 2009 at 3:42 am | # |

    Oh all the food looks so delicious! Looks like you got a lot of ideas while you were there and thoroughly enjoyed the food. The colours of Guatamala look so vibrant! Thanks so much for bringing us along on your trip!

  7. tina sappington
    Posted December 4th, 2009 at 12:51 am | # |

    Loved the pics and stories! Thanks you so much for sharing your trip!

  8. James Louisiana joined 6/09
    Posted December 3rd, 2009 at 11:00 pm | # |

    WOW! Such great looking food.

  9. Violin123
    Posted December 3rd, 2009 at 10:58 pm | # |

    Wow, those foods are looking so good and colors are so vibrant. I enjoyed looking at these food photos. Thanks for sharing Maangchi! I have a question. How was that mustard color vegetable soup taste like?

  10. Kerri
    Posted December 3rd, 2009 at 9:34 pm | # |


    The food is so colorful! And it looks so fresh. You’re making me so hungry, and I don’t even really like Hispanic food! It looks like you ate their black bean paste with every meal. Oh, and you got to try real authentic paella. Goodness, I’m jealous. I’m glad you had such a good time! (And took such lovely pictures of the food!)

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