Guatemalan foods are closely tied to the ingredients that are available in each region. They also show the traditions and beliefs of some groups of people. All of the different ethnic groups in Guatemala make different kinds of food based on their communities’ habits and traditions.
This shows that Guatemala is a multicultural country. Food is a big part of important rituals and activities that people do at different times in their lives. Each community or region has its own way of celebrating birthdays, weddings, and even funerals, and food is always a part of them.
Get ready to try some delicious Guatemalan foods that have been a part of our culture for a long time.
Kaq’ik is two Mayan words that mean “red and chilli.” It was first eaten in Alta Verapáz, which is in the central north of Guatemala (red and chili). It’s mostly turkey broth mixed with a sauce made of tomato, pumpkin seeds, sesame, chilli peppers, and chile pasa.
The sauce is also made with cilantro, pepper, onion, garlic, mint leaves, and annatto, which is a very common natural food colouring in Guatemala. It’s also served with cooked rice, which makes it taste even better.
This dish is great because it can be eaten any time of year, including holidays and family gatherings. Its ingredients are easy to find in the country, and it’s not too hard to make.
Jocón is also a broth, like Kaq’ik, but it can be made with chicken, hen, pork, or even beef. The green colour of this tasty dish comes from combining green ingredients like cilantro, green tomatoes, tomatillos, and green peppers.
In addition to the green sauce, it is made with the meat and rice that the cook chooses to give it some texture. When you go to Guatemala, look for this dish in small restaurants. It can be made at any time of year.
Fiambre is only eaten on Da de Todos los Santos (Day of the Dead) in Guatemala. It is different from the other two foods we’ve talked about so far.
It is made on November 1 as a way to remember those who have died. In small towns, most families even eat together around the graves of their loved ones. This is how they feel the most connected to them.
How to start talking about our wonderful tamales? Even though these are often eaten in Latin America, each country has its own way of making them.
Most of the time, tamales in Guatemala are salty. They are made of masa de maz (corn dough) and are filled with beef, pork, chicken, and tomato sauce.
Chuchitos are another type of salty Guatemalan food. They are also made from corn dough and have beef, chicken, or pork inside. But the way they are wrapped is very different! They have tusa around them (corncob).
You might be wondering how a tamal is different from a chuchito. It all depends on how it feels: The dough for tamales is very soft, and the tomato sauce makes it almost melt in your mouth.
Pepián is one of the “broths to die for” in Guatemala. Most of the time, it’s made with chicken, and the sauce is made from a lot of different seeds and peppers. Pumpkin seeds, sesame, and flour are carefully toasted until they are neither too dark nor too light.
The taste is stronger the darker you sear them. Some people would rather make it red, while others would rather make it brown or even black. This dish can’t be made without dried peppers. If you want a tasty pepián, you have to use chile pasa and chile guaque.
Estofado combines two of Guatemala’s most noticeable traits: it mixes a lot of different things together and it loves to have parties. I was lucky to grow up eating this one because it is native to and almost only found in Tecpán, Guatemala, which is where my mother is from.
It is a mix of pork, chicken, beef, ram, and almost every other kind of meat. Some people prefer to use ram instead of beef because it is much easier to cook and is much more tender.
They cut all the meat into small pieces and make a tomato sauce with garlic, black pepper, cloves, and oregano. This food is often served at parties in Tecpán, such as quinceaeras, weddings, and graduations.
You will love rellenitos. They are a sweet dish from Guatemala that is easy to make. First of all, they only need plantains, beans, cinnamon, sugar, and sugar. The best thing about this dessert is that it goes well with any main dish, and you can eat a lot of it without getting full.
The soft dough is made from mashed plantains, and the filling is made from blended black beans. Strangely, black beans need to be cooked with sugar instead of salt, which is what most people do. This makes the whole dessert sweet.
Shucos are a type of hot dog that uses ingredients that are common in our country. They are made with guacamole, grated cabbage, and the sausage of your choice. You can also add your usual condiments, like ketchup, mustard, or mayo.
It comes in many different kinds, like chorizo or steak. Shucos are a good choice for food when getting together with friends, and many local restaurants serve them as well.
Molletes are a traditional dessert in Guatemala during Semana Santa (Holy Week), when a lot of people go out to eat from street vendors. Torrejas is another name for them.
Small balls made of cornflour and wheat flour are fried and filled with a sweet cream made of cornflour, milk, sugar, vanilla, raisins, and chopped fruit.
We now know that Guatemalan food is colourful and presented in creative ways, and enchiladas are no exception. They are different kinds of our fried, crunchy tostadas, which are sometimes hard to eat because they have so many things on them.
It has layers of lettuce, chopped beets, grated meat, grated cheese, and chopped onions. They are definitely a flavour explosion that you can try at Guatemalan celebrations like Independence Day or the Feria de la Asunción on August 15.
As you can see, Guatemalans love very flavorful tomato sauces with specific ingredients. This is what makes hilachas so appealing. Grated, chewy beef that is dipped in a strong tomato sauce that is coloured with annatto and other common spices in Guatemala.
On top of that, they serve it with rice and chopped potatoes to make it taste and feel different. At your next family reunion, wow your friends and family by making some tasty hilachas.
Fried beans with pork
In Guatemalan food, high-protein grains like beans are a must. This unique Guatemalan main dish combines the soft texture of cooked beans with the crunchier texture of chicharrones, which are pork cracklings.
Get some fresh chicharrones and cook some beans the next time you’re in Guatemala, and you’ll become an expert on Guatemalan food.