The most important tip I can give you on Guatemala local food, and the only one that will make you elevate from being a tourist to becoming a real traveler immersed in the local culture, is “Stay away from McDonalds“. When visiting Guatemala, there is awesome local food to try. Head to the local eateries too, and go where the locals go. For me, the food, wine and and even the water is part of the travel experience.
What to Eat in
Typical food: Kaq Ik Pepián Jocom Quichom Tortillas and tortillas de harina. Maize tortillas are served with most meals. Frijoles negros – stewed black beans Caldos – beef broths Tamales steam-cooked corn meal, with a variety of fillings, wrapped in banana leaves Rice ‘n beans (Garifunafood in Puerto Barrios) Tapado, ceviche and other fishmeals Churrascos A typical breakfast is Frijoles, eggs and bread with coffee of course. The type of food really depends on how much you want to spend and what type of place you want to spend it at.
You can get almost any type of food at the main tourist locations. In the aldeas (small towns) your choices are mostly limited to those items listed above. Most Guatemalan food differs from Mexican food in that it is a lot less spicy, and chillies are generally served in a separate dish from the main course to be added as desired, rather than included in the food.
However, as one gets closer to Mexico, the food does get more spicy. There exist “comedores” throughout the country. A comedore is a small house-restaurant. Normally, a family will set up 3-4 tables in a portion of their household and this well act as a makeshift restaurant. Comedores are known for providing a cheap lunch-sized portion of food. They will offer one or two options to choose from. This is not a real restaurant, there will not be a bathroom, menu, or real server; however, eating in these locations can provide one of the most efficient ways to experience Guatemalan culture first hand.
What to Drink in Guatemala
Atole de Elote is a popular warm corn drink. This sweet concoction must be drunk while warm; when cold, it becomes much too dense. Popular Guatemalan beers are Gallo (lager, by far the most popular with Guatemalans), Victoria, Brahva (a light pilsner style), Moza (dark bock), Cabro, Monte Carlo (premium), and Dorada. Don’t be surprised if you get salt and lemon with your beer.
It’s a custom to put some salt on the toes of the bottle, and screw out the lemon in the beer. Sometimes it is mixed with V8 vegetable juice, and the concoction is called michelada. Guatemala produces a number of rums, including the superb Ron Zacapa Centenario which is aged up to 30 years. Tequila is a very popular drink in Guatemala. Guatemalans usually dress down when they go out. If you order a bottled drink, you will normally get a tissue to clean the bottle. Coca-Cola and Pepsi-type products are available, plus many from local soft drink manufacturers.
Other local foods, or drinks that you recommend? Please add and comment.