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10 Best Guatemalan Traditional Dishes To Try [Best Local Food in Guatemala]

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor September 20th, 2021 Posted in Central America Travel Blog, Restaurant and Recipes, Travel Blog No comments

To have some of the best Latin American cuisines, then you should try the local food in Guatemala that will satisfy your tummy!

Guatemala has a long history. It was inhabited by the Mayans in 18.000 BC, colonialism in the 16th century, the civil war in the late 20th century, to Guatemala we know now. More than half the population of Guatemala are Ladino and the rest are Caucasian and African.

Best Local Food in Guatemala
Jeison Higuita

Looking at history, it is reasonable that the local food in Guatemala is quite fascinating. When you have a chance to visit Guatemala, make sure to try these dishes we listed below. Here is the list of the best local food in Guatemala that is worth trying.

1. Pepian


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One of the most recommended dishes in Guatemala is Pepian. The non-living proof of the unique blend of Mayan and Spanish food is the Pepian. You can try this along with rice and tortilla. Pepian has an appearance like curry and this spicy stew is made from chicken, carrots, corn, pumpkins, potatoes, and beans. By the fact that this dish is Mayan and Colonialism inheritance, Pepian is believed to be the oldest dish in Guatemala.

Because of its popularity, you can find Pepian everywhere in Guatemala. You can even find it in the street food stalls or even in high-class restaurants.

2. Kak’ik


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Another Mayan cuisine inheritance you can find in Guatemala is Kak’ik. It is a turkey soup seasoned with coriander, chili, peppers, and achiote. You can find the original Kak’ik in the Q’eqchi tribe. They are serving the original recipe that has been generating for a hundred years. You can eat this with rice or tortillas.

3. Chiles Rellenos


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What will happen if a spicy chili pepper is filled with rice, cheese, meat, and vegetables? Covered with eggs and deep-fried, it’s producing a delicious and savory taste that will make you want to try even more. 

It usually uses pork meat as a filling. So if you’re a Muslim you have to make sure of your food before you eat it. Seasoned carrots, green peas, potatoes, and onions are the most general vegetable that they use as a filling. Chiles Rellenos is usually enjoyed along with tortilla and tomato sauce.

4. Pupusas

Best Local Food in Guatemala
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Pancake tortilla. This name may be too unfamiliar for you. But in Guatemala, you can find this thick tortilla that looks like a pancake. It’s named Pupusas. You can find this dish everywhere, most places serve Pupusas on their menu. Although it was originally invented in El-Salvador, Guatemalan loves Pupusas and modified the recipe so we can enjoy Guatemalan Pupusas as it is today.

Pupusas can be filled with beans, cheese, and pork meat then fried until the outside becomes crunchy and mild in the inside. You can eat this along with salsa and fresh cabbage.

5. Tostada


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When you want to eat enchiladas and tacos at the same time, Tostada is the answer. This is a popular street food. It is made from taco and topped with various ingredients, such as salsa, chicken, beef, or salad. You can ask the vendor to make it suit your preference.

6. Empanadas

Best Local Food in Guatemala
Photo by Natalia Wilson CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s always satisfying to eat a snack while traveling or during breakfast. Empanadas are the best choice for these activities. It has a crunchy and savory shell, and soft, mild, fresh filling. Shaped as half-moon, Empanadas shells are made from dough then filled with vegetables before frying it. 

If you’re a vegetarian, then Guatemalan Empanadas are perfect for you. Its fillings contain various vegetables such as spinach or potatoes. They serve this with guacamoles, tomatoes, green onion, and coriander leaves. This dish is a relic from north Spain and widely known in Latin American countries.

7. Tapado


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Located between the Pacific ocean and a small part of the Caribbean bay, this made Guatemala popular with seafood, especially in the Caribbean coast area. Here, you can find Tapado, a traditional seafood stew that is worth to try. The stock of the stew is consists of coconut milk and seasoned with authentic Caribbean spices. They usually serve this with mashed plantain. 

8. Rellenitos

Best Local Food in Guatemala
Photo by Josué Goge CC BY 2.0

Sweet food always has a way to attract people. One of the sweet snacks from Guatemala is Rellenitos. This dish is made from mashed ripe banana, boiled beans, sugar, and cinnamon. The dough then fried in the oil until it has a golden color and then served with sprinkled refined sugar.

9. Atol


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If you want to have a quick energy boost in the morning, maybe you can try Atol. It is not a drink since it’s thicker than a regular drink, but it’s also not a meal since it’s too watery for a meal. Atol is a creamy liquid commonly made with sweetcorn.

There are different types of Atol, such as; Atol Blanco, Atol de Elote, Atol de Platano, Atol de Habas, Atol de Arroz, and Atol de Arroz con chocolate.

10. Licuados


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A smoothie-like drink to accompany you before starting your day. Licuados is a seasoned fruit in Guatemala. It blends with water and served whenever you want to. You can’t say that Licuados are smoothies since it’s not using milk as an ingredient.

When you want to have a taste of this drink, you have to remind the vendor on how much sugar you want to take in. They usually add tons of sugar if you will not remind them. 

We can find a lot of different types of Latin American and Caribbean cuisine in Guatemala. It makes you have a lot of options for your desired dishes. So, what are the local food in Guatemala that make you want to try the most? Share your thoughts!

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog is a travel blog and website. We quickly grew into a valuable source of inspiring travel stories, advice, itineraries and travel guides, with the aim of demonstrating how to live a sustainable life of travel, whilst living your own definition of success. If you'd like to contribute and write a guest post, contact us at [email protected]