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Favorite Foods in Guatemala

Guatemala is a small country full of surprises. In this article, one of our participants, Artis H., in a Spanish program in Antigua, Guatemala tells us about the interesting (and delicious!) culinary choices available there. Click for information on AmeriSpan’s programs in Guatemala.

As I write this article, I'm alternately typing and munching on handfuls of cashew nuts.  I bought them in Antigua's central market only a few hours ago, somehow squeezing in time between lunch and my afternoon snack. Considering that I've been eating tortillas by the truckload, it's hard to imagine my stomach can handle much more. But who am I kidding? This is Guatemala. 
In a country where gordo (fat) is not considered an insult and gordita is a term of endearment, people are serious about their food. On the streets of Antigua, food is available on every corner, where vendors sell bags of sliced mangos and local women in colorful skirts sell baskets of warm corn tortillas.  This is the season for tropical fruit, and baskets filled with papayas and pineapples crowd the aisles. 
A tasting trip around Guatemala yields delicious local specialties (the savory and spicy stewed pepion, husk-wrapped chuchitos made from corn meal) but no dish is as popular as fried chicken and French fries. Locals love the fast-food feel of  Pollo Campero, a chain restaurant with a numbered menu.  For braver souls (with hardier stomachs) the market, too, offers many fried chicken and French fry options.

Of course, no meal in Guatemala is complete without a sweet ending. For that, the country has panderias and dulcerias, where cakes and sweets of every kind are available.  In Antigua, there are countless ice cream shops and men who ply the streets with their wheeled carts, ringing small hand bells.  Even for the brief bus trip to neighboring Jocotenango, ice cream vendors board the bus to sell dripping cones of strawberry ice cream for a single Quetzal each. 

Guatemala is also known for its coffee.  Guatemalan coffee is ranked third in the world for flavor, and local restaurants serve exceptional brews.  At the Café de Condessa, a favorite among visitors, the menu features a wide choice of sweets to go with your cappuccino.  Recently, I tried the banana cake layered with almonds and butter cream frosting.  It was sinful, but much deserved after a day of heavy studying (and snacking).

By: AmeriSpan Staff

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