Monday, March 9, 2009

Guatemala Gastronomy

You may have wondered how come my foodie blog didn't have much on the Guatemalan cuisine. It really boils down to being not all that impressed with my meals and because I was so much more interested in other aspects of my trip.

I am happy, though, that our food costs were kept to a minimum. Most of the time we ate at comedors. These locals kitchens usually looked similar to the one above. Very simple. So simple, in fact, that comedors don't really have menus. They just focus on one thing a day. You go in and ask what they have and they will say, "today is chicken" or "today is beef". Then there are the staples that you get with all meals, corn tortillas, rice, and black beans. You might get lucky and get a veggie that day or a side of guacamole. Ronnie always ordered eggs, because he is a vegetarian. These simple meals are simply cheap. Breakfast would be $1 and the meat meal (lunch/dinner) would be $2. So we easily were eating for less than $5 a day.

Here you see two typical comedor meals. The one above was ordered by Dean for breakfast. You see the beef, beans, and cheese. The one below was a dinner beef meal at another comedor: beef, rice, guacamole. Both with the ever present tortillas.

On our last week, while at the timeshare, we ventured forth in search of seafood. In this case we went to a restaurant in town along the beach. Mari ordered the fried fish while we both ordered lobster dishes. We ordered mediums and got three halves of lobster each. Guess a large means you get four halves = two wholes. Lobsters from the warmer waters don't have claws like their cold water cousins. Both are dishes were topped with shrimp as well. The only noticeable difference between the two was that one had onions and the other did not.

The only other noteworthy meal was the fajitas that we had while watching the sun set over Lake Atitlan. My chicken fajita mixture came sizzling hot.

Other items worth mentioning but without pictures...

I loved the chocolate con leche (hot chocolate) here. They heat the milk on the stove and melt in their Guatemalan chocolate. It's similar to Mexican chocolate in that there is a bit of cinnamon and other spices. But it is really rich because they are not using a powder but are melting in pieces of chocolate.

Licuados can be found everywhere. Basically a licuado is a smoothie. You can get your blended fruit done with water, milk, or with yogurt. Tropical fruits can be blended by themselves or as mixto (mixed). Banana, papaya, mango, pineapple, watermelon and occassionally strawberry. If you are in a mercado or need it 'to go' then they pour it into a baggie and hand you a straw and you walk down the street drinking from a baggie.

If all else fails to satisfy you or if you just have a craving, there is no problem with finding hamburgers, hot dogs, and pasta.
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