The Ultimate Guide to Guatemalan Cuisine

Guatemalan Food - Enchilada
Enjoying an Enchilada (fried tortilla topped with lettuce, beets and mixed veggies) for lunch

Strap yourself in for a magical ride through the kitchens and roadside stands of Guatemala, as I take you on a visual tour of all the (edible) things I put in my mouth on a daily basis while living here in Sololá.

Guatemalan food is economic, delicious and made up of many Latin American staples, such as rice, beans, tortillas and fried everythings.

The first few days of living in Guatemala, my diet consisted, almost entirely, of mystery- meat-filled tacos from the street carts in my neighborhood. Since then, I’ve explored the culinary space of this country a bit more and discovered a whole world of cuisine that I’ve never introduced to my tongue before.

Speaking of tongue, I tried what I think was cow tongue for the first time last week, and I will not be adding that dish to this tantalizing taste bud tour. It was the first and last time I’ll ever allow a foreign tongue that far down my throat without buying it a few drinks first.

Aside from that little menu del dia miss, here are a bunch of delectable Guatemalan dishes that you should try on your next trip.

WARNING: Do not try licking your computer screen.

The Ultimate Guide to Guatemalan Cuisine

Pastor Tacos in Panajachel, Guatemala
Pastor Tacos with Jamaica (Hibiscus tea) and Tamarindo Juice in Panajachel, Guatemala

Like many villages in Latin America, the best (and most economic) food come from the markets and street stalls across town. Sololá in particular, has a very limited number of restaurants to choose from and the supermarket doesn’t compare to the variety offered at the central market.

Guatemalan Food - Chile Rellano
The popular Chile Rellano (stuffed sweet chiles), which can be a real hit or miss, depending on where you buy them.
Guatemalan Food - Tostadas con Pollo
Tostadas (fried tortilla) topped with Chicken Salad here (or they can be topped with beans, tuna or veggies)
Guatemalan Food - Tamalito de Elote
Grabbing a Tamalito de Elote (Corn Tamale) on a walk through town
Guatemalan Food - Arroz con Leche y Pan con Pollo
Pan con Pollo (Chicken Salad Sandwich) & warm Arroz con Leche (Milk with rice) special vanilla/chocolate mix
Guatemalan Food - Chuchitos
Chuchitos - wrapped in dried maize husk, with tomato-based sauce, a tiny piece of pork or chicken and chipilí­n, a green plant with a very special flavor and aroma.
Guatemalan Food - Atol Blanco
Atol Blanco - A cornstarch-based thick hot drink/soup that is mixed with lime, salt and these crunchy bits
Guatemalan Food - Ceviche
Juan Carlos ordering some ceviche from our local ceviche cart
Guatemalan Food - Ceviche
Ceviche - Raw seafood salad (everything is fresh except the fake crab meat)
Guatemalan Drinks - Micheladas
Preparing a delightful drink called the Michelada, a Mexican bloody mary with beer instead of vodka
Guatemalan Food - Tapado
Tapado - A traditional Guatemalan fish stew popular in Livingston, Guatemala
Traditional Guatemalan Graduation Cuisine - pork and rice with tomato sauce and tamalitos
Traditional Guatemalan graduation food (guisado de res), pork and rice with tomato sauce and tamalitos
Guatemalan Food - Fiambre
A traditional Guatemalan salad called Fiambre, packed with all sorts of goodies and served on holidays
Guatemalan Food - Torta de Zanahoria
Guatemalans LOVE their sweets. Ice cream, candy and all sorts of cakes (including this little carrot cake)
Guatemalan Food - Fruit
Fresh squeezed orange juice and fruit cups can be found around every turn in Guatemala
Guatemalan Food - Fried Chicken from Pollo Campero
Pollo Campero is the bawse of slinging fried chicken and Guatemalans can't get enough fried chicken!

Okay, that’s enough, go get yourself a snack. In the meantime, here are a few more traditional Guatemalan dishes that you can hunt down on your next trip to the Mayan heartland (if there’s time).

More Guatemalan food… Tamales, Kakic, PepianCaldo de Res/Pollo, Tamales de Pache, Concon, Chicharrones, Chocobananos/Chocofrutas, Pupusa and Mole (my favorite dish on this planet)… all served of course, with corn tortillas!

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!


    1. Most definitely Christine… although, they sometimes hide some mystery meat in “veggie dishes”. Haha, they don’t always get the concept of “vegetarian” here.

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about Guatemalan food before, but it looks incredible! Those pastor tacos have my mouth watering.

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