C.America Part 3: Guatemala

Markets are often the best place to find the best local food at the best prices. We had a day in Guatemala City before heading out to Antigua so we decided to check out the central market and gnaw at the tip of the iceberg called guatemala shopping.

Once we got to the food section of the market… there were a few different choices but people seemed to be flocking towards one particular vendor so naturally we join the movement.

And I quickly find out why. I ordered buche tacos. That would be pig’s stomach. There seems to be a confusion here, as buche also comes up as pig’s esophagus when searched on the interweb. But the lady who prepared my taco said it’s stomach so… buche tacos. And they ask if I want chicharron on it…. um… yes, obviously!The tacos were delicious. Very very crunchy chicharron crumbs, in fact I think I chipped a filling biting into it. While I go at those tacos, my eyes wonder with distraction and greed. I see some other weird looking stuff and I have to try it, it’s just in my nature.

Moronga=blood sausage. I will have some please.I’m not new to blood sausage, there’s blood sausage in Korean cuisine, but I’ve never tried it in a taco form. It’s good. I’m suddently intrigued by how they prepare it. And how blood sausage is made. Challenge possibility?

I’m not the one for flavored sodas and junky sweets so I give Mikey a look when he orders a purple soda. But this purple drink turns out to be perfect for washing down all that whatever I just ate. Not to kill and forget the flavors but just to freshen the pallet. 😉

For lunch we take a short walk from the hostel to 7 Caldos, a seafood restaurant that we had spotted on the way to the hostel. It starts bucketing rain as we pick at our seafood cocktail and pitcher of michelada.

That night we get into Antigua, a colonial town about 45 minutes from G. City that was once the capital of Guatemala. It’s Saturday night and there are street food vendors at the plaza outside of the beautiful church of La Merced. We pick up some tallboys and find a cart to eat at.

First I get a tostada with guacamole spread from one cart. Then I see another lady selling chile rellenos. So I get a thing of chile relleno and carefully place it on my tostada and top with beet and cabbage slaw. That relleno was stuffed right.

The guacamole tostada seemed to be a pretty standard snack which could be easily found on the streets of Antigua. I had another one the next day but I wished I had a chile relleno to top with.

There were a ton of beautiful old churches in Antigua so one day we took the day to walk around the whole city and sight-see. After about 11 churches in, we’re feeling hungry… and as we cram in yet another church and turn the corner… jackpot! In a big plaza, a few different carts grilling meat all smokey and smelling delicious.

Mikey gets longanisa, sausage.. and I get chicken, both served with rice, beans and tortillas. They use real charcoal, as in not processed, and these meats just had the deepest smokiest flavors embedded in them. I had to get another piece of chicken, it’s worth $1.

Strangely enough, there was a Korean restaurant in Antigua. Casa Korea. Considering that we ended up going there twice in 5 days… I guess there’s a market for that business after all. The food was… actually really good and authentic. Jojo, I thought of you as I ate my Kimchi Chigae.

After a few days in Antigua, we headed northwest towards Lake Atitlan. Roads were pretty gnarly getting there since there were a bunch of mudslides from all the rain they’ve had. Our van parked at a rest stop while trying to figure out the current conditions. We ordered some breakfast.A beautiful scramble with a weird cheese wedge… but no gallo pinto in sight. I’m good.

We arrive in Panajachel, a small town on the north edge of Lake Atitlan. After a boat tour of a couple different lake towns, we freshen up and go on a mission to find the Giant’s game somewhere. Street foods can be such distractions though, especially when you’re a bit hungry.

This dude clearly knew what he was doing because that smell was no joke. Despite the initial hesitation upon seeing that giant head of a pineapple on top of the skewer of meat (why!)… I had to overcome my fears and approach the cart to get a closer look at what was being cooked up on that grill of his.

He artfully combined an array of different meats – chicken, pork and sausage – and onions and served up some delicious looking tacos.

Since this tasted really good, it qualifies as a highlight and so I’m gonna keep all these pictures although they’re fuzzy! This is their spread of taco fixings. mmm.

See how amazing these look? They were also very huge. Mikey and I each had one taco and it was enough for dinner!

The next day was the market day in Chichicastenango which is a town about 1 hour north of Panajachel. It’s kind of a must for tourist if you can catch market day which is only Thursday and Sunday. Here we found true fried chicken.

The pickled stuff in the jar… was spicy. I thought I might have overdone it but it turned out that I hadn’t (I didn’t get sick :))

All this spicy pickled stuff we’ve come across on our trip is making me want to delve into home pickling. In fact, I just ordered this book on amazon on pickling. I think we should all pickle. Challenge!

After the spicy and greasy… I needed something else. Coconut or Dragonfruit pops? Perfect. 1 dragonfruit please!

I really loved how cubical these pops were though. They stacked so nicely in the cooler. Like building blocks. This made me reminisce about the time when Jojo and I would talk about doing a gourmet popsicle cart.

Now some market shots…

In Guatemala City. Coming across this felt like a nightmare of being surrounded by a million pineapples. It was the smell.

Market in Antigua. Baskets of fresh veggies and fruits. All the ladies wear the coolest handwoven / embroidered blouses that looks like a vomit of a hundred different colors.

A drink to note: Mojito I got in Flores towards the end of Guatemala trip. It was blended, green and slushy. I liked because in a mojito you can never get that piece of mint leaf through your straw. Here, no problem.

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One Response to C.America Part 3: Guatemala

  1. troxie says:

    those thick tortillas and campo cheese make me miss guate. love your street food choices!!!

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