Guatemalan cuisine

Guatemalan cuisine . It is based on Mayan cuisine and is characterized by having corn , chilies and beans as the basis of its ingredients . Corn is consumed a lot in the form of an omelette and is served hot and can be the wrapper for certain foods. The beans or black beans are consumed in almost every meal and can be served boiled, fried or mashed.


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  • 1 Origin
  • 2 Gastronomy by departments
    • 1 Western Region
    • 2 Northern Region
    • 3 Eastern Region
    • 4 Central Region
    • 5 South Region
  • 3 Sources


The arrival of the Spanish in Guatemala in the 16th century marked the birth of a centuries-old mestizo culinary tradition, a product of the mixture of the eating habits of the indigenous descendants of the different Mayan ethnic groups and the gastronomy of Spain . This mixture makes some dishes of Guatemalan gastronomy closely resemble some of Mexican gastronomy, especially with southern Mexico., independent of the political borders product of the independence and subsequent formation of the current countries (Mexico and Guatemala) culturally it was the same zone of cultural influence, they are and will continue to be the same: Mesoamericanos. Due to the geographical situation, they are the cradle of many of the ingredients that enrich these gastronomies, being Spain who made them known to Europe and then to the world, such is the case of chocolate , avocado , diversity of chili peppers, vanilla , tomato .

Guatemalan gastronomy has corn as one of its bases, with a wide variety of dishes in which the use of this grass is essential, or the tomato used in the preparation of various errands and chirmoles. The chili is rather of moderate use, being used more in some cultural regions than in others, although some chilies are indispensable for certain recipes such as the guaque, raisin, sweet, and zambo chili. Beans are another essential ingredient, the most consumed is black beans that are part of the daily diet in Guatemalan households, but red beans and white beans are also consumed, as well as some varieties of pinto beans called piloyes.

The seeds are not far behind in their gastronomic contribution, such as the ayote nugget or the sesame seed that are used to thicken and season various dishes, or the cocoa beans that are also used in ceremonial recipes of the Mayan peoples. Without neglecting the aromatic herbs that are used for the seasoning of many dishes, such is the case of parsley , coriander , peppermint leaf or samat. The northeastern Guatemalan, specifically the department of Izabal, also has the influence of the Garifuna culture, descendants of African slaves, who mostly inhabit that region of the country and whose gastronomy mixes ingredients from the Caribbean., such as bananas, coconut , plantain , with the fruits of the sea and in which the African touch cannot be missing.

Gastronomy by departments

Guatemalan gastronomy is as rich and varied as its people. Each place has its own dishes and variants, but it is possible to group traditional food into five major regions. There are five major geographic regions: north, center, south, east, and west, which are home to diverse peoples and culinary traditions.

Western region

The large number of people of indigenous ethnic groups that is concentrated in the western region of the country makes its gastronomy very varied. In it, errands predominate, which are sauces in which the ingredients of each dish are drowned. To prepare the errands, the components of the sauce, which generally includes tomato or miltomate, are ground in stones and cooked in clay pots. Thus, in Quetzaltenango, the pepián has become famous, with a red message, in Huehuetenango the jocón, which is green, in Totonicapán the quilín, which is prepared with pig meat, and in Sololá the skate, made with fish from the lake. The variety of tamales that are cooked in the region, rice is also famous and chambray, to name a few, and the atoles, such as those of chilab and joch.

Northern Region

The vast northern region encompasses the Verapaces, Izabal, Quiché and Petén. Two large linguistic groups predominate, the K’iche’es and the Q’eqchi’es. Among the Q’eqchi’es, the traditional dish known as kaq ik stands out, which is a broth prepared from chunto, chompipe or turkey , typical of the region, which is served in a bowl and with a piece of meat from the bird, generally more voluminous than the utensil. This gives a characteristic touch to the food, as it stands out from the gadget in a funny and striking way. Of the k’iche ‘flavor, the preparation of meals seasoned with spices and chili stands out .

On the Atlantic coast there is an oasis of flavor that has different roots, it is the one that constitutes the Garifuna community. Their ancestors are of African origin, who, being forced to leave their lands to become slaves, were taken to an island, where they learned Spanish and Arawako, to settle permanently on the coasts of Honduras , Belize and Guatemala . With such a haphazard past, its people inherited certain culinary traditions, such as casabe ereba, a kind of biscuit made with cassava , tapau or tapado, a soup made from coconut milk with seafood and plantains, and ‘rice and beans ‘which is rice withbean prepared with coconut oil, says Déleon. While in the extensive department of Petén, people have merged elements of the Mayan Itza’es, Yucatecan contributions and Mexican elements, making bollos or tamales, empanadas stand out among their meals of xiquinché, jocotes and tanned nances.

Eastern Region

The inhabitants of the eastern region have developed their own style to pamper the palate. In San Luis Jilotepeque, Jalapa, they are famous: the chicken with cream and loroco, the chicken broth with güisquil guides, criadillas with cream, quesadillas and chiquiadores.

In the municipality of Esquipulas the traditional sweet shop, called Cytoplasty, stands out and is enjoyed by all pilgrims who visit the colonial sanctuary. As a livestock region, various meat-based products are prepared, such as pork rinds, which are very popular in Chiquimula and Zacapa.

Central Region

Guatemalan traditional sweet

In the central region of the country the capital city predominates due to its number of inhabitants, with culinary tastes for mestizo dishes born from pre-Hispanic heritage in colonial kitchens, with contributions brought in by the Castilians. From that account, in Antigua Guatemala they are made many foods and sweets of Spanish origin such as sandwiches, nuégados, marzipans, cocadas and canillas de leche. Not far away, in San Martín Jilotepeque the subanique is famous, an errand in which chicken and pork meat are mixed.

Southern region

Another sensory panorama is presented in the southern part of the country. In Escuintla, for example, various seafood is used , and they prepare seafood broth and various fish stews.In places like Santa Rosa, where there is a long tradition of livestock farming, meat is highly appreciated, as well as plants typical of the region and climate: loroco, chipilín, izote flower, flower Madre Cacao, Macuy and pacayas.Entre meals are: broth leg, braised rabbit and duck and black pudding or morongas. sweets such as milkshake (a kind of marshmallow), ayote prepared in a special way, salpor dishes (a variety of corn ), and women’s bread (cake) are made.


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