Culinary Journey through Antigua, Guatemala's Food Capital

Culinary Journey through Antigua, Guatemala’s Food Capital

Last Updated on January 9, 2024

Looking for a culinary journey through Antigua? Unveiling the flavors of traditional Guatemalan foods is high on the list of many travelers and tourists looking to immerse themselves further into the rich history and culture that this country’s food has to offer. Travelers can bask in the rich heritage with a delightful street food tour, where every bite transports them back in time to the roots of the dish. 

Guatemala is known for its rich history, deep cultural roots and passion for cuisine. This is especially noticed with certain dishes that are said to already be hundreds of years in the making, with little to no changes being made to the original recipe. 

Take a Trip Down Cuisine Lane

Many countries are known for their adventurous cuisine, which includes many altered and constantly modernized dishes. With new pizza toppings being found in Italy daily or a seasonal change to the classic NY bagel in New York. However, Guatemala prides itself on keeping certain dishes to their traditional origins and consistently making the same delicious meals that are passed down from generation to generation. 

Start your culinary journey walking through one of the many street food markets. Street food vendors are popular in Antigua, with many locals and tourists stopping by to pick up a quick and divine meal. Get yourself a starter with the ‘Elote Loco’ which is a deep-fried corn on the cob smothered in sauces such as mayonnaise, mustard, cream cheese and chili. It’s a great vegetable breakfast that is both warm and spicy, to kick off the day right. Alternatively, if you prefer something lighter, go for a typical Guatemalan fruit, the Carambala, which is also known as a star fruit due to its shape. A light and quick way to get breakfast done. 

Moving On to Something More Substantial

After a morning spent looking around Antigua, through the city roads or after a hike up one of the famous surrounding mountains, you can eat something a bit more hearty. As this is a very hot country, especially during the months between February and April, many locals eat their biggest meal at lunch. The classic Antiguan dish to go for is ‘Pepián’ which is like a curry and a stew all at once, often with big and soft chunks of meats and vegetables in a delicious savory sauce. Paired with traditional corn tortillas or rice, it makes for the most satisfying and heart-warming meals. Thereafter, you are probably going to take a small ‘siesta’, to make room for a lighter yet equally delicious dinner. 

One of the best things about traditional Antiguan foods is that there are big main dishes but also lovely finger foods, such as ‘tamales’ and ’empanadas’. These foods are famous around Central America too and have become deeply rooted in the cuisine of the area. A tamale is made out of a corn outer that is filled with either meats, vegetables or cheeses. An empanada is a bread or puff pastry-like turnover, that is either baked or deep-friend and is often filled with a combination of meats and vegetables. If you get one of each, you are set for dinner. 

A Sweet Tooth

Now a trip down Cuisine Lane would be incomplete without something sweet. Antigua is known for its desserts, one of which is the ‘rellenitos’, which is made from mashed-up plantains that are filled with sweet black beans and cinnamon. It is then fried and coated in sugar. A delicious, warm and crispy dessert.

Just like sweet foods, Antigua is known for its kind-hearted and helpful people. A small city that is surrounded by volcanos and mountains, they have managed to make themselves known for one more thing: their delicious cuisine. A must-travel destination for anyone looking to expand their palette.

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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