Many ingredients make a vacation memorable, from the weather to the attractions you visit.
However, exploring the best of the local food is a great way to create a stronger bond with the destination you’re visiting, its culture, and the local people you meet.
If mouthwatering food is a priority on your upcoming trip to Guatemala, you’re spoilt for choice.
Having spent countless hours exploring this incredible country on our Guatemala tours, we’ve sampled a little (and a lot) of everything on offer.
Of course, everyone has their own preferences and requirements. Nevertheless, we have provided a range of recommendations that we think will appeal to most tastes.
Keep scrolling down to read our tips for the best foods in Guatemala.
And if you have any questions about our Central America tours in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Pepián — A Hearty and Satisfying Stew
Pepián — or pepián de pollo — is a traditional Mayan stew that is often considered Guatemala’s national dish.
People use a variety of ingredients such as chicken or beef, vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and green beans, and a blend of spices including achiote and coriander.
The stew is thickened with toasted corn tortillas, tomatoes, shredded pumpkin seeds, and toasted sesame seeds.
The result is a delicious, hearty meal with a nutty, slightly spicy flavor. Pepián is usually served with rice and tortillas.
Aside from delicious food, culture and history lovers can also take a step back in time with a visit to Guatemala’s best Mayan ruins.
These include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal National Park.
Chiles Rellenos — Flavorful Stuffed Peppers
Chiles rellenos are a staple of Guatemalan cuisine, and they are a must-try during your visit.
This dish consists of large, mild green peppers stuffed with meat, cheese, or vegetables. This mix is then battered and fried.
Chiles rellenos are typically served with tomato sauce and rice or tortillas. Expect a flavorful, slightly spicy dish that is perfect for lunch or dinner.
Tamales — A Mesoamerican Classic
Tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish made from masa (corn dough). This dough is filled with meat, vegetables, and spices, wrapped in a banana leaf, and then steamed.
In Guatemala, tamales are often served during special occasions such as Christmas and other celebrations.
There are many varieties of tamales, including tamales de elote (sweet corn tamales), tamales de pollo (chicken tamales), and tamales de frijol (bean tamales).
It’s also typical to serve them with coffee or hot chocolate for breakfast.
Are you wondering how long you should stay in Guatemala? Read our guide How Many Days Should You Spend in Guatemala? for some expert advice.
Kak’ik — A Warming Soup Ideal for Cooler Days
Kak’ik is a traditional Mayan soup that originated in the department of Quiché.
This soup is made with turkey meat, corn masa, and a blend of spices such as achiote, coriander, and oregano.
The soup is typically served with potatoes and carrots, and sometimes with rice.
Like tamales, kak’ik is usually reserved for special occasions such as weddings or other celebrations. It has a rich, savory flavor and is perfect for colder days.
Are you staying in the city of Antigua during your visit? Make the most of your time here by checking out our tips for 12 awesome day trips from Antigua, Guatemala.
Rellenitos de Plátano — The Perfect Sweet Treat!
Rellenitos de plátano is a popular Guatemalan dessert made from mashed ripe plantains. This mashed mix is then filled with black beans and fried.
The dish is typically served with powdered sugar. And like all good desserts, rellenitos de plátano is also often eaten as a snack!
This delicious treat has a sweet and savory flavor and is a great way to end a meal.
For all the information and inspiration you need before starting your adventure, read our Guatemala Travel Guide.
Our Guatemala Tours Provide an Authentic Experience
Guatemala has a rich and diverse cuisine, and these five dishes are just a small sample of what our country has to offer. There are plenty more foods to discover here!
When you join one of our tours in Guatemala, you have the perfect opportunity to try some of these delicious dishes.
For more information about adventures in Guatemala or any other Central American country, please feel free to get in touch with us.