Top 10 Mouth-Watering Traditional Guatemalan Food You Must Try

Have you ever tried traditional Guatemalan cuisine?

Food is one of the most important expressions of culture and identity, and nowhere is this more true than in Guatemala. Guatemala is home to a cuisine that is as distinctive and vivid as the nation itself, thanks to its long history and rich cultural legacy. Traditional Guatemalan cuisine offers a feast for the senses, from the hearty and fragrant stews of the highlands to the hot and sour dishes of the coast.

This post will take you on a culinary journey through the flavors of Guatemala, exploring the diverse and delicious traditional dishes that make up this vibrant cuisine.

Traditional Guatemalan Food

What are the must-try traditional dishes in Guatemala?

Traditional Guatemalan food is a delicious blend of Spanish, Mayan and Aztec flavors. There are many traditional Guatemalan foods that you must try if you want to experience the real Guatemalan food culture. In this blog post, we will list the Top Ten most popular Guatemalan dishes that you can find in restaurants throughout the country. From a full meal to sweet desserts, Guatemalan cuisine has something for everyone. So read on and start planning your culinary adventure in Guatemala!


Perhaps the best-known Guatemalan traditional food is Pepian. This Guatemalan national dish is a thick soup made with roasted spices, meat and rice in a tomato-based sauce. It’s one of the country’s national dishes. This famous Guatemalan recipe usually consists of turkey or chicken stewed in this flavorful soup, but shredded beef or pork can also be used. The dish is traditionally served with corn tortillas and a side of black beans. Pepian can be spicy, but the level of heat can be adjusted to taste. If you’re ever in Guatemala, be sure to try this delicious national dish!


Another of the most popular indigenous foods is Kak’ik, a spicy stew comprised of turkey meat, garlic, onions, fresh cilantro, chili peppers and other spices. It’s commonly eaten with rice and corn tortillas and often considered to be another Guatemala national dish. Traditional Guatemalan foods are unique and delicious, and Kak’ik is a perfect example of the variety of flavors that can be found in Guatemalan cuisine.

Jocón de Pollo

Guatemala is a country with a rich and vibrant culture, and this is reflected in a traditional meal called Jocón de Pollo. This dish is made with chicken, tomatoes, peppers and a special Guatemala chili pepper paste. The dish is usually served with rice and beans, and it is a favorite among both locals and tourists. Jocón de Pollo is a great example of traditional Guatemalan food, and it is one that you should have if you are ever in Guatemala.


Hilachas is another one of the Mayan traditional dishes usually made with spicy shredded beef, but chicken or pork can also be used. The chopped meat is cooked in a tomato sauce until it is tender and then shredded. Hilachas is typically served with rice and corn masa (corn dough) tortillas, but can also be eaten with baked potatoes, mashed potato or on its own. This dish is popular among Guatemalans and is often served on special occasions.

Elote Loco

Traditional Guatemalan food has its roots in Mesoamerican cuisine, which is characterized by the use of indigenous ingredients, such as corn, beans and chili peppers. Elote Loco is a perfect example of this culinary tradition. Elote Loco, or grilled corn cobs, is simple and popular street food to make and can be easily customized to taste. It is typically served with a side of pico de gallo or guacamole but can also be slathered in ketchup, mayonnaise, sour cream and/or cheese. Elote Loco is very affordable street food and a delicious way to enjoy traditional Guatemalan food.

Guatemalan Tamales

One of the more common Guatemalan dishes is tamales. This staple food is made of corn dough that is stuffed with various fillings, then wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and steamed.

Guatemala is not the only country where tamales are popular; they are also eaten throughout Latin America in Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. However, each country has its own unique way of making and serving tamales.

In Guatemala, they can be served with various sauces, such as tomato salsa, green sauce, tomato chile sauce or mole. Tamales are often served as a main dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are also popular street food found at local markets. If you ever have the chance to try Guatemalan tamales, you will not be disappointed!

Guatemalan Enchiladas

Enchiladas are another common, traditional dish that is found in Guatemala and throughout Latin America. The dish is made with corn tortillas filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables, and then covered in a sauce made from chili peppers. Sometimes a local spin is put on them, like adding green olives, bell peppers or tender potatoes.

Enchiladas are typically served with rice and beans, and they can be made with either chicken or shredded beef. Guatemalan enchiladas are a popular dish that is often served at parties and celebrations. They are also popular Guatemalan street food. Guatemalan enchiladas are a filling and satisfying dish that is sure to please everyone at the table.

Arroz con Leche

Traditional Guatemalan food for a sweet tooth is Arroz con Leche. Also known as Arroz en Leche, it is a rice pudding made with milk, sugar and cinnamon. The dish is often served as a dessert or snack, and it is popular among both children and adults.

While it is typically considered a traditional Guatemalan dish, it actually has its roots in Spain. It was introduced to Guatemala by Spanish colonists, and over time, it has been adapted to suit the local palate. Today, this traditional Guatemalan dessert is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds, making it one of the most beloved foods in Guatemala.


One of Guatemala’s most popular foods is Rellenitos, or fried plantains. Rellenitos are deep fried balls of mashed plantains, filled with fried black beans or refried beans and topped with sugar and sometimes sesame seeds. They are traditionally served as a snack or dessert, but can also be eaten for breakfast or lunch. Whether you’re looking for a delicious treat or sweet Guatemalan meal, Rellenitos are a must-try when visiting Guatemala.

Tres Leches Cake

Another popular Guatemalan dessert influenced by Spanish cuisine is Tres Leches Cake, a traditional sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk (fresh, evaporated and condensed). The cake is then topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits, making it both delicious and visually striking. While Tres Leches Cake is enjoyed throughout Guatemala, it is particularly associated with the city of Antigua, which was once the capital of the Guatemala Maya empire. As such, Tres Leches Cake represents an important part of Guatemala’s culinary heritage.

Where to Enjoy Traditional Guatemalan Food?

One of the best places to try traditional Guatemalan food is at Lake Atitlan. The lake is surrounded by organic coffee and cacao plantations while the many towns offer their own unique recipes for delicious traditional Guatemalan food. In addition, the lake itself is a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery. Since it’s only a short shuttle ride from Antigua and Guatemala City, Lake Atitlan is a must to sample Guatemalan Coffee and traditional Guatemalan food.

Eagle’s Nest Atitlan is the perfect place to enjoy traditional Guatemalan food. Not only do we include local Guatemalan coffee daily, but also provide three organic and fresh meals every night of your stay. Our kitchen changes our menu every day, offering a delicious variety ranging from traditional Guatemalan food to the best of Latin American cuisine to our renowned international-Guatemalan cuisine fusions.

When you top that with a scrumptious a la carte menu alongside breathtaking views, invigorating Yoga classes and hospitality from the heart, there’s no better way to experience traditional Guatemala food! For a full list of our menu, please visit our Cafe Page. After developing an appetite, you can easily book your stay with us. We hope to see you soon!

Written by : Kurt

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