ANTIGUA, Guatemala — Upon our arrival at the very modern Guatemala City Airport, we were whisked away by our driver, Rinaldo, to the Spanish colonial town of Antigua – about an hour drive from the airport. Our guide, Daniel, told us Antigua is a UNESCO Heritage site; its buildings retain their 16th Century facades and the streets are pedestrian-challenging cobblestones. Beautiful churches can be found on almost every corner and it is a shopper’s mecca. What we found really appealing, however, are the smells and tastes of the local cuisine and Guatemalan cooking.
Daniel explained that when you eat the traditional food, part of you becomes Guatemalan – and we wholeheartedly agree. We stopped for a light lunch at a traditional restaurant on Calle de Arco in the very center of Antigua. We enjoyed a soup (Kac-iq) native to the area around Coban. In fact, it is heavily spiced by the Coban chiles, which resemble little red raisins. The soup is a turkey tomato base containing onions, parsley, and lime juice. Rice is added to make it hardier and it is often served with small tamales wrapped in plantain leaves. In addition to the soup, we enjoyed a variety of appetizers including grilled chorizo, adobado spiced chicken, and longaniza – a sausage with bell peppers and less fat than chorizo. Of course our tortillas were accompanied by guacamole, black beans and chirmol – a red salsa that is fresh and less chunky than the Mexican variety.
Here are a few pictures of lunch.
That’s Daniel, above right, holding up some Pasa and Huaque chiles.