Sunday, April 4, 2010

Food Porn. Street style.



U
sually, my food porn pics are all of food placed nicely on dishes. I try to get a good angle to take the picture so as to show off the food at its best.

We ate at restaurants and we had good meals and we so-so meals. I only had one meal that no amount of money in the world would be sufficient reward to try it again.

While I did take some pictures of the dishes I ate at the restaurants, this will be a different posting because it will focus on the highlights of the street food that so tantalized us each and every day. Everywhere we went in Antigua, Chichicastenango and Panajachel, food was sold streetside. Our favorite vendors in Antigua were mainly encamped in the small park in front of Iglesia La Merced. There was a lot of variety of foods and we tried as many as we could. We went to La Merced a lot :-)

Lucky for us, the weather in Guatemala was divine when we were there - mid 70's during the day so for us, every street meal was a picnic!

Oh, how I wish I could add a *smell-o-rama* feature to this blog so you could have the full experience of the pleasures we had munching on all the foods we ate from vendors on the streets.

So, here's a photo and video scrapbook of some of the boys' and my favorite street foods.




If there was a single vendor that we would all agree was our absolute favorite, it would be this lady. Her specialty was grilled meats and sausages.  Oh my God!!  Just the smoky smell of the meats cooking on her grill were enough to get just drooling.

Typically, grilled meats or churrascos are served topped with a tomato salsa and guacamole and accompanied by a briny cabbage/carrot slaw, grilled scallions and two corn tortillas on the side.  Everything fits on a styrofoam plate that's about 5 inches in diameter.

The meat is either beef, pork or chicken and the sausages are either a chorizo or a longaniza.  I had never eaten a longaniza before this trip but I'm now certifiably addicted to them - the ones we had in Guatemala were slighty spicy and chockful of herbs.  So, so tasty.....*drool*.


The longaniza churrascos were especially yummy. 



























The longer I watched her cooked, the hungrier I got!

I patiently waited for my food to be cooked up.  Could she just hurry up.....I'm too greedy to be kept waiting :-)  Soon took the video and also provided the musical accompaniment :-)

This lady was our pupusa vendor.   We loved the ones filled with cheese.  The tastiest
pupusas were the ones where some of the cheese had oozed out from between
the corn tortilla halves and had gotten cooked on the grill and created edges
of crispy cheese.
Empanadas are another common street food.  In Guatemala, they're
sweet, not savory.  Common fillings were a piña (sweetened pineapple
puree), leche (milk custard with raisins) and hierba (herb mixture).
Enjoying an empanada!
This guy sold potato chips, plantain chips and something that tasted like Cheetos but
without the cheese.  We spent a few quetzales buying this snacks.
We sampled and tasted A LOT!!
Another uniquely Guatemalan snack are chuchitos. They're like tamales - corn masa
stuffed with a small bite of meat, wrapped in a dried corn  husk and steamed. 
The chuchito was served topped with a bit of tomato salsa.  This vendor
was so popular -people were buying and eating as quickly as
she could unwrap the chuchito.
Fresh fruit are a popular snack.  This mango vendor was our favorite at La Merced. 
How can you resist buying from a man with such a wonderful smile?
Soon buying churros.  Rougher in texture than their Spanish cousins, these were the most delectable immediately after being removed from the cooking oil and sprinkled with sugar.  We ate our fair share of churros.
We couldn't leave out the sweets.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE figs so we bought a couple of her sugared figs (the green things on the top shelf of her display case) to try.  Super sweet, they would have been perfect with a cup of Guatemalan coffee.
The *food court* at La Merced.
This white liquid is a typical Guatemalan drink called atol blanco.  It's boiled concoction of milk and rice served with a small spoonful of black beans and a sprinkling of chili powder.  Not bad tasting.
And yes, American fast food restaurants can be found in Antigua but who wants
Dominos when you canmunch on a super tasty cheese pupusa.
The fried chicken and French fries in Guatemala is especially scrumptious and there are plenty of streetside vendors that sell
these tasty delights.  Yum!!
This lady was selling taquitos.  They came either rolled up in a cigar shaped roll or else
with the taco simply folded in half.  As with other meat snacks, the taquitos were served
with a topping of tomato salsa and a side of cabbage/carrot slaw.  Crunchy, deep
fried food - you can't go wrong!
Ah..... we musn't forget the cookies.  He's pretending to not hear my request to buy some
but he heard me so I got my cookies :-)  These tasted like tuiles.
With the Semana Santa processions running all day and all night long, the food vendors were operating to supply hungry procession goers with food.
The food court at La Merced.
One night, Sue, my brother and I decided to skip out on having dinner at a restaurant and we hit the night *food court* at La Merced.   To say the place was P-A-C-K-E-D is an understatement.  Follow me as I try to keep up with my brother making his way through the crowd.
To our surprise, we found there some different vendors from the ones we had seen during the day.  Luckily for us, the food was just as tasty.  Here's a sampling.
These are dobladas.  They're very similar in taste to pupusas except they're folded over like turnovers.
I think these were empanadas but I can't remember.  Ate too many things to keep track. *greedy*
Fried plantains.  Always a perfect way to close out a meal.  They're especially tasty when just plucked out of the hot oil.
And last but not least, our favorite churro vendor at work.  Thanks to Soon for capturing this memory on video.

So, you can see, we ate well on the streets of Guatemala. Here's how I rated our street dining experience.
  • Price - Can't be beat.
  • Taste - Delish.
  • Atmosphere - Incomparable surroundings.  How many restaurants have you been to where you get to see views of three different volcanos AND you get to interact with the people who prepare your food.
  • Recommendation - Five out of five stars!!
The wonderful flavors, textures and food combinations of some of the things I ate were so memorable that I'm determined to try and recreate them at home.....especially the churrascos with the corn tortillas. So simple, yet so very scrumptious. Off to my neighborhood Latin mercado - must find longanizas!