Guatemalan street food

From our December visit to Tikal ….

Outside the Tikal ruins park were several small food vendors. They were set up in the shade off the parking lot, each with a few plastic tables, coolers, and an antique-looking press of some kind that turned out to be a shaved ice machine.

We decided to buy lunch from a lady with plastic bins of food: chile relleno, fried chicken, beans, rice, and pacaya. Not being meat eaters, I inquired as to whether the chile relleno were “sin carne,” but also that had a little pollo in them. So we each ordered a pacaya (which she assured me was “vegetariano”) with rice and beans. I got a bottled water and Tim had a lemonade soda. She dished up our food from her Tupperware-style bins onto styrofoam trays and carried them over to a table covered with a flowered plastic table cloth, along with some homemade tortillas.

We dug in. I had no idea what a pacaya was, but it looked kind of like a chile relleno, covered with an egg batter and fried. I had difficulty cutting it with my fork but when I finally made it through the skin or peel, it looked an awful lot like worms or strands of narrow corn cobs. Hm. Tasted kind of like corn as well and I attacked with my plastic fork and ate it.

Once I had access to Wikipedia, I discovered that pacaya is the undeveloped male parts of a certain type of palm tree. Here’s to eating unkknown stuff! Buen provecho!IMG_0615.JPG

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