A lot of you are curious about the food in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Rest assured: there is some and we are not starving. Quite the opposite actually.
First of all, food is generally cheap. Much cheaper than it was in Australia last year—I still shudder to think of these $5 muffins Down Under! Second, it’s fairly “ordinary”: you can actually recognize the ingredients and it’s not “exotic” the way Chinese food can be for instance.
So where do we eat? Sometimes in restaurants, sometimes in cheap comedores in the street. We don’t cook because most hotels don’t have a kitchen (unlike Australia, Canada or the U.S., there isn’t an extensive networks of hostels for backpackers) and because it’s not worth the hassle money-wise.
Breakfast, aka desayuno, looks more like the American breakfast than the light continental breakfast. It often includes eggs, beans, plantains (fried bananas), rice, tortilla or whatever combination of that. More gringo-ish options, such as pancakes or toasts, are often available.
Lunch, aka almuerzo, often includes the traditional “pollo, arroz y frijoles” (chicken, rice and beans). Generally speaking, chicken is the most popular kind of meat. And trust me, considering how annoying gallos (roosters) can be in the morning, you are quite happy to eat their kind. Rice and beans are very popular. Bread is replaced by tortillas, thin cornmeal pancakes, that usually come hot and in stack of three to ten.
Dinner, aka cena, features pretty much the same basic ingredient—chicken, rice and beans. We haven’t been on the coast much so far so we haven’t had a lot of seafood.
Typical dishes we have eaten so far include:
- Gorditas (in Mexico): small cornmeal pockets stuffed with bean, cheese, meat etc.
- Pupusas (in Guatemala, but it’s a Salvadorian dish): cornmeal mass stuffed with beans, cheese or really anything you want.
- Quesadillas (in Mexico): large tortillas filled with cheese, chicken, bell pepper etc.
- Guacamole (Mexico): mashed avocadoes mixed with onions and tomatoes.
As for the sweets, well, we are never far from a panadería (bakery). Delicious (and cheap!) bread include cinnamon rolls, apple turnover, sweet bread, banana and chocolate bread etc. Items are usually fairly small and local are quick to fill a tray with them! Other street delicacies include thin waffles (popular in Mexico) with Nutella, or more surprisingly cheese and chocolate (I ditched the cheese and asked for chocolate only!).
Drinks are fairly unimaginative. The big names here are Coke and Pepsi, usually drank in old-style glass bottles. Other soda brands are available but they are rarer. Even Diet Coke or Coke Zero (my drink of choice) are hard to find in Guatemala for instance.
Licuados or aguas de frutas (milkshakes and fruit-flavoured drinks) are also popular, especially orange and pineapple. Beer, such as Gallo (Guatemala) and Belikin (Belize) is wildly available and is generally cheap but not that great—apparently (I’m not a beer drinker), it does the job and that’s it.