The first thing that hits you is the size of the people, everyone is short. Grannies, cabbies, tuk tuk drivers, it’s a land of stout people adorned in vivid colors. Those colors, Mayan textiles the country is so famous for, permeate every street scene. Explosions of purple and red, interwoven with turquoise and turmeric orange. Guatemala is an onslaught. Its tiny local people create huge flavor in their food. From pumpkin seed and cinnamon-spiked pepian to slow-cooked hilaches and sizzling pots of guts known as revelcaldo, this comfort food, is a cuisine constructed from centuries of traditions not infiltrated by western shortcuts. Sure, there’s fried chicken on every corner but even the fries are cooked in chicken fat and the drumsticks were working instruments on a live animal hours before.

Guatemala feels like the type of “Mayan” food you can never find in Mexico. Very few countries offer such readily available grandma cooking on almost every block. From the mercado to the parks on the outskirts of town there are women reaching into a pile of blankets to pull out perfect tamales or empanadas or sublime tortillas.

Women are the cooks. And like all countries where women run the street food stalls and the comedores and the kitchens, the motherly love and soul and heart can’t help but end up on the plates and in the bowls in front of you.

-Reggie Milligan, Co-Founder Mantry

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