Neighboring countries Mexico and Guatemala share a lot of things in common – but food isn’t one of them. Chapines and Mexicanos have very different ways of making your mouth water.
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No, no son chingaderas, they’re tacos guatemaltecos. They look a lot like a Mexican flautas, but these are filled with shredded beef and mashed potatoes and deep fried. Mmmmm 💦.
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Tortilla de harina, carne al pastor (carnitas, asada, pollo, fish or whatever other meat you might like), chopped onion, cilantro and drowned in salsas. Basically, what dreams are made of.
Although aso served on a crispy tortilla, las tostadas Chapines get rid of the extras and focus on on the enhancing the good stuff: frijoles refritos, salsa roja, guacamole and queso seco.
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Mexican tostadas are the bomb: between the chicken, los frijoles refritos and the sour cream and a ton of veggies, they have almost as many ingredients as a commonwealth cocktail…but we’re not one to complain.
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Chapines have a smaller, Mexican-like version of tamales called tamales de chipilín. But their real winners are the paches: a bigger tamal made with either mashed potatoes or rice instead of corn and pork. What makes them tamales? The wrapping. I mean, just look at the leaf. It’s wrap alone is enough to grab anyone’s attention.
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Mexican tamales are wrapped in corn husks and their dough is either 100% mashed up corn or a flour based dough known as masa. The ones made with masa are filled with endless possibilities like cheese and veggies, or chicken and mole, sometimes even sweet pineapple and raisins. Forget opening a box of chocolates, opening a tamal is where it’s at.
Los Chapines are big on shrimp ceviche, but what sets their recipe apart is a hint of peppermint. So fresh.
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Mexican ceviche deserves way more love. This fresh dish made with fish, sometimes shrimp, fresh tomatoes, lime juice, parsley, onions and — of course — aguacate, is perfect on hot summer days. Pair it with a michelada and this’ll become your go-to.
Chapines have their own version of dark mole. They pour it all over platanos for a sweet treat. It’s almost like a dessert that can pass as a dinner dish. Winning!
Mole Mexicano (Poblano)
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Technically speaking you can dip anything into a good mole. In Puebla, home base of mole poblano, you eat it with either chicken, sometimes with just tortillas – or you can have both with enchiladas poblanas.
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Guatemalans love deep-fried food, so their version of enchiladas look a lot more like a Mexican hardshell taco (which doesn’t really exist in Mexico). It’s filled with salsa de tomate, beef, pork and get this – it’s topped with shredded beets to make for the perfect food porn picture.
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Mexican enchiladas are lightly fried tortillas, usually filled with shredded chicken and topped with salsa roja o verde, sour cream and shredded queso.
These may look like donut holes, but ugh, these are the improved version. Chapines deep fry bits of wheat-based dough making them crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, then cover them with honey and call them buñuelos. They’re the bomb.
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Mexicans make flat flour fritters, that look like tortillas, fry them and cover them in cinnamon and sugar. They’re also bomb.
Guatemalan tortillas are also corn based, but much much thicker. The real treat is when you find blue ones.
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One of the toughest choice a Meixcan has to make is deciding between flour or corn tortillas. What’s for sure is it’s rare to have a meal in Mexico without a tortilla.
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Chile is chile, whether in Guatemala or in Mexico. The main difference is Mexicanos put chile on EVERYTHING – even their sweets. Chapines serve their pique on the side and let you make your own choice of spiciness.