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Archive for the ‘Guatemala’ Category

Mayan traditional dish, Kak-ik

In Guatemala, Spicy Foods on October 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Guatemala's kak-ik

If there was a Guatemalan national dish, this would be it. A fat turkey stewed in a clay pot for hours, spiced up with Cobanero chilli, coriander, achiote and herbs. It is usually accompanied by steamed rice and tamales (corn mash).

During a recent writing stint in the Central Highlands region of Guatemala,  I researched on the origins and history of this particular culturally-rich dish, and found a different side to it.

The red color of the dish evokes memories of blood used during rituals and sacrifices. The Q’eqchi Mayans live in Central Guatemala, and is the biggest Mayan ethnic group in the country. From its pre-Hispanic origins to this day, the Mayans continue to kill and cook the turkey the way their ancestors did.

Check out James Rodriguez’ visual report of the traditional process of preparing kak-ik.

The best place to try kak-ik is Cobán, the capital of Alta Verapaz region. Visit el Peñascal to get a taste of the traditional Mayan dish.