Thursday, September 24, 2015

Three New Foods -- Annona, Paches de Papas, and Chocolate Lasagna

We tried three new foods this week: a fruit called an annona, a hot meal called paches de papas, and a dessert called Chocolate Lasagna.
The huge annona! I paid Q10 for it from the "baby banana lady" we pass on the street whenever we walk up Principal.
The anonna cut in half.
The annona was very good but a bit difficult to eat. It had a lot of big black seeds in it. We decided to use spoons and just scoop out the white part. It tasted like a really watery pear with a hint of mango. Quite delicious actually, if you like pear. Bert said he would eat it again for sure.

I had read about paches de papas in an article on Antigua Daily Photo. I loved the idea of having a tamale made of potatoes, especially since I got here and realized that I don't like the masa-based (corn) dough they use for regular tamales.

Well, we were walking down Calle de los Arboles yesterday when I saw a couple ladies next to some cloth-covered baskets, and a handwritten sign saying "Paches de Papas". Yay! I would finally get my chance to try them. For Q10 I got two steaming hot banana leaf packages tied with twine.
The lady told me one was pollo (chicken) and one was some word I didn't catch. Tasted like ham to me! :)
Excitedly, I untied the twine and unwrapped the first banana leaf. Inside was another, smaller banana leaf. I unwrapped that too and saw... mush. Mush? HUH??
Mmmm mystery mush in a banana leaf!
Bert immediately said, "I'm not eating that." Pfft. Coward!
I tentatively poked my fork in and took a small bite. Freaking delicious! It was an awesome mix of potatoes and unknown things, with a small chunk of chicken meat in the center of the mush. I ate it all, and unwrapped the other one to eat it too. The second one had a tender piece of ham in it. Yum!

The thing that I couldn't figure out though is: why go to all the trouble of putting the mush in two banana leaves? Just serve the mush in a bowl with a spoon! I would totally eat it all the time if it was served that way. The steamy wet leaf thing was a bit over the top. :)

I was curious about the delectable mix of mushy flavours, so I found a video recipe of paches de papas. Looks like tomatoes, red peppers, onion, and a ton of different chiles, plus the mashed potatoes and a few other things. The video lady's paches turned out looking much nicer than my street paches.

For those of you curious about the similarity between paches and our dog, Pachi, yes, the words mean the same thing essentially. Both mean "short", although I've heard that Pachi means more like "squashed." I'll have to get a good picture of Pachi to show why they call her that. Her little stubby legs are hilarious!

The third new food is kinda cheating as it's an American dessert. But it was made here in Panajachel and I'd never had it before, so it counts, right? It was called Chocolate Lasagna and it was made by Daniella at Dolce Vita Foods.
Oh My Chocolate!
Yeah, it was even more awesome tasting than it looks! A fudgy Oreo crust, layers of pudding and chocolate and whipped cream, topped with chocolate chips. DIVINE. Totally worth Q25! (About $4.35 Canadian.) Bert said it was the best dessert he's had since he got here. :D

See, that's the trick with eating here in Guatemala. Sure, I can buy the above "gringo" food, but you'll notice that one piece of dessert was five times the cost of one pache de papa. Bert has totally caught on to eating like a Guatemalan and is now feasting on Q3.50 tamales at the little stand that pops up on Santander at meal times. He's addicted to them! He gets pouty if the ladies aren't there or if they're sold out. Ha!

So dear readers, go out and try a new food today! Explore the international section in your grocery store or visit a strange restaurant. Be bold! Worse case: you hate it and you go out for Blizzards at Dairy Queen afterwards. :D

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