If you’re planning to go on a trip to Guam sometime in the future, you simply can’t go there without trying out at least some of their sumptuous local delicacies. Indeed, Chamorro cuisine is quite unique thanks to Guam being a melting pot of cultures. That said, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of available recipes. Don’t know which ones you should go for during your visit? Check out our list of gastronomical delights in Guam that you should definitely sink your teeth into:
Also known as hineksa’ aga’ga, red rice is a staple dish in Guam that is often paired with all sorts of viands. It has become such a symbol of Chamorro culture that even non-Chamorro restaurants have started to offer it on their menus. To prepare red rice, achote or annatto seeds are soaked in water to produce reddened water. This water is then added to the rice before cooking to produce its signature orange-reddish color. You may also find versions of red rice with extra ingredients such as bacon bits, garlic, onion, and peas.
Take a bite out of Guam’s take on the pickle with their cucumber salad. This popular side dish is made of cucumber slices soaked in the flavors of fina’denne’, a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar or lemon juice, onions, garlic, and chili. The result is a tangy salad with a lot of island flavor and heat. It’s great when paired with red rice and any Chamorro viand.
If this dish seems like pickled daikon radish to you, that’s essentially what it is. However, the Chamorro version is made with sugar, vinegar, daigo juice, and hot peppers for a tangy and sweet side dish that can pack quite a bit of heat. Daigo is best enjoyed with a variety of Chamorro dishes, but they’re best paired with any BBQ dish with red rice.
If you’re looking for something sweet to snack on, apigige’ is an island favorite. It is a cassava and coconut mix that is wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled, giving it a sticky and caramelized finish. Enjoy this treat by itself or pair it with black coffee to balance the flavors out.
Golfan Appai Lemmai
For people that prefer a more fruity dessert, golfan appai lemmai might hit the spot. Lemmai is the local name for breadfruit, and it is slow-cooked in coconut milk (golfan), giving it its soft texture. Since this dessert is boiled and makes use of little sugar, it’s the perfect sweet dish for health-conscious people.
This is a staple in many restaurants in Guam for a reason. Chicken kelaguen is made of flavorful and succulent roasted chicken that’s been shredded into fine pieces and combined with lemon juice, green onions, and salt. Kelaguen is best enjoyed with soft titiyas and can be made with other meats as well. Try to look for other variants of this dish during your stay in Guam!
The marinade for Chamarro BBQ is a delectable blend of vinegar, sugar, and spices. After the meat has been marinated for a few hours to a whole day, it is then grilled to perfection over charcoal or kangan wood to give it its distinct flavor. This is a must-try if you plan to go to a beach-side restaurant in Guam during your trip.
Also known as Shrimp Kado, this is a great viand made of succulent shrimps cooked in creamy coconut milk and vegetables. In Chamorro cuisine, shrimp is usually caught fresh and sold with its shell intact. This is because the shell adds more flavor to the dish. In fact, locals love to suck out the juice and sauces from the head of the shrimp.
This is a dried cured beef that has a bright red color similar to that of corned beef. Using an old preservation technique, the locals prepare this dish in big batches to serve during fiestas and other local events. It is traditionally grilled or baked and has a smokey and salty flavor. If you’ve been curious about beef dishes in Guam, this is definitely a must-try!
From grilled meats to pickled vegetables, you definitely won’t run out of delectable dishes to try out during your stay in Guam.
There’s nothing like a roast suckling pig, which is essentially what Hotnon Babui is. The pork is roasted until it’s tender, juicy, and practically falling off the bone, and is often garnished with cabbages or apples. Though this is a dish reserved for special occasions in the island of Guam, you can easily find it being served in a few restaurants if you know where to look. Hotnon Babui is best enjoyed when dipped in fina’denne.
As you can see, there’s a lot of diversity and flavors present in Chamorro cuisine. From grilled meats to pickled vegetables, you definitely won’t run out of delectable dishes to try out during your stay in Guam.
Have you experienced Guam’s Chamorro cuisine?
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