When traveling in a developing country like Guatemala, guarantees are few and far between. Whether it be a confirmed taxi ride from the airport, a clean, comfortable bed at night or the timely arrival of one of the lovely but incredibly time-insensitive Guatemalan citizens, nothing is certain and everything is subject to change. So when one finds a constant in a sea of chaos and uncertainty, it should be elevated to pedestal-level and savored for as long as it lasts. In Guatemala’s case, this constant is frijoles volteados, or the mashed and refried black beans served with every breakfast and, in some more indigenous or rural regions, every meal.
Frijoles are a way of life here. Native to Guatemala, this modern day staple dates back to the times when the Mayan culture was at its height, between 300-900 AD. Along with corn and avocados, beans are one of the most common ingredients in Guatemala and are enjoyed from before babies have teeth until after old men loose them. Served with eggs for breakfast or slathered thick on fresh tortillas de maiz bought from a street vendor, it’s hard to ever go back to the canned stuff.
At Café Condesa, a popular brunch in Antigua local for travelers and locals alike, the kitchen goes through up to 15 pounds of frijoles volteados a day! They kindly granted The Latin Kitchen access to their behind-the-scenes operation and agreed to share their recipe. From their kitchen and ours, buen provecho!