The Guatemalan Chevere Hot Dog Cart
“Chevere” is a Venezuelan Spanish word which means cool, fine, excelent, okay, just to mention a few of its meaning. Well, about the origin of the chevere word, I don’t know; perhaps it is not even Venezuelan. Nonetheless, the word is understood and used in Central America.
In Guatemala, a company of hot dogs decided to use it as its name in the late seventies or early eighties. The company did things right and it was a total hit and the Chevere brand became almost as omnipresent as Coca Cola, Pepsi and the Gallo Beer. It was everywhere.
The Chevere hot dog is very simple indeed, and maybe that was its strong point. The Guatemalan chevere hot was prepared (and still is) with a bun, one or two salchichas (Spanish for hot dog sausage), grated raw cabbage, mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup; Picamás green chili sauce made from chiltepes was available on request.
I don’t know what happened to the company in the late eighties or nineties, but today you can barely find the infamous Chevere hot dog cart in a few places, like Panjachel, Xela, La Antigua and Guatemala City.
In La Antigua Guatemala I have seen three Chevere hot dog carts: one on the Alameda Santa Lucía, in front of the Rafael Landivar Memorial; another cart right across the IGSS park on the road to San Felipe; and the Chevere cart picture above right outside the San Francisco El Grande Church (burial home to Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt).
Here is a question for those who have visited Guatemala and for those Guatemalans living abroad, when was the last time you had a Chevere hot dog and where? Did you have more than one?