Guatemalan Fair: The French Fries Stall

French Fries Cart at San Pedro Las Huertas Fair

Papas fritas is the Guatemalan Spanish name for French fries. Here is the abbreviated history that gave us the Guatemalan french fries stall: first the Quechuas or Incas domesticated the potato (Solanum tuberosum) into a crop in southern Peru and northern Bolivia; the Spanish conquistadors took it to Europe where it was an instant hit and along with maize turned a famine-prone population into a healthy society; somewhere in one of the northern European states, quite possibly Germany, the potato lost its skin and got deep-fried; This Eurpean recipe crossed the Atlantic with the new immigrants that came to U.S. and since it was a foreign-looking recipe, they called it French fries (remember Coneheads); so the French fries came to Guatemala along one of the many incursions from the United Stateians (Americans they seem to call themselves 😉 ) as a side dish for the hamburger or the hot dog. Guatemalans (Chapines they seem to call themselves) thought that French fries were too good to be side dish and turned it into a meal by itself. That is how the papas fritas cart came to be.

Two more aspects worth mentioning are the Pollo Campero logotype and the name La Huasteca. The French fries are the perfect side dish for fried chicken, so it made us believe the Campero chain. La Huasteca is a region in Mexico which has given the world flavor-rich recipes and Huapango.

The omnipresent catsup is ready to turn simple papas fritas into crazy papas fritas along with mayonnaise and the green chile pepper sauce.

We are almost over with the typical Guatemalan town fair and we will go back to those nice touristic photographs of La Antigua Guatemala; I promise.

New 7 Wonders side note: The Mayan Pyramid of Chichén Itzá, in southern Mexico has been elected as one of the seven new wonders of the world. The Mayan Ruins of Chichén Itza are very close to Guatemala and it is one of the many Mayan city states of the great Mayan empire. By electing Chichén Itzá as one of the new 7 wonders of the world, the world is recognizing the importance of the Mayan Architecture, Culture and Civilization. Let’s hope soon they will unite Tikal(Yax Mutal), the largest ancient Mayan city and Chichén Itzá with a brand-new paved road as well as Uxmal to create the great Mayan Triangle.

© 2007 – 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Just had some BBQ brisket/ribs tonight with a side order of “sweet potato fries” and let me say los papas fritas were “outstanding!” In your photo, I see the green chile pepper sauce and mayo containers…and is that…no it can’t be…ketchup? 🙂

    BTW…Antigueno red is such a gorgeous color. And, I do think we will continue to hear more about the wonders of the “amazing” (no corn pun here) Mayans…and justly so!

  • MaggieD

    …the rest of the Fair shots.

  • Ah, so now I know where the idea came from … only recently, at our fiestas locally, the stalls have been selling Papas Locas. Now this has caught on, one of the cafes in Buenavista the other day had it chalked up as the “special of the day” on their blackboard: Papas Locas con tres salsas.

    It’s damn good marketing actually, because those sauces can’t cost a fat lot, yet, I noticed they were charging 2.25 euros for a probably 50 cent portion of chips (French fries)!

    And the custom has gone round in yet another full circle, I think! 🙂

  • Nancy

    I just stumbled upon your site, I just got done telling someone how much I miss Papas Fritas, lol. Seeing your picture reminds me so much of the street vendors during the Fair when I was in San Lucas.