Guatemalan Cuisine: Caldo de Pata

Guatemalan Cuisine: Caldo de Pata

Today is theme day for the City Daily Photo community around the world; 840 daily city web sites thus far. For the first theme day of the year, there are 151 cities participating with their best photo of 2008. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

I don’t remember if subscribe to participate in the theme day. However, I decided to participate not with the best photo of 2008, which I really don’t know which one to pick anyway, but rather with an emblematic image for the best photo of the year for La Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo. Since I published so many photos of the Guatemalan Cuisine in 2008, I decided to begin the year with a photo very popular dish: Caldo de Pata or Mondongo.

Caldos (stocks or stews) are among the most popular dishes from the Guatemalan cuisine. I believe most of caldos have pre-Columbian origins and caldos are quite possibly some of the best remaining samples of the Mayan cuisine (see the aside about The Maya below).

Today’s photo of Caldo de Pata or Mondongo as it is also known in other parts of Latin America was taken at the 7 Caldos Restaurant. This Mondongo was the best I had ever had in my life and I have had this dish in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the U.S.A.

The caldo de patas stew or stock is made with muscles and bones from the lower legs of either pork or cow, as well as belly, head and other such entrails along with potatos, carrots, güisquil (chayote), elote (maize/corn) and ayote or chilacayote (squash and/or sweet squash). The caldo de patas can be blanco or rojo (white or red); the red takes its color from tomatoes and chiles primarily.

As you can see, the list of ingredients, except for the meats, are crops from the milpa, a sort of a maize field, but something considerably more complex (… continue reading the definition of Milpa by Charles C. Mann). Milpa is one of the most successful human inventions ever created. Milpa was the agriculture mechanism that allowed the Maya to reach its density and complexity.

For those who don’t know, The Maya were the greatest and most complex civilization in the American Continent. A quoted passage from Wikipedia:

The Maya civilization is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Preclassic period, many of these reached their apogee of development during the Classic period (c. 250 CE to 900 CE), and continued throughout the Postclassic period until the arrival of the Spanish. At its peak, it was one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world. (Source:

Guatemala, of course, was the birthplace and the heart of the Maya civilization and the region with the largest remaining ruins from the Maya cities and towns. I read somewhere that there were over one million Maya people just in the region of El Petén at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. There are less than 100,000 people living in El Petén at present.

© 2009 – 2016, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Erick

    That dish looks delicious. I was in Antigua for a day on 12/26 (just visting relatives in Guatemala over the Xmas holidays) and had the pleasure of having some “revolcado” for lunch with some friends, it was to die for. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was small with yellow walls inside. It was a step or two outside of the main Antigua entrance. Combined that with some hot tortillas and some “mole” for dessert and I was a very happy man. Awesome picture you got there and happy new year!

  • Thank you, very much, for the nice comment you left on my blog. It is much appreciated.

    I do like your photograph today. It looks good and the food looks delicious. We, in my country, make a kind of stew with vegetables and pieces of port or beef and it is also really delicious. We say it is better when it has been warmed up two or three times. As enough is made to last for several meals.

    Brookville Daily


  • I hate to see food pictures on blogs as it always makes me drool. This pic is no exception. The red colour makes this dish look so appetizingly delicious

  • Javier

    My family and friends insist my wife makes some of the best Caldo de Pata they have ever tasted. Now I have an excuse to go to antigua this year and try the Caldo. If you are ever here in Los Angeles, I will definitely ask my wife about to make it. She is from El Salvador.

  • Heidi

    The likes of the recipes are endless..thank your for sharing!!

  • Rebecca

    Where are the recipes?

  • Mishamoliviatis

    thank you so much! we are glad that you enjoy our Caldo de Pata! Hope to see you at 7 caldos Restaurante…