Guatemalan Cuisine: The Kak’ik

Guatemalan Cuisine: The Kak'ik

Your comments and feedback are very important and often show me the way for future posts or follow ups. Such was the case about telephones, wifi (wireless internet access) and more recently the ik word (hot or spicy in Maya) which Manolo was kind to share its meaning and etymology. Furthermore, I normally try to have entries that need further development with background information or first-hand experience and that’s where you come in and fill the missing information. See this site is as much mine as it is yours and the whole experience is much richer if we all contribute to it. I am only planting the seed; it is up to you to make grow and produce fruits. Got it?

If there was a Guatemalan national dish, then Kak’ik would be it. Wait a minute, this Guatemalan meal has the word ‘IK’ as part of its name, so, now we know why. Along the sidebar, there is section of other Guatemalan links that I think might further help understand this effusive thing they call Guatemalanness. From those links, I extracted the following information:

The Kak’ik is a turkey soup-stew which features a number of spices from which achiote, coriander, and a number of chilies stand out. Following is a visual homage to the cultural traditions kept alive by Mayan women of the Q’eqchi’ ethnic group who still kill, clean, and cook the turkey as has been done for generations.

Deemed intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture and Sports in November 2007, the Kak’ik is an ancestral dish of Pre-Hispanic origin largely cooked and consume among the Q’eqchi’ Mayas of Guatemala. “The red coloring evokes memories of the blood used in rituals and ceremonies by their ancestors.” (1)

Source: Ancestral Cuisine: The Kak’ik by James Rodrí­guez’ World (

Warning: if you decide to follow the link to Ancestral Cuisine: The Kak’ik, you will find the ritual of the preparation of Kak’ik which includes the killing, cleaning and cooking of the turkey through a series of photos. These are extremely graphical and may offend and disturb most people. Think of the entry as being rated NC-17. Vegetarians, please, do not follow the link.

Where can I get kak’ik in La Antigua Guatemala?
There are quite a few places from gourmet versions like La Fonda de la Calle Real to daily menu diners. One sure place to try kak’ik is San Felipe village which has over 20 restaurants around its main plaza that serve a wide range of authentic Guatemalan dishes, including kak’ik, on the weekends. The photo above was taken at one of those restaurants.

Pavo is just one way to say turkey in Spanish; others forms include chompipe and guajolote. What other words do you know?

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