Central America, Food, Guatemala

Living on fried chicken in Guatemala

July 18, 2011

Pollo Campero, Antigua, Guatemala

I’m going to be honest with you.

I found the food in Guatemala pretty…underwhelming.

Although I had the odd flavoursome treat (the snacks cooked by a Dona from my Spanish school in Xela come to mind), Guatemalan food is not like the food of neighbouring Mexico. It’s not spicy and is often doughy.

With one exception.

Fried chicken.

Guatemaltecos love their fried chicken. And during my time in the country, my fascination with the Guatemalan fast food restaraunt Pollo Campero bordered on obsession. 

Pollo Campero pechugitas, Antigua, Guatemala

Similar to KFC (but tastier!), Pollo Campero started in Guatemala in the 1970s and today you can find restaurants all over the world – throughout Central America, the USA, Spain and even, oddly, India.

Apparently though, the most authentic Pollo Campero to be had is that in the what must be hundreds of restaraunts all over Guatemala. They even deliver.

Pollo Campero, Antigua, Guatemala

So the story goes, flights from Guatemala to the USA have had to ban passengers from bringing Pollo Campero on board because of the smell of fried chicken permeating the cabin. 

If you’re in Guatemala, eating at a Pollo Campero is a must.

Today you’ll usually find Pollo Campero next to a McDonalds, and they’re as ubiquitous in Guatemala as the golden arches are in the rest of the world.

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  • Reply Tijmen July 18, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Not so sure if it´s a good thing having a fast food restaurant that home delivers 😀 But I read on other travel blogs as well about Pollo Campero having really good fried chicken. Normally I rarely visit fast food restaurants like McDonalds, and I guess i´m one of the few people that never visited KFC before. But if I ever come across a Pollo Campero, I will definitely try the fried chicken 🙂

    • Reply MeganRTW July 19, 2011 at 3:26 am

      Hey Tijmen! It’s not just Pollo Campero – my sister and I were really excited that McDonalds delivers in Hong Kong, too – although there is one every few hundred metres on Hong Kong Island so it’s not really necessary, but we did it for laughs!

  • Reply Stephanie - The Travel Chica July 19, 2011 at 5:15 am

    I saw the Pollo Campero EVERYWHERE! I never tried it because I’m not a big fan of greasy, fried chicken. I much preferred the homemade tortillas and fresh avocados. But you are right…. this is the McDonalds of Guatemala.

    • Reply MeganRTW July 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      But that’s what’s so great about Pollo Campero – it’s actually not very greasy! I mean, some of it is but the tasty snacks like the pechugitas (sp?!) aren’t. And yes, I agree the fresh avocados are A M A Z I N G.

  • Reply Globetrottergirls July 19, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Everybody seems to love Pollo Campero – travelers and locals alike! We are both vegetarians, so we never tried it, but I bet it must be good as it is always busy in there 🙂

    • Reply MeganRTW July 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      Yeah, probably not the most vege-friendly restaurant 😀 But they do pizza, too!

  • Reply Kris Koeller July 19, 2011 at 5:53 am

    That looks pretty amazing!

  • Reply Heather July 19, 2011 at 8:50 am

    There are stores in the US?! Adding this to my US road trip list (in which I don’t think I’ll be doing ANYTHING but eating…eep! — OH…would love for you to join me! I have no idea when I’m doing it but I need partners!).

    • Reply MeganRTW July 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      Haha yep and apparently they’re in random places – like St Paul, I think! Oh I would LOVE to do a US road trip and would do it in a heartbeat if I were in a position to. At the moment my funds are dwindling!

      • Reply Heather July 20, 2011 at 8:09 am

        Who knows when I’ll have the funds…but it’s a dream O:-) Jut wanted to plant a seed…!

  • Reply Adam July 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Um, awesome! I totally had this when I was in Guatemala a few years ago. Didn’t realize it was so popular. I was just so hungry and tired of walking around looking for a place to sit & eat 🙂

    • Reply MeganRTW July 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      It’s legendary Adam, I can’t believe you didn’t realise ;D

      • Reply Adam July 19, 2011 at 10:52 pm

        Guess I was lucky to stumble on it then!

  • Reply Jodi July 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Nice. This is the second post in a short space of time who mentioned the chicken in Guatemala! Sounds like an experience not to miss 🙂

    • Reply MeganRTW July 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      What was the other post, Jodi?

  • Reply Jodi July 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I should have specified 🙂 This is the second post ‘I’ve read’ in a short space of time who mentioned the chicken.

  • Reply jade July 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I love fried chicken…. if chick-fil-a was in California, I could live on that stuff!!

    • Reply MeganRTW July 23, 2011 at 5:02 am

      Then Jade you *must* try Pollo Campero!

  • Reply Elise July 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Oh Yes. Gotta love Pollo Campero!! I actually had a salad there the other day (i know who orders a salad) but it was really good! I don’t care if it’s fast food or whatever, it’s yummy, it fills up my tummy and I like it!!! 🙂

    • Reply MeganRTW July 30, 2011 at 5:34 am

      I have to go back through San Jose here in Costa Rica (boo) but there is a Pollo Campero in the centre of town (yay!)

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