Chao Mein

Chao Mein in Guatemala | GuatexplorerChao Mein or Chow Mein is a very popular dish in Guatemala. You can buy this type of pasta almost anywhere and prepare it as you like (some people eat it with ketchup only). The story of the dish has a lot to do with Chinese immigration to Guatemala.


Since the end of the 19th century, Chinese immigration to Guatemala grew stronger. No matter if they were coming from Taiwan or mainland China, Chinese immigrants started to open businesses; at first, it was clothing trade, later they entered many other markets. The restaurant business was natural for them and Chinese cuisine soon became important.

It was their “American dream”. As we know from history, in some points in time Chinese were forbidden to enter the USA, so they started to look for other places to live and advance. The result was a cultural exchange that found its form in the cuisine. Guatemalans embraced Chinese food easily and got used to it so much that Chao Mein has now its Guatemalan version.

Mentioning the relations between Guatemalans and Chinese, you have to know one important fact: Guatemala is one of the nine countries in the world that recognise Taiwan as China, while not having official relations with People’s Republic of China. Of course, it does not mean that there are no Chinese goods shipped from China, but officially situation looks precisely like described. Taiwan helped Guatemala in many public projects, from building roads to education. This today mostly unrecognized country is sometimes even an important theme in internal political affairs in Guatemala.

That’s not important for everyday life. What matters is that you can easily buy Chao Mein, prepare it very quickly (3 min in boiling water) and put on it whatever you want. Even ketchup.

Chao Mein in Guatemala | Guatexplorer


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