Tortillas in Guatemala | GuatexplorerMany Latin American countries use the tortilla instead of bread. Guatemala is not an exception, you’ll find fresh tortillas everywhere. Usually, tortilla shops are opened whole day and some have a label “Tortillas de 3 Tiempos”, meaning that they prepare tortillas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


The main thing to understand about tortillas is that they are prepared from corn “masa”, a mass, based on corn flour that was produced using the process of nixtamalization. The grain is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, and then hulled. Nixtamalized maize (corn) has several benefits over unprocessed grain: it is more easily ground, its nutritional value is increased, flavour and aroma are improved and mycotoxins are reduced. Lime and ash are highly alkaline and that alkalinity helps the dissolution of hemicellulose, the major glue-like component of the corn cell walls.

Corn was standing stone of the Maya culture, their main plant. Using the nixtamalization process they made corn with higher nutritional value, thus making their civilisation possible without wheat grains. Even today when you buy corn flour in Guatemala, each pack informs you that it is flour for “masa” – nixtamalized.

Locals know which “tortilleria” offers the best tortillas, thick, warm and delicious. A bit rare is to find tortillas made from black corn. Those are more appreciated and served on special occasions. When in Guatemala forget the bread (although there are many nice bakeries that will offer traditional bread and pastry) and go with tortillas. There are many health benefits in this basic Latino diet then you might be aware of.

Tortillas in Guatemala | Guatexplorer


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