The Foodies Guide to Guyana
There is no doubt that local flavours mirror the essence of a destination. The culinary culture of a country truly represents the core of its people. Guyana’s food heritage is rich! There is nothing better for a foodie than to explore the country through the sense of taste. Guyana is a melting pot of cultures – embodying culinary cues from the Chinese, East Indians, Africans, Portuguese, Dutch, British and its Indigenous Peoples. While the bigger towns like Georgetown and Lethem boast of global cuisines in atmospheric restaurants and cafes, as you travel deeper into the country, you get to taste the food that makes the country tick. Here are some quick tips for foodies keen on exploring Guyana’s rich culinary offerings.
In the city
Given that Georgetown sits by the Atlantic Coast, fresh seafood features high on the list of dishes to choose from. Pork, beef and chicken are popular as well, with rice as a common staple to accompany the succulent meat recipes. Fresh fruits and vegetables you’ve probably have never had are readily available as well. Here are some of our top picks that cater to the well-heeled expats, traveller and Guyanese city-dwellers in Georgetown:
Cara Lodge – The Bottle Bar and Restaurant at the vintage hotel is one of the most premium dining options in the city. Rice and curry combos and the modern rendition of the cassareep based pepperpot from Guyana’s Indigenous culture are always recommended. Cara Lodge also has an open-air courtyard café and bar built around none other than a Guyanese mango tree, which is perfect for enjoying an evening coffee or fruit punch.
Grand Coastal Hotel – Don’t have a long stay in the city but want to experience it all? Opt for the weekly ‘Flavours of Guyana’ nights at the Grand Coastal Hotel on Wednesdays, where you can taste local flavours like eggplant dishes, channa curry, pepperpot, local fish and farine inspired from the local kitchens of Guyana. This is truly the one stop shop for a short visit.
The Backyard Café – To ease yourself into the culinary scape of Guyana, visit The Backyard Café run by Chef Delven Adams. From shopping with you for ingredients in the markets, to bringing you back to his cheery home-run café and whipping up fusion cuisine, the Chef is a gracious host and the perfect person to introduce you to all the Guyanese flavours.
Herdmanston Lodge – The in-house restaurant of Herdmanston Lodge overlooks a beautiful green manicured patch. Boasting a menu of both local and international specialities, the best part of this restaurant is not only the food, but also the atmosphere. If you want to enjoy the true Atlantic winds, choose to sit in the semi-open area for a breezy meal in a relaxing atmosphere.
The Guyana Marriott- The sea-facing Guyana Marriott offers International, American and seafood cuisines at the Caribe Boardwalk Pool Bar & Grill, Great Room and the Terra Mare Restaurant respectively. ‘Fresh from the ocean’ catch is deliciously prepared at the Terra Mare and is undeniably one of the best picks of the city.
Stabroek and Bourda Markets – Jump right into the cart and stall scene of fresh fruits, bakes and sauces with a stroll on the busy streets of Stabroek and Bourda Markets. The tropical weather ensures that Guyana has a constant supply of fresh fruits. These markets are the perfect places to get some! Besides, you get to see the backbone of the culinary scene at close quarters.
Watering Holes – Nights are alive at some of the hippest pubs of Georgetown. Dedicated karaoke nights, retro music and jams can be clubbed with delicious cocktails and local brews like Banks Beer and the El Dorado Rum of the city. Visit the Duke at Duke Lodge, Ignite Bar at the Pegasus Hotel and Club 704 to enjoy the night scene.
In the interior
The true flavours of Indigenous cuisines are best sampled when you’re travelling into the heart of the country. Cassava is one of the key ingredients in both the food and beverages that you will have. Grown all over the country, cassava is often processed into cassava bread and farine. This is often coupled with tangy and generously spicy tuma sauce to soften the farine and give it additional flavour. Wholesome and delicious, it’s usually the choice for locals living in far off villages. It’s the pepperpot locally called tuma pot that the weak hearted may want to step away from, but this is something you definitely need to taste. Hinged on single wild meat and fish in hot chilies and tangy spices for a teary-eyed, runny-nose flavourful and delicious meal. And that’s just the beginning of the variety of delicacies to be found!