Without leaving the central park area, you will also find more options suitable for every palate and budget, in a range that goes from hamburgers and pizza to veggie specialties.
If quite contrary, you are a traveler eager to learn about local culture and discover new flavors, I would recommend to look for a typical food restaurant. It's been a while since my last visit to Xela, so I am going to say that the best way to find the nicest place with good local food, would be by asking locals or at the hotel. What I do can tell you for sure, is that local food is beyond worthy.
One of my favorites is Jokom (also known as jocon), a simple yet flavorful recipe, great to innovate (just as I have done in several occasions): as finger's food, use chicken thighs and more consistent sauce; as an appetizer, use boneless chicken breast cut in cubes; as a meal, use a whole chicken (to obtain the maximum flavor) cut in pieces.
Do you remember I told you that Xela is a good place for some salsa dancing? Well, while cooking our delicious Jokom, here is the second version, kind of irreverent but cheerful salsa/tropical arrangement for Luna de Xelaju.
Basic Jokom Sauce for 1 Whole Chicken (or 8-12 thighs)
My own version to be served as soup, before the main course.In about 4-6 cups of water, precook the chicken with a stalk of celery, a carrot, an onion, a couple of garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Discard the vegetables. Reserve the stock for the sauce.
Blend together with the chicken stock, until the mixture is smooth: 1 cup of peeled and lightly toasted pumpkin seeds, 2 cups of fresh culantro, 2 cups of fresh green onions, 1 green bell pepper, 1/2 cup of miltomates (husks removed), and 2 cloves of garlic. Optional: green hot pepper. Everything has to be raw, otherwise, the sauce won't be of a vibrant green.
Combine the blended mixture with the chicken stock (you decide how soupy or thick you want the sauce), bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, let it simmer for 5 minutes, add the chicken pieces and simmer another 5 minutes. If necessary, before adding the chicken, you can thicken the sauce with white bread crumbs.
To serve it as a meal, add on the side Guatemalan-style rice (long grain rice with peas and fine juliennes of carrots, string beans, and red bell pepper) and if possible, white "steamed tamalitos" (small like-fistful portions of corn dough softened with a little bit of lard or vegetable oil wrapped in young corn leaves).
A good resource to find out what's going on in Xela, is XelaWho.com, a friendly site with lots of information about almost everything and everybody in Quetzaltenango.
Enjoy your weekend!
Enjoy your weekend!