From flavored rice to curries to cakes and candies, you won’t run out of Guyanese foods that are definite must-tries.
Guayana, or “the land of many waters” is a small Caribbean country whose cooking boasts of big flavors.
With African, Indian, Portuguese, and even Chinese influences, it’s a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines.
Guyanese cuisine isn’t just about the entrees and sides, either. The black cake and tamarind balls are just as mouthwatering as the beef patties and tennis rolls.
So if you’re not familiar with Guyanese food, now’s the perfect time to introduce your tastebuds to something new and amazing.
17 Popular Guyanese Dishes You Need To Try
1. Guyanese Cook-Up Rice
If you find steamed white rice extremely basic, you’re in for a treat.
You’ll be surprised by how just a few ingredients can transform the simple grain.
The Guyanese cook-up rice is a one-pot mix of rice cooked in coconut milk and mixed with peas, meats, and beans. It’s a feast for the senses!
It’s perfect for special occasions, but also easy enough to make on weekends.
2. Guyanese Pepperpot
Pepperpot is an Amerindian dish is reserved for Christmas and other special holidays because it takes hours to cook.
Don’t let this stop you from trying this stew this weekend, though. It’s definitely worth the wait.
You can use different types of meat here, from beef and pork to mutton.
The sauce is flavored with cinnamon, pepper, and other spices. It’s thickened with cassareep, which is a cassava root-based sauce.
Serve this with bread, rice, or roti for the ultimate Guyanese dining experience.
3. Guyanese Chicken Curry
Chicken curry is the definition of Caribbean comfort food.
With its thick, savory sauce coating tender and succulent chicken, it’s no wonder it’s the favorite of many.
While the dish gets most of its flavor from yellow curry powder, you’ll also get notes of turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala, paprika, and bay leaf.
It’s a wonderful explosion of flavors, to say the least.
Serve this decadent stew with roti and use it to soak up all that delicious sauce. I know what I’m having for dinner!
Metemgee is a vegetarian dish packed with yam, cassava, sweet potato, plantain, and other hearty starches.
The ingredients are cooked in a rich coconut milk broth, turning them into a sweet, warming soup that’ll make your tastebuds go wild with excitement.
The soup is also flavored with garlic, thyme, chiles, and habanero, giving it a wonderful kick.
5. Guyanese Pancakes
Don’t expect fluffy flapjacks here. Influenced by the Portuguese Malasadas, the Guyanese pancakes are actually donut holes!
Even though it’s technically a dessert, don’t let it stop you from having it for breakfast. It’s definitely an awesome way to start the day.
Enjoy the donuts as-is or drizzle them with maple syrup, honey, or homemade syrup.
6. Peas and Rice
Once you’ve tried peas and rice, you might say goodbye to regular steamed white rice forever.
This dish isn’t just a simple mix of white rice and peas. Oh no. There’s so much more to it than that.
Flavored with toasted cardamom, thyme, onions, garlic, celery, pepper, butter, and coconut milk, this dish is absolutely to-die-for.
It’s a side dish, sure, but I wouldn’t mind devouring it on its own.
7. Guyanese Curried Chickpeas
Vegetarians rejoice! If you’re looking for more recipes to add to your arsenal, this one’s a no-brainer.
This isn’t your typical, bland, chickpea dish, folks.
With butter, lime juice, curry powder, and other spices in the mix, these chickpeas are just as delectable as any meat-filled dish.
8. Guyanese Boil and Fry Channa
This recipe is another approach to cooking chickpeas. Once again, the chickpeas are transformed from just okay to insanely amazing!
The secret is to cook the peas in roasted geera or cumin. It really makes all the difference.
It’s usually served with mango sour, a tangy condiment with a kick.
9. Guyanese Ground Provisions
Provisions is a Guyanese staple of cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, and plantains
The medley of starches are boiled, but fried garlic, scallions, peppers, and onions liven up their flavor.
The dish can be enjoyed with curried fish or meat. For this particular recipe, you’ll use grass-fed ground, which really amps up the dish’s flavor.
10. Guyanese Chow Mein
Yes, the Guyanese have their own version of the Chinese chow mein, and it is freakin’ delicious.
A mix of noodles, veggies, meats, and a thick, delectable sauce – that’s what I’m talking about.
The Chinese staple is given a Guyanese flair with the inclusion of cassareep – a cassava-based sauce.
Combined with oyster sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce, this is truly a beautiful mash-up of cuisines.
11. Guyanese Oil Roti
Roti, or paratha, is a crispy-on-the-outside, flaky-on-the-inside Indian flatbread that’s perfect for soaking up thick stews.
As you’ve already probably guessed, this scrumptious bread has also been embraced by the Guyanese.
In fact, many of their dishes are usually served with roti on the side.
That said, if you’re serious about immersing yourself in the cuisine, it’s important to learn how to make this drool-worthy bread.
Don’t worry, this recipe is newbie-friendly, so it’s totally doable.
12. Tennis Rolls
They’re freshly baked dinner rolls with a smear of butter and a sharp cheddar cheese filling. They sound simple, but man, they’re terrific.
The smell of the rolls alone is enough to make your mouth water and your tummy rumble.
Enjoy this in the morning or the afternoon with your favorite drink for a delightful, light meal.
Gojas are the Guyanese version of the Indian pastry, gujiya.
They’re fried turnovers with a spiced coconut, brown sugar, and ginger filling.
If you haven’t tried this combination of flavors before, get ready for a mind-blowing experience.
From the aroma to the flavors to the unique textures, this filling is the bomb. Encased in crispy and tender pastries, gojas are simply divine.
14. Sponge Cake
Time to head on over to the dessert station!
The Guyanese sponge cake is a decadent yellow cake with a moist and dense consistency.
While called a sponge cake, it’s actually more similar to a pound cake in texture.
Serve it with tea or coffee for an enjoyable afternoon treat.
This recipe uses orange zest to give the cake a nice pop of color. But feel free to give it your own spin.
15. Guyanese Black Cake
This decadent dessert looks like chocolate cake, but don’t be fooled. There’s no chocolate on this cake at all!
The Guyanese black cake gets its iconic color from being soaked in rum. It’s what makes it ridiculously moist, dense, and rich in flavor.
It’s also studded with rum-soaked fruits and nuts. Think of it as the Guyanese version of the fruitcake.
As a bonus, the rum makes the cake keep well for up to a month.
16. Coconut Buns
The Guyanese buns are sweet and coconutty.
Freshly grated coconut gives the bread a unique texture and flavor.
But don’t feel like you can only use freshly grated coconut here. I understand if you don’t have the time!
Dunk these buns in milk or enjoy them with hot tea or coffee. They’ll taste great with cream soda, too.
17. Guyanese Fish Cakes With Mango Sour
Have you ever eaten your fish cakes with a tangy mango sauce on top? You’re in for a treat!
You can use various types of fish for this recipe – from snapper to trout to catfish.
It’ll be crisp on the outside and flaky on the inside, whichever one you pick.
What makes it so special is the mango sour on top! It’s a sauce made of green, unripe mangoes spiced with garlic and peppers.
The tanginess of the sauce makes the fish extra refreshing.
Salara is a yeasted bread with pinkish swirls and a sweet, coconut filling.
It’s a popular street food sold for cheap by bicycle vendors in Guyana. But of course, homemade is so much better.
It looks complicated, but when have I ever shared a difficult recipe with you? This recipe for salara is surprisingly easy, anyone can pull it off.
19. Féroce D’Avocat
My dear millennials, this one’s for you. Feroce d’avocat is a combination of salt cod, cassava, habaneros, and wait for it… avocados.
While it seems like an odd mix, it absolutely works. It’s a salty, rich, and creamy dish similar to guacamole.
In fact, it’s also sometimes referred to as antillais guacamole.
Served in hollowed-out avocados, it’s not only scrumptious but a looker as well.
20. Bacon and Fish Rolls
Small pieces of filleted fish are rolled in bacon and baked to perfection.
Can you just imagine how delectable that combination is? It’s like surf and turf on a different level.
It’s technically an appetizer, but serve it with peas and rice or roti, and you’ll have a delicious meal!
21. Tamarind Balls
This Guyanese delicacy is like sweet ecstasy. My goodness, its wonderful flavor combinations will tickle your tastebuds like no other food would.
All it takes are three ingredients: fresh tamarind pulp, coconut sugar, and granulated sugar for dusting.
But man, the flavor is out-of-this-world fantastic. They’re sweet, salty, tangy, and just plain addictive!
22. Fry Bora With Shrimp and Potatoes
These are long, green beans that originated in China. In Guyana, home cooks chop the beans into shorter pieces and add them to fried rice.
This version, however, does things a little differently. The beans are sauteed in shrimp and potatoes to create a dish that’s a complete meal in itself.
23. Guyana Pholourie
Pholourie is an Indian-influenced dish of deep-fried split peas. The peas are seasoned with curry and other spices, giving them such complex flavors.
The balls are deep-fried, so obviously, they’re very addictive. So much so that you’ll see this snack served at most Guyanese parties and special occasions.
You can snack on them on their own, or dunk them in mango sour or chutney for even more flavor.
24. Guyana Bara
Bara is another dish adopted by the Guyanese from Indian cuisine. These are vegetarian fritters with a split pea base.
Seasoned with cumin, green onion, and turmeric, you can’t deny the wonderful flavors in these crispy fried balls.
I’m pretty sure you won’t even notice they’re vegetarian!
25. Guyanese Beef Patties
These beef patties will be your newest favorite snack.
Buttery and flaky pastry houses a delectable filling of ground beef, peas, and carrots seasoned with garlic, onion, thyme, ketchup, and cassareep.
The patties are baked, not fried, so they’re not greasy at all – just purely amazing.
Make it your own by using your choice of filling. It’s not uncommon for these patties to be filled with other meats, veggies, and even sweets.
26. Cassava Pone
Cassava pone is a dessert made of cassava and pumpkin. Like a cross between a cake and a pudding, it’s delectably moist, sticky, and ooey-gooey.
Besides the sweet cassava, this dessert also contains coconut and butter.
It’s flavored with ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper, too.
You’ll love how the warming spices complement the sweetness of the cassava and pumpkin so well.
27. Guyanese Lime Cookies
Last but not least are these crispy lime cookies that are bursting with citrus flavors and spices.
The combination of lime, nutmeg, and cinnamon creates such bright and warming flavors.
They’re light and refreshing, so don’t be surprised if you snack on them one after another.
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