Before leaving Santiago Atitlan, we decided to grab something to bring back to the hotel with us. You see, our hotel, is pretty isolated, and at night things are locked down pretty tight for the safety of the customers. And we weren't too thrilled with the food at the Hotel, and of course, we weren't staying there for the food anyway.
I mentioned the intense love of "Pollo Frito", fried chicken the locals and tourists alike have for Guatemalan Fried Chicken. And nowhere was it more apparent than in Santiago. There were three fried chicken joints steps from the main intersection in town, two of them right next to each other!
Choosing the "right" Pollo Frito joint was easy for us. Only one shop was doing some major business.
They could hardly keep up with the chicken...only legs for us, no pechuga (breast) por favor....
And there was something else that caught my eye.....
Chicharron en Pollo - fried chicken skin. Of course the Missus bought a dozen tortillas from the stand outside the shop. The Missus and I joked that the pollo frito places in Santiago had Antigua beat hands down. Whereas in Antigua, you bought tortillas picked from a basket, in Santiago, they made the tortillas fresh right outside the chicken joint!
And so the fried chicken started its long journey back to our room. First, from Santiago back to San Pedro. At the top of the hill from the embarcadero, we decided to give ourselves (chicken included) a break. We hadn't checked the Internet in a few days, so we stopped, and went about checking email. To our surprise, we had received a few emails asking us if we had heard about the swine flu outbreak in Mexico. We had been incommunicado for a couple of days, so we hadn't heard anything. We decided to follow-up when we returned to Antigua the following day. We made our way down the hill to the muelle to catch our lancha back to Lomas de Tzununa. It turned out that the captain of our boat, was the one who returned us to our pier the day before. He greeted us with a smile, and said "Lomas de Tzununa muelle"? And the fried chicken began the second leg(no pun intended) of its journey. Returning, the sky started getting dark, and a few sprinkles started falling. Apparently the rainy season was starting, and just as the previous day, the late afternoon would be punctuated with a few thunderstorms. Making a soft docking at the pier, the captain smiled and gave us a big thumbs up as he pulled away.
There was, of course, the 400 steps back up to our room........
And though the steps were a bit easier this time around, the stairs were still winning the battle. I recall murmuring(more like gasping) to myself, "this chicken better be darn good" about halfway up the stairs. I don't think too much sweat fell on the precious chicken......
So was this worth the effort?
Even with the understanding that the chicken probably tasted better because of the effort, I'd say unequivocally, yes! The flavor was a bit different from Pollo Campero, there was almost a mild curry flavor hiding in the background. The skin was not as good in flavor as Pollo Campero, but the flesh was. The flesh was not as tasty as the chicken from Comedor Elenita, but it was a close second. Taking this into consideration, this chicken came out as the best overall on our trip.
As good as that chicken was, the fried chicken skin was even better.
These were fantastic! Amazingly crisp and light. Though I enjoyed the flavor of the fried chicken skin in Thailand, there was a gummy-ness to them, and also an aftertaste that reminded you of where the skin came from. These were just plain crack-tastic!
The Missus also had a few granadilla (golden passionfruit) which were a bit on the watery side.
Man this was good....as was watching the "fireflies" at night.
We awoke the next morning having had our fill of peace and quiet. It was time to move on. We were on our way back to Antigua, then Flores and Tikal.