Planning a trip to Guam and wondering what to eat in Guam? Here are the 10 best Guam dishes and desserts to try! As you’ll see, the list includes also Chamorro desserts and Chamorro dishes that taste amazing!
Guam has a burgeoning food scene with numerous options to choose from. Spanish, Asian and American flavors hold sway on the island and have heavily inspired the local flavors. We rounded the best Guamanian dishes that you must try on your next visit to Guam.
10 best Guamanian dishes
Known as Hineksa Agaga in Chamorro, red rice is a staple on the tables of Guamanians. The rice gets its color from achote seeds, which release a natural dye when soaked in water.
The rice is cooked in this colored water with additional ingredients, like bacon, onion, garlic, and peas, to add a depth of flavor.
This dish takes its name from the Chamorro words “kadon” meaning spicy and “pika” meaning stew. It’s literally a spicy stew — a very apt description for a bowl of simmered meat, coconut milk, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, black pepper, onions, garlic, and chili peppers.
Chicken is the most popular meat to simmer in this stew. The dish is pleasingly well balanced in flavor because the spice from the peppers is toned down by the sweet creaminess of the coconut milk.
It’s delicious when ladled over a bed of rice.
A popular dish at Guamanian get-togethers, Kelanuen uses lemon juice as the base for a sour and spicy marinade of onions, peppers, salt, and grated coconut.
Cooked meat is added to this base sauce to create a tangy, ceviche-like dish that dances with flavor.
Grilled chicken is the most popular choice for kelaguen, but beef, shrimp, squid, or even Spam can be used, too. Be sure to ask for it at cafes in Guam.
First introduced to the island during the Spanish era, eskabeche is a dish of poached or fried fish and vegetables, marinated in a vinegar sauce. It’s a simple homey meal packed with flavor.
Finadenne and Cucumber Salad
Finadenne sauce is ubiquitous in kitchens across Guam. Consider it the all-purpose sauce of the island. A deceptively simple blend of salty, sour, and spicy, it is served with everything from barbecue to plain rice.
The base ingredients are soy sauce and vinegar to which you add as much chopped onions, pepper, and tomatoes as you would like.
Finadenne is often poured over sliced cucumbers to make a spicy, fresh salad that is served as a side dish during a meal.
Latiya is a derivative of the Spanish word natilla or milk custard. This classic Guamanian dessert features a sweet creamy custard, layered over a bed of thick cake slices, and topped with a dusting of cinnamon powder.
Almost any kind of cake can be used for the base of a latiya. Popular choices range from vanilla sponge cake to well-spiced carrot cake.
The key is to evenly space the placement of the cake slices to leave room for the custard to seep into the nooks and crannies. This ensures a delicious helping of custard with every bite.
Three kinds of Buñuelos: Buñuelos Aga, Buñuelos Dḁgu and Buñuelos Manglo
Buñuelos are fried dough fritters found in many areas of the world. Guam’s version is akin to the doughnut. Buñuelos Aga or banana doughnuts are fried dough balls made of mashed bananas, cinnamon, vanilla, flour, and sugar.
Once fried, they are rolled in maple syrup.
Buñuelos Dḁgu, on the other hand, are yam-based.
They are synonymous with the holiday season for many a Guamanian because yams in Guam are typically harvested in December and used to make these fritters.
Buñuelos Manglo are known as typhoon doughnuts. The name loosely translates from Chamorro to mean “air doughnuts,” and it is often made during stormy weather as comfort food.
Unlike the other two buñuelos that are balls, Buñuelos Manglo are rolled out and cut into triangles before being fried and dusted with sugar.
Coconut candy is a classic childhood treat, dear to the hearts of Guamanians. Just two ingredients are needed. Freshly grated coconut flakes are mixed with sugar that has been melted and caramelized.
Once the two ingredients are combined, they are scooped into balls and wrapped in plastic.
Manha is the sweet tender meat of young green coconuts. Manha pie is a delectable coconut pie made of three layers. It consists of a flaky pie crust bottom, rich coconut custard filling, and is topped with creamy swirls of pillow soft meringue.
Make sure to grab a slice or two during your stay.
Local Cookies: Rosketti and Guyuria
Guyuria (pronounced gu-ju-ree-ah) cookies are Guam’s version of the jawbreaker. These rock-hard cookies are made with flour, sugar, and coconut milk. Unlike traditional cookies that are baked, guyuria dough is deep-fried to a golden brown.
Once cooked, a warm sugar glaze is poured over the cookies to harden them even further. These cookies keep for a long time in an airtight container and make the perfect gift for friends back home.
Rosketti is another popular Guamanian cookie. These cookies are similar to butter cookies in shape and size but vary in texture. They are made with a large amount of cornstarch, which gives the cookie a very crumbly and starchy texture. Be sure to have a glass of water or milk next to you when you give these a try.
This list is just a sampling of all the delicious dishes that await you in Guam. Make sure to ask the locals you meet for their favorites, too.