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Recession Obsession: Guatemalan Fast Food

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Guatemalteca's Market Features Many Latin American Favorites
The Official Recession has enveloped us for sixteen official months. It’s still no reason we can’t enjoy life. This is LA -- we have a ton of inexpensive options! A Recession Obsession is truly fantastic, regardless of whether times are good or you've been downsized. We last obsessed over LA's inexpensive comedy shows, and the sweet baked goods at the panderia. Today, we obsess...

The Dow Jones can’t decide if she wants to push ahead of 8,000 for good. Her fickle score reminds us of how few sheckles we should spend on grub. Thanks to a delicious abundance of Latin American cuisine in Los Angeles, that's quite alright. (We recently dug pupusas)

A block off the Metro Red Line's Vermont & Santa Monica stop can be found LAist’s latest Recession Obsession: Guatemalteca. This Guatemalan market and fast food joint is a few doors from hotspot El Gran Burrito. Spend your money there another day -- you can't afford to eat out twice.

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Hot Food

The large menu behind that counter rests easy on the eyes. Nothing costs more than $6. Many antojitos are only $2-$3 each. Favorite drinks like Jarritos and horchata run the standard $1-$2.

Guatemalteca features your Pan-Central American favorites -- whether they’re tastes of home, or new-to-you discoveries. Through the glass you’ll see platanos, mole, tamales, pupusas (one of my favorites in town) and various meats soaking in sauces. Sometimes I'll let my eyes do the ordering.

Guatemalteca is so busy that you don’t have to worry about food sitting under a heat lamp all day. Hang out for a few and you’ll see runners from the kitchen refilling and replacing vats of good times. Guatemalteca is nice and clean too. It still has that new-Central-American-fast-food-joint smell.

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Though some speak English, Spanish is the preferred language of Guatemalteca. If you failed high school Spanish, the point-to-what-looks-tasty-while-smiling method always works wonders.


The market portion of Guatmelateca features a variety of processed and recently packaged goods. If there’s a Central American recipe you’re dying to make at home, odds are that key ingredient is here. You can also pretend to have made such a recipe. The refrigerated cases house packages of colorful pre-made sauces.

The display of sweets -- from pan dulce, to pastries, to icing-covered deserts -- all look wonderful. Good news. They’re within your limited budget.

  • Guatemalteca 4770 Santa Monica Blvd | Hollywood | Los Angeles 90029 | (323) 663-8307

Photos by Caleb Bacon for LAist

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Where do you get your cheap Central American grub? Comment below!