Being a culturally diverse location, the American island territory of Guam is also a place where you can find a melting pot of culinary traditions from all over the world. On top of the native Chamorro offerings, recipes and methods of preparation originating from the Philippines, Europe, Mexico, China, Japan, Korea, and other places around the world have also found their way to the island.
The fact that Guamanian gastronomy is so rich and colorful is not so surprising at all, considering that Guam has been at the crossroads of global trade for centuries. Between 1565 and 1815, it was an important stop for the Manila Galleons, which plied the sea routes of the Pacific carrying goods, people, and ideas from Asia to the Americas and back again. Since then, the island has been an important center of trade, commerce, and cultural exchange in the Pacific.
Whether you’re a native of Guam, a permanent resident, or a temporary visitor to the island, there is certainly so much to explore here when it comes to food and dining. In this short guide, we’ll give you a few quick and easy tips to help you eat like royalty in Guam!
Check Out Guam’s Star Steakhouses
Guam may be miles away from the US mainland, but make no mistake; this island is very much part of the United States, and this means you can find all your all-time favorite American dishes being served in restaurants here. In fact, steakhouses are among the most popular dining destinations on the island. Make sure to check out Alfredo’s Steakhouse, Churrasco Brazilian Steakhouse and Salad Bar, Table 35 Restaurant and Bar, and Tony Rama’s, which are all located in Tamuning.
Sample Local Chamorro Favorites
Naturally, you wouldn’t want to miss all the amazing indigenous and indigenized delicacies that the Chamorro people have enjoyed for many years. Chamorro restaurants throughout the island serve local favorites like kelaguen (marinated meat served with flour titiyas), hotnon babui (roasted pork), tinala katne (dried cured beef), and eskabeche (fish in vinegar sauce).
A lot of these savory dishes are served with red rice, which is prepared by cooking rice with achote (which gives it its red coloring), spices, and a sprinkling of meat fat. Guamanians also typically enjoy these dishes with a side dish simply called cucumber salad, a preparation that is marinated in a mixture of chili peppers, soy sauce, and vinegar.
Don’t Forget to Try Guamanian Desserts
Guam is also well-known for its delectable sweet treats, which incorporate local ingredients and reflect the island’s multi-cultural character. Chief among these are the buñelos aga, which are spherical banana donuts that are typically enjoyed during rainy weather; latiya, a custard cake that was likely derived from the Spanish natilla; apigige, a dessert made with coconut and cassava wrapped in banana leaves; potu, which are tuba-flavored rice cake similar to the Filipino puto; and guyuria, which are sometimes known as “fried Guamanian jawbreakers” because they are coated with a sugary syrup that hardens after they dry. Most bakeries in Guam serve these delicious desserts, so make sure to drop by a few so you can sample them along with other many treats not mentioned here.
Enjoy a Dining Experience with Views of the Ocean
When you’re in a beautiful tropical island destination like Guam, there’s probably no better way to enjoy the place than by having a seaside dining experience. Some of the best restaurants in Guam with a view of the ocean include Tasi Grill at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort, Breezes at the Hyatt Regency Guam, La Seine at the Lotte Hotel, and Soi, also at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort.
Additionally, Guam has some of the freshest seafood in the world, so make sure to sample seafood offerings in restaurants when you could. Some of Guam’s most popular seafood dishes include grilled guihan (fish), kelaguen uhang (unshelled shrimp marinated in lemon juice, salt, and chili pepper), kadon gamson (octopus in coconut cream), and stuffed pång’lao (land crab).
Visit the Chamorro Village Market
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Guam’s local culture and culinary scene is to visit a night market. The Chamorro Village Market in Guam’s capital of Hagåtña, for example, is a night market where you can expect to find food stalls sitting side by side with those selling fresh produce and all sorts of arts and crafts.
Here, you can enjoy skewered barbecue offerings alongside other traditional Guam dishes and fresh fruit juices. Local dance groups and musicians provide entertainment, even as visitors enjoy cultural activities like carabao (water buffalo) rides. The market is also very near other places of interest, including the Guam Museum, Hagatna Marina, and the Paseo de Susana Park.
Guam may be quite a small place, but there’s certainly no shortage of options here when it comes to food and dining. May you enjoy your stay in this beautiful island in the middle of the Pacific!