10 Must-Try Local Food In Guam

10 Must-Try Local Food In Guam
Trip101 Editorial
Trip101 Editorial 
| 5 min read

Nestled in the Pacific’s Micronesia region, Guam is a US island territory mainly inhabited by the Chamorro people. The Chamorro culture is largely combined with American and Spanish traditions, as well as Filipino, Mexican, and Micronesian culture. The native inhabitants of the island mainly lived on taro, coconut, and rice, but have since incorporated tortillas, tamales, and other Mexican food since the Spanish trade with Asia.

The wide variety of dishes on the island makes for an unforgettable gastronomic experience for travelers. A wonderland to foodies, Guam may be the place to find your next favorite comfort food. Come have a culinary adventure and take a look at the must-try local food in Guam.

Guam's Air V&V Travel Program

Air V&V Guam - Vaccination and vacation
Source: Air V&V Guam

Traveling has been quite a challenge since the pandemic began, but tourism initiatives are starting to come in place, allowing you to experience the world’s wonders again. Guam offers you Air V&V, a vaccination and vacation program that gives travelers the option to be vaccinated in the comfort of a participating hotel. The program is available for those aged 12 and above, who may choose among Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, if available. You may get your first jab as soon as the day after your arrival. Take this opportunity to be a responsible traveler and have a worry-free vacation!

Air V&V Guam

Click below for more information about Guam’s Air V&V (vaccination and vacation) program.

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1. Chamorro bistek

Bistek is a shortened term and a Spanish loan word (bistec) for beef steak. The dish is mainly thin beef strips cooked in citrus and soy sauce then topped with aromatics such as onion. The dish originated in Spain as bistec encebollado, which just means steak and onions. Most of the former Spanish colonies have their own unique twist to the dish.

Guam’s Chamorro bistek typically includes achiote seeds for a unique flavor that blends well with the citrus or vinegar. This bistek variation also has peas as its main ingredient.

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2. Kalamai

One of the best traditional desserts in Guam is kalamai. This pudding is made from Chamorro corn and coconut and is often called coconut gelatin. Its ingredients include coconut milk, sugar, and water, and then it’s thickened using cornstarch.

Some would include red or green food coloring to brighten the dessert or include vanilla for more flavor depth. Sprinkled on top is a little bit of cinnamon. Once the mixture is the right thick consistency, it is cooled down to almost a Jell-o-like firmness and then it’s ready to be served!

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3. Kelaguen

Kelaguen 1534 (14529937155)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user photosbybonbon671 used under CC BY 2.0

If you love ceviche, you may enjoy a similar dish. The term kelaguen comes from the Philippine dish kilawin, which was introduced by Filipino settlers during the Spanish colonization.

This Chamorro dish mixes salt, lemon juice, green onion, fresh coconut, and hot peppers to marinate raw shrimp, fish, or beef. The meat will be cooked by the acids, but there are versions where already-cooked chicken is made into kelaguen. The dish is typically served cold and as a side dish, but it may also be the main course eaten with rice or warm titiyas - the Chamorro version of corn or flour tortillas.

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4. Latiya

One of the classic Chamorro desserts is latiya. This is essentially cake cranked up to the next level. On the bottom, you have your cake of choice, which is traditionally pound cake, and then poured over it is a pudding mixture of coconut milk, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla extract, butter, and sweetened coconut flakes thickened by cornstarch. Once the pudding covers the cake entirely, cinnamon powder is generously sprinkled on top.

If you have a sweet tooth, this classic dish in Guam is a must-try!

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5. Eneksa agaga

Eneksa agaga, or Saipan red rice, is one of the most versatile dishes of the Chamorro people. It is often served during fiestas and pairs well with grilled chicken or fish. The rice gets its vibrant orange-red color from achiote seeds soaked in water. Once the seeds have been soaked for half an hour, it is poured over rice, bacon, and onion, and then brought to a boil until the liquid disappears. This is great comfort food that’s easy to make, even on your own!

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6. Kadon pika

One of the heartiest meals to try in Guam is kadon pika, or spicy chicken stew. The chicken is cooked in soy sauce and vinegar base mixed with rich coconut milk. Saute your aromatics and then add your salted and peppered chicken before glazing it with the soy sauce and vinegar. If you fancy a kick, add chopped hot peppers too! The coconut comes in the last five minutes of your cooking time. We bet you already know which food this pairs oh-so-well with. Rice, of course!

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7. Estufao

Another great pick-me-up meal that you should try when in Guam is estufao. It is similar to kadon pika with the coconut milk omitted. This Chamorro dish is extremely easy to make too!

You have your choice of meat in the pot, poured over with soy sauce, vinegar, water, as well as crushed garlic cloves and bay leaf for additional aroma. It is cooked to tender perfection over a low fire until the meat is at your desired softness. Some variations of this dish include potatoes. As is the case with most delicious Chamorro dishes, estufao is best served with steaming hot rice.

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8. Guyuria

How about a traditional cookie for your sweet tooth? Guyuria is known for its rock-hard texture and has often been called jawbreaker cookies. This simple dessert is made with flour, coconut milk, and sugar glaze. This dish gets its name from guyuria board, a ridged dough board in which the shape of the cookie is made. These cookies are deep-fried and coated in sugar glaze once cooled. The cookie itself isn’t too sweet, and the flavor comes mainly from the glaze. Its not-too-sweet taste makes it a great snack!

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9. Buñelos uhang

If you’re a fan of fritters, this is a food you’d go head over heels for in Guam. Buñelos uhang is shrimp and vegetables deep-fried to crispy goodness. The vegetables are often a mix of green beans and peas included in a shrimp batter that may sometimes be made with beer. The dish is often served with kelaguen in Guamanian homes and is usually eaten as an appetizer during Chamorro fiestas. It’s a great bar food, if you ask us!

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10. Chamorro barbecue

chamorro bbq meat & fried rice plate
Source: Photo by Flickr user Janine used under CC BY 2.0

A vacation in the tropics calls for a barbecue feast. Chamorro barbecues are some of the tastiest meats you’ll ever sink your teeth into. The meat, oftentimes pork rib racks, is marinated overnight in a mixture of white vinegar, soy sauce, onion, minced garlic cloves, pepper, and MSG.

This dish is versatile, and you are welcome to add your own twist and take on it when you try it out. Some other variations of Chamorro barbecue include the addition of ketchup, lemon, and many more!

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Come and have a taste of Guam

Guam food is one of the most diverse in the Pacific, having been influenced by neighboring countries like the Philippines and once being a colony of Spain and a trade area. Like those in Asia, the people of Guam also have a great love for rice. All their hearty meat stews are a testament to that.

We hope that with this list of must-try local food in Guam, we’re leaving you with a hunger to visit this beautiful island!

Air V&V Guam

Click below for more information about Guam’s Air V&V (vaccination and vacation) program.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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