Cheeseburger in Paradise
By Elena Alvarado
Following up on last month’s review of Xela’s fried chicken scene, this month we’ll chow down on another of Guatemala’s most common menu items: the hamburger. Well, actually the cheeseburger because we like cheese.
We use a side-by-side comparison to rate Xela’s most popular burger outposts based on their combo meal. [As a side note, for public health reasons, the XelaWho editorial board does not recommend attempting this side-by-side comparison, unless you have really good health insurance.]
Ricca Burguer, located just a couple of blocks from central park, wins the award for restaurant most closely resembling a smoke filled backyard barbeque. The lovely burger smell pervading the restaurant (and your clothes when you leave) matches the tastiness of their burger. Unfortunately, the flavorful meat patty is lost in an overly thick bun piled high with messy condiments. The combo, Q22, comes with a very good refresco and a small order of mealy french fries.
QueDely offers a variety of increasingly complex burger options and while the Tejano burger (two times the meat, cheese, and bacon plus a fried egg) was very tempting, we stuck to the rules of the challenge and got a Q31 cheeseburger combo (which includes average fries and a 600ml bottle of soda). While the hamburger patty was thin, it was very flavorful. The bun was the perfect: thick enough to contain the juices and keep things from getting too messy, but thin enough not to obscure the burger’s flavor. Located at the edge of La Democracia market in zone 3, one really does leave thinking: what a delicious burger.
As part of this magazine’s egalitarian ethic, we included the Guateburguer food cart in the challenge. Located in a sea of similarly named carts on Parque Benito Juarez in zone 3, they offer a cheeseburger for an economical Q11 (no combo meals here). While the fried onions and tomatoes sprinkled on top are a nice touch, any flavor the burger might possess is lost in the sea of sauces (typically, a thick layer of mayonnaise was automatically applied). With an overly thick bun, this burger is a degree from edible (which side of edible depends on your affinity for mayonnaise heavy street food).
Finally, we stacked local competitors against the world’s burger superpower: McDonald’s. Given that you’ve likely consumed a McDonald’s cheeseburger, we’ll keep it short by saying that while the fries are hands downs the best, the cheeseburger is fairly tasteless. At Q32 for a combo meal, you’d get a tastier burger for your money by eschewing fries and getting one of the monster specimens at the winner of this contest: QueDely