Homemade Bark Mauby (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

A few years ago, I wrote a column on my 5 must-try foods/beverages in Guyana after reading an article in LIAT’s Zing Magazine about 5 must-try foods in Guyana. What I found after writing that column is that any must-try list would vary not only because we are all different people, but that the choices would be determined by nostalgia, perspective, and whether you live in Guyana or outside of Guyana.

I am more interested to find out what people living in Guyana would list as their 5-must try. So, what say you? I believe that people living at home would tend to have a more intimate knowledge of what truly reflects the taste of Guyana because they eat it daily. Choosing 5 must-try foods for Guyana is no easy task simply because there is so much to choose from.

With Guyana’s tourism on the rise and its recent ranking as the # 1 “Best Ecotourism” destination in the world, questions abound about the must-try or must-have foods and drinks in Guyana.

In reviewing my list from several years ago, I felt sure that I was going to make changes, but you know what? I couldn’t. But I did find myself sneaking in a couple of things, and you can find those in italics.

Here’s my original 5:

  1. Ice-cold Mauby brewed from the bark, flavoured with spices and sweetened with the only gold in Guyana that matters – Demerara Gold (brown sugar). I would suggest that you get recommendations from people on the ground where is the best place to get the Mauby, barring that, get it homemade.
  2. Cook-up Rice with the works and all the extras. With the works means with a variety of meats. A pot of Cook-up Rice shows the skill of a cook to cook ingredients that necessitate varying degrees of cook-times that should culminate in the rice, peas or beans, and meats being finished at the same time and not being over or undercooked, pasty, wet or soupy. The extras – fried fish, and fried ripe plantains along with some lettuce, slices of cucumbers and tomatoes complete a meal of Cook-up Rice. Homemade is best but if buying, get recommendations from people on the ground.
  3. Cassava ball with sour. Get it while it is still very warm to enjoy the creamy texture of the mashed, seasoned cassava. Slice, or make an indentation with your thumb and spoon some slightly tart, hot sour. It is one of Guyana’s best street foods. Get recommendations on the ground.
    Cassava Ball with Mango Sour (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

    I would add to this Dhal puri with 2 fish cakes and lots of sour or lashings of some hot pepper sauce. The fish cakes are to be wrapped in the Dhal puri making it easy to eat while standing, sitting, or even driving!
  4. Curry – whether it is meat, poultry or seafood, a Guyanese-curry is not like any other curry. It is not South Indian, it is not North Indian, and it is not even West Indian, it is Guyanese. To have an extra special curry, buy poultry or pork with skin that has been roasted/charred, the smokiness adds another depth of flavour to the curry. Home-cooked curry is the best.
  5. This last recommendation is a combo – Tennis Roll and Cheese with Cream Soda and Milk. This is full of nostalgia for me, I especially enjoyed this as a child. The cheese must be cheddar. The Cream Soda must be Icee and the milk should be Nestle Carnation, but you can try any other quality, canned evaporated milk. To get the full flavour of the cheese, ensure that it is at room temperature.
    Tennis Roll and Cheese (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

    Get recommendations on where to get the best Tennis Rolls. Well-made Guyanese pastries – pine tarts, patties, cheese rolls, cheese pies are second to none. They are European-influenced but we have definitely made them or own with the use of rich short crust pastry dough as well as the quality, taste and flavour of the fillings.

Let’s create our own 5 must-try lists to share with each other and visitors alike. You can share them on the Tastes Like Home Facebook page or via Twitter @tasteslikehome, in the comments section on the Tastes Like Home page on Stabroek News, in the comments section on the Tastes Like Home blog, or, you can inbox me at: cynthia@tasteslikehome.org. Wherever, and if you can, please indicate where to go to and buy your recommendations (if they are not homemade).




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