In attraction-starved San Pedro Sula, Honduras, you have better luck finding an air-conditioned mall and an Applebee’s then anything of real culinary interest. That is if you don’t know where to look.
Between 8 and 9 Avenida and 6 and 7 Calles NO, the Guamilito Market, city’s largest marketplace and one of the most touristy in the country, is like a giant maze of airport handicraft stalls that hide in their midst a traditional Latin American market. The handicraft part is larger and holds good from all over Honduras, as well as from Guatemala and El Salvador. There are hammocks, Lenca pottery, cheap T-shirts, beaded jewelry, and Garífuna coconut carvings. Export quality coffee – along with poor quality coffee – can be found too. Like I said though, there’s a real market place lurking within. Get off the main drag and you’ll come to butcher stalls, produce sections, and cheap Honduran dishes. The real gem though is the line of women making tortillas by hand. From corn meal to toasting the tortillas on the grill, you can sit and watch the entire process from start to finish. It’s not a tourist attraction by any means. They don’t mind photos, though kick them a few extra Lempira or buy a few tortillas for good karma. The market is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
San Pedro Sula has some of the best restaurants in Honduras, though many are hard to find among the midwestern quantity of fast food joints. Not far from the plaza, just a few blocks north, is Plaza Típica Coracts at Av. 3a NO and Calle 3a NO., which is by far the best food court in Honduras. Real Honduran – and Salvadoran, Mexican, and Guatemalan – recipes are here. While there is a craft market next door, a few tourists do wander in, but for the most part the food is authentic and oriented towards to diverse population that lives in downtown San Pedro Sula. There are approximately twenty stalls and most focus on regional dishes from places such as Olancho, Colón, Yoro, Cortés, and Atlantída. There are baleadas, Garifuna seafood stews, Chuletas de Cerdo (pork chops), and pupusas. The market is covered from the blazing sun, but lacks walls so the air still can break through. In general, standards are high. No credit cards. Plaza Típica Coracts is open daily 8am–5pm and dishes run between 55–100 lempira.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.