My fiesta plate experience
I was invited to participate in the Saturday Fiesta Plate Tour a few weeks ago by my friends Leslie Travis, Conrad Berg and Regis Reyes. Leslie is the general manager of Guam Food Tours, Conrad is the finance manager and Regis is the operations manager.
I had a great first impression of the tour. The newly branded and beautifully designed Guam Food Tours van pulled up to the front of the Hilton Hotel lobby, where we were asked to meet, and we were greeted by Regis, Leslie and Leslie’s brother, Dominic. We loaded up into the van for our first stop – Sagan Kotturan Chamoru (Chamorro Cultural Center) – just a couple minutes away.
We walked through the mini museum that was there and learned about the ancient Chamorro artifacts that were on display. We then proceeded to another building where our first meal was already prepared: Beef tinaktak and chicken kelaguen. Both were delicious and savory.
Regis and Dominic served everyone beverages and presented the group with reusable “bulatan” bags for leftovers, just in case anyone couldn’t finish their food and wanted to save it for later. (Those bags have since became a hot item that people want to buy.)
From there, we took a group photo of the spectacular view overlooking Tumon Bay and then loaded up into the van for Chamorro Village. Along the way, Regis talked a little bit about Guam history.
Once we arrived at the Chamorro Village in Hagatna, we sat in the main pavilion and waited for the next meal: “Kadun pika” (spicy chicken) and a refreshing calamansi lemonade. It was so good.
The chicken was perfectly seasoned on a bed of rice. It wasn’t too hot but had enough heat to make your tastebuds water with all the flavors infused into the chicken, rice and sauce. The calamansi lemonade was welcomed as we quenched our thirst. It was paired really well.
We stopped by Chode Mart to look for some local goodies and ate some sweet “manha titiyas” (coconut tortillas) on the way to the Asan Bay Overlook. We learned more about Guam’s history during World War II and looked at the memorial wall with all the names of those that lost their lives and suffered during the war.
We sat down at the overlook bench area and ate tamales “gisu” (made of corn meal, corn flour and comprised of two different flavors and colors). We were offered more beverages and then loaded up in the van and drove to our last stop at Lemmai Cafe. We had the bunelos aga’ (banana donuts).
The group was stuffed from eating these different local dishes, and it wasn’t a surprise that some of us (namely, me) started to feel sleepy. Leslie called it the “itis” – that drowsy feeling after eating large amounts of food. Usually someone falls asleep on their tours – and it’s perfectly fine! I fought off the sleepy feeling just in time to arrive back at the Hilton.
One final group photo and our three-and-half-hour tour was over. I had to lay down in my car afterward to digest my food and wake up. Haha.
I highly recommend Guam Food Tours to all local residents and visitors. It’s one of the best ways to get know the local culture, cuisine and learn more about Guam’s history. The Guam Food Tours team are currently putting together different tour options as well. So there’s more to look forward to. I can’t wait to try it again.
Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Guests are picked up and dropped off at a designated meeting point in Tumon.
Prices: Adults, $75; military, $60; residents, $50; ages under, 12, $40. Applications available online.