Of all the elements that make Guam a unique destination, the delicious local cuisine is one of the pillars. Chamorro cuisine is a melting pot of bold flavors that infuses native tradition with Pacific Island, Spanish, and Asian influences.
Food has always been at the heart of Chamorro culture and the people of Guam are known for their love of getting together and sharing good food. Red rice, chicken kelaguen and barbecue are some of the superstars of Chamorro cuisine, but there are many other dishes that locals grew up with and remind them of home.
One of those dishes is beef tinaktak (ground beef in coconut milk). It is a local comfort dish that is easy to prepare at home. To make beef tinaktak, you’ll need:
• 1 onion
• 4 to 5 cloves of garlic
• 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
• 2 lbs ground beef
• 1 lb long beans or green beans (trimmed and cut to 2”)
• 1 can of coconut milk
• 1 lemon
• green onion (for garnish)
• salt and pepper
1. Slice onion and garlic and sauté in 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat.
2. Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan. Sauté until onions are translucent.
3. Remove the onions and tomatoes from the pan and set aside.
4. Brown the ground beef in the same pan. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Drain fat from the ground beef. Mix the onions and tomatoes in the pan with the ground beef.
6. Add the green beans.
7. Add the coconut milk and mix well. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes. You want the tomatoes to be soft, but the beans to still have a bit of a crunch.
8. Turn off heat and add the juice of 1 lemon. Serve with rice, and garnish with green onions.
Ground beef can be substituted by ground turkey, chicken, salmon, white fish, and tofu. Try them all and find out which one is your favorite!
In this step-by-step video, local chef and restaurant owner Lenny Fejeran shows us how simple it is to Cook Like a Chamorro and prepare beef tinaktak.
to see the video
Lenny Fejeran and his wife Pika are the owners Pika’s Café, a popular restaurant known for using fresh local ingredients in dishes that reflect the savory goodness of Chamorro cuisine. The restaurant is always buzzing with locals and visitors who are there to enjoy the food and service that has earned consistent all-star ratings on TripAdvisor, Facebook and Yelp. The award-winning restaurant is open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch.
Open daily 7 a.m. – 3 p.m .