food in guam

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Mangilao Night Market

It’s nice to get out of Tumon to visit other villages. I finally went to the Mangilao Thursday night market! I don’t spend much time in Mangilao, but I will be going back to this market. Most markets in Guam start either super early in the morning (4am) or in the evening because of the heat. I’m not sure what time this night market starts because some of the vendors said they had been there since 3pm and sold out of most of their food. We left our house at around 6:30pm and stayed for maybe an hour. By that time, some of the vendors were starting to close up.

The market is located in a park next to the church and when we walked in, a lady on a loud speaker was calling out numbers from what I assume was a drawing they held. When she was done, they started playing island style music from a stereo. I immediately spotted the elusive tamale guy! Actually, I learned that his name is T.C. and he is from Guam but lived in The States, where he learned how to make pretty delicious Mexican food. He now sells them at various markets on island. He’s always very nice and friendly and we like to support his business. We bought some beef tamales and drinks.

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Across from him there was another food stand where I ordered a plate (pancit, bbq chicken sticks, lumpia). There weren’t too many places to sit, but we found some bleachers next to the playground and ate our meals. SOOOO yummy!

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After that we walked through the rows of vendors. Some were selling used items and some new, lots of fresh local produce, clothing, DVDs, handcrafted wooden tables, shell jewelry, and lots of other things! If you’re looking for an old school video game (NES, Super Nintendo, PS, original Gameboy…) you might want to check some of these vendors because they sell used games for older consoles.

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I’m always on the lookout for locally made products, which seem to be hard to find, and stumbled upon this booth. They had a variety of locally made products. One of the vendors ran over to me as I walked away and handed me their business card. The website is pretty cool and I’m definitely a supporter of the small business owner. They sell individual products and gift baskets, for those of you who are homesick, you should visit their website Guam Gift Baskets and for those of us who just want some cool products like coconut oil sugar scrub, body oil (a fav of mine for my hair), cookies, tea, clothing and other handmade items.

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On our way out we met a very friendly man who was trying to raise money for his cousin or sister who was running for Donne Queen for the Donne Festival! We bought a book of raffle tickets from them because they were so nice and funny.

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The Donne festival is in September and will be at the same location as the night market. Thanks for a good night Mangilao!

 

My Favorite Places to Eat Part 2

Hey all!!! Peter and I sometimes feel like we run out of indoor things to do in Guam. We’re always asking, “What do people in Guam do for fun?!?!” The answer seems to be, “Eat!” So we’ve been eating a lot and I’d like to make you hungry! I went to TuRe’ Cafe for the Friday night music performance and had a delicious burger. For Peter’s birthday we had an extremely good steak dinner at the very fancy Avenue Steak & Lobster in Tumon. I don’t eat beef often, but there wasn’t much of a choice and Avenue’s steak was SO good!

Overall my experience in Guam has been that many restaurants lack in customer service. It seems that once we have been seated and our order taken, no one comes to check on us again for the rest of the meal. I’ve grown used to this, but I don’t let it stop me from eating! We walked out once at Samurai when they ignored us for 30 minutes while we were waiting for our order to be taken. We watched three groups of people seated and served, we’ve never gone back since. Also, something that annoys Peter is the service charge that is automatically charged to the bill at most restaurants in Tumon. I’ve seen this done before in countries where tipping isn’t customary. I’m not quite sure where the service charge goes and if you’re still supposed to leave a full tip or the difference in the service charge (usually 10-15%).

Vitales vs. Capricciosa-

Both of these are Italian restaurants. Capricciosa is a little bland, family-style eating, will fill you but not something you’d want to pay for. Many of my coworkers had suggested Capricciosa’s seafood dishes, since I don’t eat seafood, maybe those are better than the chicken Alfredo dish I ordered. After all the hype I heard about Capricciosa, I was so disappointed and will never go there again! Vitales seems more authentic to me. I was actually skeptical of Vitales after my less than satisfactory meal at Capricciosa. I ordered the tortellini filled with cheese covered in a creamy white  sauce (a lactose intolerant person’s nightmare). Peter had some tubular pasta in red sauce. My meal was very good, rich, and I order it every time I go there. Each meal came with a loaf of bread. We didn’t know that so we ordered a side of cheesy bread. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and flavor.  Although the service is terrible, in my opinion, Vitales wins this battle!

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Fuji Ichiban-

You can’t come to Guam without eating here. On top of the great Japanese food, it’s opened 24/7!! If you see a line and it looks crowded, be warned, your service will probably be terrible. My favorites are the gyoza and fried sweet and sour chicken. It’s very loud and busy and whenever you enter they welcome you in Japanese! This is one place I will miss if I ever leave Guam. Peter assured me that we would be able to find restaurants like this anywhere. He also said this was like Japanese fast food, but who cares, it’s so good!

House of Brutus-

This is a favorite of mine. Drinks, burgers and GREAT music. What more could you ask for?

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Misoya-

This is my favorite ramen place so far. Misoya is on Fujita Road in Tumon. They use all fresh and natural ingredients. I had ever tried ramen until I came to Guam. I first tried it at Ajisen and I thought it was OKAY.  Then a friend recommended Misoya, which we’d seen once while walking by. The servers were quick, attentive, and very informative. I had a very pleasant time here, the ramen is delicious and I can’t wait to go back!

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 Mosa’s Joint-

Peter said this place is his new favorite burger place. He ordered the mushroom burger and I had the Greek Platter with chicken. Average prices for Guam, good food. At first we thought it was going to be one of those shady bars like the bar next to it. But when we opened the doors and walked in, it was nothing like we thought. The outside is deceiving because when you walk in, it’s small, with tables, colorful local artwork on the walls, and great food! Award-winning burgers!

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Other places to try:

  • Al Dente Italian restaurant in the Hyatt Regency in Tumon (semi-fine dining). Try the gnocchi!!
  • Sakura House Japanese food in Upper Tumon. I didn’t enjoy this because it was mostly seafood, but Peter said it was really good and he wants to go back.
  • Pho Noodle House in Tamuning good Pho and lumpia!
  • Von’s Chicken (one of my favorites!!!!) I love the garlic, boneless chicken!!! Another of my most favorite places to eat.
  • Sea Grill- Peter and I ate here for Valentine’s Day. I only wanted to go because I had tasted their chicken empanadas once and was craving them. They are so good and the service is very good.

Skip the food at The Beach Bar on Gun Beach. Recently, they’ve changed their menu. The prices are the same, but the food is TERRIBLE. They’ve gone for cheap food, high prices. Too bad.

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Go Eat!

This Sunday (May 4th), was one of the best days I’ve had in Guam.  We were invited to the Inarajan fiesta again!!!!! I’ve been counting down the days to the fiesta since Peter came home and told me.  Last year was the first time I’d ever been to a Chamorro fiesta and I definitely learned a lot of things, which you can read about here. I feel like this time I was slightly more prepared, but I still felt like I was wide-eyed and there were still things to learn.

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We rode the motorcycle down south to the historical part of Inarajan, just like we’d done last year. This time it seemed like there were more people, the roads were crowded and parking was limited. When we arrived we found Peter’s coworker fanning away the flies from the food. He said, “We don’t believe in the small plate. So what you need to do is get two BIG plates each. One for rice and one for your meat!” Yes, that’s what he said TWO plates!

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I wanted to take pictures of everything but it was kind of crowded and by the time we finished eating, the food was almost gone! I did take home two kiwis and a grapefruit, which I’m proud of because I NEVER would have done that before. There was a huge pig, cooked breadfruit, taro, chicken of all kinds, TONS of fresh fish, and Oh my goodness the dessert table was filled with treats. I had one plate full of dessert. I loved the dessert so much that I dreamt about it and was craving it the next day! I ate lumpia, red rice, dried beef, chicken, and a Chamorro tamale.

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An endless amount of  food and drinks,  a gorgeous day, and a band playing island music; what more could you ask for?! We sat at a table under a coconut tree with Peter’s coworkers; an occasionally a breeze would pass through and it felt so good. I wished I had a hammock so I could take a nap after eating all that food! Fiestas are a great way to become familiar with the culture and to enjoy life. No one is worried about calories or gaining weight. Eating well is the only concern.

We stayed at the Duenas family fiesta for awhile just listening to the music and enjoying life! As Peter’s coworkers left, a few local people sat down with us at our table. I’m not sure how the conversation started, but we had about five guys telling us about fiestas. I feel like as soon as people here find out that we’re not from Guam, even though we’ve lived here for three years, they are so eager to tell us everything about Guam.

They encouraged us to try the crab and to get more food. They said that the fiestas in southern Guam are different than the north. In the South, you don’t need to be invited, you can just show up and go to all the different family’s homes holding fiestas. One guy said, “You can’t call yourself an islander until you’ve eaten these three things. 1. Red rice 2. Dried beef 3. Local crab.” Another man said, “You can’t ever lose weight in Guam and no one is ever skinny,” as he pointed at his plate full of food. They were so nice, so interested in us, and so informative. I’ve never felt so welcomed, I felt like we were all related and it was a refreshing feeling. Kindness for no reason.

After we said goodbye we walked across the street to another fiesta to see if what they said was true. This one was much smaller but had just as much food and a stage where people were dancing the Cha-Cha. We were like, “This is awkward we don’t know anyone here.” Then this man walked up to us and I thought he was going to ask us who we were. Instead he said, “Go eat!” We smiled and said thank you but  we had just left another fiesta and already ate and he said to eat more! I love it!

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After that we walked through the village and made our way to the cultural center to watch the parade. Every time I feel like I might be falling out of love with the island, I have an amazing day like this and meet such nice people that it makes me fall right back in love. That day I just felt so good.

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I love Inarajan! 

 

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Things to Do in Guam: Chamorro Village

Chamorro Village is a night market with music, food, animals and local vendors. During the day there are a few restaurants open, but only on Wednesday evenings does the real fun take place. I’ve heard that it’s also open on Friday evenings but every time I’ve tried to go on a Friday, it hasn’t been opened. Recently it has been extremely overcrowded, which hasn’t really made my experience too fun. It’s so crowded and hard to walk, there’s no place to sit and eat and you have to wait in line to do/see anything. Aside from that, it’s a nice place to go maybe once a month and enjoy the music and food!

Locally owned businesses serve food, drinks, sell crafts and souvenirs. You can ride a carabao, drink from a coconut, watch traditional Polynesian dancers, dance the Chamorro cha-cha and hold coconut crabs, snakes and monitor lizards! My dad would LOVE this place because he loves dancing.  Every time I’ve gone to watch the band play, there has been an older man dressed similar to Elvis. He usually wears a red shirt that says, “Thank you Elvis” written in sloppy writing on his back. He and his dancing partner are quite popular with the tourists and very fun to watch dancing.

I go for the food honestly! It’s delicious! I always get a few BBQ chicken sticks, red rice and a rice ball or two. Also, the fruit slushy drinks are AMAZING and the flavored popcorn is good too. The last time I went I tried something called a Latiya (pronounced Lateeza), which is a cake with pudding on top sprinkled with cinnamon. It’s very, very good!! As I mentioned it is crowded so I just go to whichever food stand has the shortest line. This week I decided to see why so many people wait in the LONG line for food. Sometimes the line is so long it wraps around the building. Anyway, I ordered the Fiesta Plate (in Spanish that means Party Plate) which is the standard Chamorro food plate. This was enough for Peter and I to share. It came with red rice, BBQ chicken on a stick, BBQ pork on a stick, pancit, some fried shrimp thing and fina’ denne. I soon realized why the lines are long and why people don’t mind waiting. The food tastes SO much better! Better pieces of meat, better tasting and all for the same price. So just wait in line and you will be happy!

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but Guamanians really love their choreographed dances. At any party, including Chamorro Village, you will here The Cupid Shuffle, Wobble or any other song that has a dance to go with it. People of ALL ages know the dances. Most of these I had no idea came with dance routines ha! One of my favorite things to do is watch the dancers old and young!

 

If you visit:
Bring cash!

Most souvenirs are overpriced like the swimsuit coverups and some of the jewelry. 

It's in Agana near the baseball field
YOU MUST EAT EVERYTHING!

Filipino Snacks in Guam

I LOVE snacks! Being soooo close to the Philippines means that we get a ton of imported Filipino goods. Not only are they delicious, but they also have super funny names! Here are a few pictures of things I picked up to send out to family and friends back in The States.

Lots of chocolatey goodness right here…and WHAT is Ding Dong??  We have everything from dried mango balls, garlic chips, banana chips and chocolate sticks.

Hmmm if you speak Spanish then you know what this means, so you can understand why I took this photo. I was like, “What the…” Seems as though this is a delicious dessert which I will be trying soon!

And last but not least KicKer. Looks and tastes JUST like KitKat!

I purchased all of these snacks at American Grocery (ironically sells mostly Asian products) and a specialty shop that sells Filipino food!