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230th Anniversary of the foundation of Guatemala City

Pride of the Neighborhood

La Exposición District, Zone 4
 
Many busy streets run through this part of the city.


Teresa Arévalo (Guatemala City, 1926)



Daughter of laureate author Rafael Arévalo Martínez, with whom she traveled to Europe and lived in Washington, during his tenure as the Guatemala Ambassador.

 

Author Teresa Arévalo was born in La Exposición.

Her first work was the essay Gente menuda (Little People - 1948), where the author reminisces about her youth.  In 1961 she published Emilia, a short novella, with a preface by his father, and Evangelina va al campo (Evangelina travels to the countryside –1961). She also published the Biography of Rafael Arévalo Martínez (1971), of which she says “its only merit is its honesty”.



Los Bigotes de don Chevero (The whiskers of Mr. Chevero – 1968) is made of entertaining anecdotes written with the only purpose of creating fascinating characters for the readers’ enjoyment.

 

The “shucos” (“dirty hot-dogs”) of Liceo Guatemala



For four decades already, in the vicinities of Liceo Guatemala and the Chamber of Industry, it is customary to see young men sporting large aprons and bandannas, running or yelling. They are the “pirates” that invite the passersby to eat a “shuco” from one of the many stands.



The tradition began with Francisco Ramos, “El Chino”,  who set up his “El Chino Executive Hot-dogs” cart just outside the church of Yurrita.  The term “executive” made reference to his clients, most of them office workers.
The clients liked the cheap, tasty and singular hot dogs with avocado that were quickly served. The Guatemalan touch, guacamole, is the secret of their success.  Since then, the corner of 10th Avenue and Route 7 and the rest of the streets of La Exposición District were never the same.   

 

Aware of his success, Francisco expanded the business to other streets of the area, until he reached the corner of Liceo Guatemala.  The students would rally around the carts demanding their “shuco”.



Years later, Francisco bestowed his business to his son in law, Juan Pablo Gómez, who in turn gave it to his son Elvis Geovany Gómez, who is the present owner.  Elvis says that he is already preparing his own son to take over the family business.



The business has diversified and some 28 years ago, besides the carts, they opened permanent restaurants with large parking facilities, one of them in a lot property of Emilia Arévalo Juárez, daughter of author Rafael Arévalo Martínez.



Today, the family bakes the bread Francisco used to purchase from a third party. They also deliver orders of at least 100 “shucos”, for a total of Q612. They cater and rent carts for special events. They do not work on Sundays and holidays.

 

They safeguard the traditional and famous “shucos” of Liceo Guatemala .

Elvis Gómez tells us that the sandwiches were baptized by the clients, when they noticed the unsanitary conditions of the carts.  The word “shuco”, says Sergio Morales Pellecer in his Diccionario de Guatemaltequismos (“Dictionary of Guatemalan Terms”), means “dirty”, especially, rotten.  In Guatemala City, the name given to a sausage and guacamole sandwich. (2002: 105).



The clients replaced the English “hot-dogs” for “shucos”. Today, “shucos” are made with salami, Guatemalan “longanizas”, chorizo or bacon, or a combination of all, which is called a “super”.



During the last five or six years, similar stands and “pirates” have mushroomed throughout the neighborhood.  Business is not as good, says Daniel Morales, born in Quetzaltenango. He only sells from 1,100 to 1,200 “shucos” each week, whereas years ago he was fixing up to 1,800.



His personal “touch” comes from preserving the guacamole with plenty lemon and ice.  He also adds chile from Cobán. His “shucos”, he says, are tasty and cheap and the service is prompt.

 

Today, this culinary specialty is available in many other areas of the city.  There is even an ad in buses and bus stops, where the vendor has added “Tortrix” (corn chips) to the “shuco”, the fusion of two products that are an integral part of Guatemalan culture. The model, the cart and the product belong to “El Chino”.



Even though a formal or systematic publicity campaign is not carried out, traditionally the citizens of Guatemala eat a “shuco” rain or shine.

 

Beloved Neighborhood Program
Frieda Liliana Morales Barco, Ph.D.

 

Lecturas: 5818