Panaderia Guatemalteca Tikal is the definition of a hole in the wall. It’s an amazing Guatemalan bakery that is barely big enough to fit 4 people inside, and there are no frills, decorations or Instagrammable art pieces on the walls to encourage promoting their business like you see so much nowadays. Instead, they keep a low profile and cater to the predominantly hispanic community just north of downtown San Mateo. In fact, the super friendly woman at the counter didn’t even speak one word of English, which forced me to reach back and draw on my high school Spanish classes. I definitely wouldn’t have impressed anybody, but it was at least enough for me to order some of their delicious pastries and thank them.
They offer various other items, as well, such as coffee, tamales, chuchitos, burritos, and pupusas, but since “panadería” literally means bakery, I decided to stick to their pastries. You can see all four that I tried in our Instagram Reel below, but I’m going to cover my top two in this post!
Let’s just jump into my favorite one right off the bat. Panaderia Guatemalteca Tikal’s mil hojas is a flaky, crispy, cream-filled pastry that’s pretty heavy-handedly topped with powdered sugar. It’s a messy one to eat as little flakes and clouds of powdered sugar fall everywhere, but the combination of textures from the fluffy cream and crunchy pastry make every bite of this one to remember.
Bocado de Reina
This was another amazing find! Bocado de Reina translates to “bite of a queen,” and the main ingredients are leftover bread and bananas. From the research I did, it’s often described as Guatemalan bread pudding, but from my experience, the consistency is more like that of a dense cake. You definitely taste the bananas and I loved how moist it was.
While the shop doesn’t look like much, and you’d probably drive right by it on your way to the 101 onramp, Panaderia Guatemalteca Tikal is 110% worth a try! It’s really opened my eyes and made me want to explore Guatemalan and other South American baked goods much more. Give them a try, and look forward to more hole-in-the-wall finds in the Bay Area!
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