>> Pollo Campero | Eat the World Los Angeles

Sunday 30 December 2018

Pollo Campero


EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (06 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
It is no surprise that when Pollo Campero first expanded to the United States, they chose to set up a location in Los Angeles, the largest concentration of Guatemaltecos outside of their home country. That day back in 2002 (and for a while after), the original Pico-Union location inside of the Curacao Business Center was mobbed by Central Americans hungry for a taste of back home.

A couple years after that I happened to be in Guatemala City for New Year's Eve in 2005 and had my first taste of the popular chain that had been born in 1971 and is much more than just chicken. Guatemalans are proud of Pollo Campero, and my hosts that evening were very interested in showing off one of the most famous things of their country.

And what about that original location in Pico-Union? It is still open and thriving in a neighborhood where many Guatemalan and other Central American people live.

There are many things that set this fast food chain above its American counterparts. Firstly, they treat you well, are friendly, and do not seem inconvenienced when you place an order. It's also nice to eat off of real plates and create less waste. Fries are not the obligatory choice of any combo meal, the list of choices is at least 10, and includes tostones, sweet plantains, Campero's special beans, and many more. All for the price of a combo meal at McDonald's or Burger King, where you could never recognize actual chicken meat.

3 Piece meal with corn salad ($8).

They used to provide hot tortillas with the meals, but have switched to a dinner roll as default now at least here in the states. The fried chicken they are famous for has remained remarkably true to the same quality over the years, and brings back good memories of that first time I had it in Guatemala City. In all its greasy glory, it is some of the finest fried chicken available. It is thoroughly soaked in the hot grease, inside and out, but that is the beauty of it, full of flavor and never dry. There is a salty, tangy, citrus marinade going on... their spices make the skin and meat both explode with great flavor.

Also worth trying is the extra crunchy chicken sandwich, shown below as a meal with Campero beans for $7.50.


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