>> Churrasquitos Los Panfilos | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Churrasquitos Los Panfilos

Stand on Venice Blvd.

(Friday and Saturday evenings only, check with vendor for details)
๐Ÿ…ฟ️ Street Parking
๐Ÿ’ฒ Cash and Zelle only
๐Ÿฅค Cans of Gallo

Underneath a hand-painted sign for MTC Motorcycle Services and surrounded by all the bikes they are working on and selling, a weekends-only Guatemalan churrasco specialist has bloomed. The charcoal grill gets fired up after business is over on Fridays and Saturdays, sending smoke and delicious aromas out onto Venice Blvd. If the blue and white flag went unnoticed by passing Guatemalans, the familiarity of those scents hitting the nose are enough to stop traffic.

Even as temperatures made being outside almost unbearable last weekend, the stand had a constant stream of customers enjoying meals under the red tents and even more getting takeout. Cans of Gallo were kept on ice to keep customers cool, and spirits were up amongst everyone sitting here and the family running the place.

The business takes place under the tent

You will immediately notice that the small makeshift outdoor dining room seems like a community center, where families and friends plan to meet for a specific taste they miss from back home. The proprietors greet everyone they know like they are old friends, and newcomers are welcomed no differently. If space is tight, people shift to make room for all without being asked.

It was with pleasant surprise that those cans of Cerveza Gallo (below) were spotted, as trademark reasons have caused this name to not be allowed in the United States. Guatemala's largest beer producer has had to label their products "Famosa" when exported here, so drinking an actual Gallo somehow seems to taste better and bring back even stronger memories. Homesick folks will find this detail even more rewarding, hopefully it was not just a one time thing.

Cerveza Gallo in a can!

Despite having the name churrasquito (little grill or barbecue), the charcoal grill here is large enough to take many orders at a time. Guatemalan churrasco is an event that is difficult to avoid when you spend any time in cities or small towns of the country, smoke from cooking carne asada, longaniza, chicken, and just about anything else fills the evening skies.

The term is also used for the namesake dish churrasquitos (below), a type of Guatemalan taco served on thicker-than-Mexican homemade corn tortillas that are patted out as an order is placed. The cut of already marinated beef is also thrown on the grill, large enough to require two of these large tortillas once it is plated and served. As would be standard anywhere that the dish is sold, a section of potato and some onions are also grilled and served on the plate.


Make sure to ask for the final product to be spicy, as this unlocks a blanket of their housemade salsa over the entire thing. If you do not have the built-in tolerance in your fingertips to heat from manual labor and/or cooking, it may take a few minutes before you can pick the whole thing up and start tearing into it with your hands and teeth. Do not ask for a fork and knife, they probably do not have them anyways. The wait just makes the already delicious antojito that much better.

Ten years ago the shuco was mostly unfamiliar outside of the Guatemalan community, but now this ultimate antojito can be found in so many locations that it has gained more notoriety by all in Los Angeles. This is sometimes (mistakenly it could be argued) referred to as a Guatemalan hot dog, but while you can eat this with salchicha, it is nothing like what you find at a Dodgers game.

Shuco mixto (carne, longaniza, salchicha)

The bread is a crisped roll instead of a limp steamed bun, and the toppings are much more ample. A shuco usually has the option to have that salchicha, an even more tasty link of longaniza, or more of that carne asada. If you appreciate a glorious mix, the move here is to get a shuco mixto (above), a combination of all three. It seems not that they divide the same amount of overall meat into three, but take that portion of each and pile it on.

Another common antojito in Guatemala is a plate of crispy fried taquitos (below), filled with a small amount of meat and smothered in tomato salsa. While both the churrasquito and shuco are tasty enough to want to hurt someone, the taquitos seem like an afterthought unfortunately.

Taquitos dorados

Better for next time if a third plate is necessary would be the enchilada, an antojito in Central America that more resembles a Mexican tostada. Oh and what they call a tostadas, which are also available here? Those use the same base but are covered in the simple salsa or black beans rather than being piled high with meat and other toppings.

No matter what you order and enjoy, it is that namesake carne asada delight that will linger in your mind all week after your visit. So what are your plans this Friday night?


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