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New Honduran/Mayan in Pasadena

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A new place just opened in Bayview Square, a little strip mall on Fort Smallwood Road just east of the intersection with Hog Neck Road. It's called Los Mayas, and appears to have opened just in the last few days.

So far, I've gone twice, and loved everything I've tried - Mayan Chicken with banana (plantain?) chips (half chicken served in a big bowl over the chunks of banana/plantain, and topped with some kind of slaw and a spicy sauce); stewed chicken with rice, beans and a side salad; a dish similar to the Mayan chicken, but with spiced ground beef in place of the chicken; pupusas and one other appetizer turn-over thing whose name escapes me (starts with a "p" - top of the menu).

It's all been the sort of inexpensive, hearty, delicious food that always seems to be the staple of "the common people" in any country. This is the kind of place where the family cooking and running the place are presenting the food of their homeland, hoping that you'll love it as much as they do. These are the kind of friendly folks you want to see make a go of it. In that sense, it kind of has me flashing back to the old days hanging out at Ras Doobie's - and for me, that's high praise.

It's a small place, in the sort of location that is not going to get a lot of attention unless one is looking for it, but this place is worth seeking out.
If nothing else, it will give you a chance to broaden your Central American food experience. Not a whole lot of Honduran or Mayan places out there!

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  1. Minor update. In a recent visit, the waiter told my friend and I that his Mom (the cook) is from Honduras, but she compared recipes with friends from Mexico and El Salvador when putting the menu together. Because the menu draws from their collected recipes, they decided on the name "Los Mayas" for the restaurant, because "The Mayas were in all those places!"

    I still have yet to have a dish I didn't like or would not recommend to a friend.

    The one caution is that the Chile Relleno is not the Tex-Mex variant of cheese or other filling in an Ancho/Poblano chile (with or without the egg batter coating). This one is more a Central American spin on your grandmother's stuffed peppers, with rice and spiced ground beef for the filling. Tasty, and with a nice sauce, but I can imagine the "cuisine authenticity police" possibly getting upset that it's not what they expected.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Warthog

      The Chili Relleno you describe as a "Tex-Mex Variant" is in fact a authentic Mexican preparation.
      It is also quite common in Central America to Coat and Fry them as it is done in Mexico.
      There is nothing inauthentic about ones that are not fried they are just a different style so hopefully you shouldn't have any problems with the Authorities.

    2. I went today at about 3pm and had a nice lunch. I had not eaten all day so this may be a little biased. At the recommendation of the waiter, I ordered the Mayan Chicken with Chips, I think that what it was, but it does not match exactly what Warthog had. It was a fried (deep fried with a crust) bone-in chicken breast on fried banana slices (not sweet) with some cabbage and salsa and also another sauce (yellow) like I have had and loved with Peruvian chicken elsewhere . The whole dish was tasty and went really well together. The chicken looked a little dry, but tasted good especially with everything else. It was not spicy(hot) at all to me. It was $11. I was the only customer and the young waiter was friendly, but a little incompetent.
      The address is:
      Los Maya's Cafe
      8971 Fort Smallwood Road
      Pasadena
      410-255-2561.

      Thanks for the excellent recommendation.

      ps the turnover was pastelito?

      1 Reply
      1. re: mscoffee1

        Yep, the turnover thing was pastelito (sp?), and on my repeat visit, my friend was served the Mayan chicken on a plate, rather than in the big bowl. the waiter even commented on it at the time. The dish you describe is the same one.