This turned out to be a lot simpler than I originally imagined. Perhaps because ceviche is a delicate little beast, and I have been sick from it at least once. I don’t know why I trusted Los Chavos in Zona 5 to keep me safer than I could keep myself, but I had never considered attempting to mix up a batch of this Latino sushi any more than I would consider making my own plate of yellowfin sashimi or beef carpachio. It just seemed like a bad idea.

But the heat of summer is already arriving to Guatemala City, and Sunday morning I woke up sticky, sweaty, with the sheets stripped off and the fan pointing directly me. I was craving something fresh and light, but was not in the mood to drive to Esquintla, further towards the impending heat, to our favored and trusted ceviche joint, Blanquies. Why not make it, I thought.

I threw the idea out there, not so confidently and as more of a test of Hec’s reaction. He was intrigued by the idea, and I soon regretted making the suggestion as he grew increasingly enthused and I increasingly concerned thatt we’d just make ourselves sick. Time away from work is not something I can do this week. I took it back, saying I thought it wasn’t such a good idea, only for him to convince me otherwise. We had tilapia in the freezer, and bought a half pound of baby shrimp from the grovery. We were in for it, I thought.

Just to be safe we let it sit in the bacteria-killing lime all night long. Maybe that wasn’t necessary, maybe that wasn’t even the safest rout, but in my mind it made sense. It was delicious, if not a bit acidic…but what do you expect from a cup of lime juice? In the end the acidity got to me, and I was trying to remember the others I’d tried before. Perhaps a day of marinating is too much. We’ll try only a couple hours next time.  It’s been about 12 hours since we ate, and so far no signs of sickness. I’ll keep you updated.


4 fillets of tilapia (or any seafood you prefer)
1/2 lb baby shrimp
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 red onion, finely minced
4 large fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 dash favorite hot sauce
2 t salt
1 t dried oregano
handful or two of fresh cilantro
ketchup for garnish (optional*)

Mix fish of your choice, lime juice, onion, tomato, hot sauce, salt, and oregano together and let sit at least an hour, or until fish change from raw translucent colors to pink/opaque and flaky. Add cilantro at last minute. Let each mix in own ketchup (if desired), more cilantro, and additional hot sauce. Finish batch within 48 hours, and be careful, if you save leftovers, not to double dip your spoons which will easily contaminate the batch.

*This is, in my opinion, a strange addition Guatemalan’s like. But I have seen recipes which call for ketchup. I don’t think it adds balance (being acidic in itself), and is sort of taints the dish. I tried it, and wasn’t crazy about it, but many find it necessary.


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