Shuco means “dirty” in Spanish. When the term is used for sandwiches it means a sausage, usually a hot dog, covered in cooked cabbage (not kraut) with guacamole, onions, catsup, mustard, mayo, green hot sauce and more.
Actually, the term is loosely applied to any sandwich in a hot dog bun. Sometimes it is beef or even fish.
The shuco originated in Guatemala City near the Liceo Guatemala, a college in zona 4. Today the streets near the school are lined with shuco restaurants and carts. Here my report on that area
Guatemala City: Shuco Street … Who’s your shuco daddy?
La Perrada’s claim to shuco fame is La Ballena, The Whale. It is a two foot long shuco with about a half dozen types of meat.
La Perrada translates as “a pack of dogs”. The pack includes over 30 variations on the shuco. It could be thought of as the Pink’s of Guatemala. The menu board on the back wall lists shucos with the following options (or your own combo):
MEAT, ETC: salchicha (hot dog), chorizo (Guatemalan red sausage), chorizo especial, longaniza (Guatemalan white sausage), longaniza especial, salami, beef, turkey hot dogs, Vienna hot dogs, cheese stuffed hot dog, ham, chicken, chuleta (pork cutlet), beans, fish, hamburger, eggs
CHEESE: queso fundido, American cheese
OTHER: Guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, catsup, mayo, mustard, green hot sauce, crema, salsa, melted butter, melted garlic butter
There are three sizes of hot dog roll: small, medium and large, the two-footer.
La Perrada gets points for the way it grills the bun, lightly toasted. Most of the Guatemala City shuco joints char the bun a bit which makes it too hard and crumbly.
While I’d visit La Perrada again, I wouldn’t order The Whale because of a few flaws. Those same flaws would rule out some of the other shucos.
The big problem here is the way the sandwich is put together. Usually the meats are grilled to order. At La Perrada they were pre-cooked and heated after being put on the sandwich. That doesn’t work as well, IMO.
Even the cabbage wasn’t kept hot in a pot, like the average shuco stand.
La Perrada has a nice rotisserie up front with delicious looking chickens. However, the chicken used in La Ballena was shredded chicken. The beef was very chewy, close to jerky texture, but that just might be a Guatemalan preference.
There was only a bit of cheese. The sausages were only ok. I don’t think they used the “especial” version of the longaniza or chorizo.
Still, given all the flaws, it was a tasty enough sandwich. No single ingredient was enough to totally ruin the whole.
Even though the claim to fame is El Ballena, it is listed no where on any menu. I said I wanted everything on it, but I doubt if every meat was included. I would guess there was just shredded chicken, chorizo, ham, salami, longaniza, and beef.
I originally had them pack half the sandwich to go. However, a hot dog roll is lighter than a sub roll. I was enjoying people watching and seeing the shucos made, so I hung around a bit and finished all two feet of it.
Beverages include bottled and canned soft drinks, Gallo beer, tea and coffee. They get credit for brewing my cup to order. It wasn’t sitting around in a carafe.
It’s difficult to complain about a 75 cent (6 quetzale) cup of drip coffee. Still, you get what you pay for. I only had one weak coffee and opted for beer after that.
The place was filled and the shucos were always on the grill. It was a step by step process. First the rolls are grilled. Then the inside brushed with melted butter for some sandwiches.
Then there was mayo on one side and guacamole on the other. Next came cabbage and meat.
The queso fundido, or melted cheese, was popular and ladled on to the shuco from a small pot. Condiments and salad added last and covered with the other half of the roll.
Some special shucos include:
Perroyuno: Breakfast (desayuno) shuco, an omelet with ham, cheese and salami
Shucoburguesa – a cheeseburger in a shuco bun.
Chorifundi: chorizo especial, queso fundido, lettuce, tomato, onion, guacamole
Marinero: Fish fillet with guacamole, lettuce, tomato and onion
Filepollo: Chicken breast with guacamole, lettuce, tomato and onion
The prices are very inexpensive. Available sizes:
Sandwich on a small roll (standard hot dog bun size)
Regular: 11 – 14 quetzales (about $1.50 USD)
Especiales: Q14-20 (about $2 USD)
Super: Medium roll with choice of 4 meats Q25 – 34 (average $4 USD)
Jumbo: large two foot roll with choice of 5 meats Q33- 50 (average $5 USD)
It certainly is a better value than Subway and more interesting.
The also have mixtas which are basically a shuco but with a tortilla instead of a hot dog bun. They offer a few dinners: chicken, fried fish, shrimp and beef. The rotisserie chicken looked very good
It is located near the Central market, on the same side of the street as Pollo Comparo. There are two rooms at La Perrada, a casual dining room with tables and the front room where a counter with stools borders the kitchen area. Hours are from 8am until midnight seven days a week.
Restaurant record with more info such as address, phone, hours and menu
Flickr photostream with more pictures