|Pacaya palm (Chamaedorea tepejilote) taken at Atitlán Lake in Guatemala|
The immature male inflorescences of the plant are considered a delicacy in Guatemala and El Salvador. The unopened infloresences resemble an ear of corn in appearance and size. Indeed, the word tepejilote means "mountain maize" in the Nahuatl language and was selected because of this resemblance. (Castillo Mont and his co-authors suggest that "pacaya," the common name for both the plant and its edible flower could be derived from the volcano of that name.)
Pacaya has a somewhat bitter taste, although less so in cultivated varieties. It is eaten in salads (especially fiambre, a salad traditionally eaten in Guatemala on the Day of the Dead) or covered in egg batter and fried. The latter dish is called "rellenos de pacaya," and is often served with tomato sauce, like chiles rellenos.
- "Chamaedorea tepejilote". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2013-08-27.
- Castillo Mont, Juan José; Gallardo, Negli Rene; Johnson, Dennis V. (1994). "The Pacaya Palm (Chamadorea Tepejilote; Arecaceae) and its Food Use in Guatemala". Economic Botany. 48 (1): 69. doi:10.1007/bf02901383. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Cook, Orator Fuller (31 December 1910). "History of the Coconut Palm in America". Contributions from the United States National Herbarium. Bulletin of the United States National Museum. 14 (2): 311. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
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