Georgetown, Guyana: Exploring Bourda Market & Backyard Cafe

In July of 2022, I explored my 90th country, Guyana. My adventure began in its incredible capital city, Georgetown. Come with me on my very first day in the country as I get my first taste of Guyanese food and explore Georgetown, Guyana!

For this trip, I teamed up with Visit Guyana and Discover Guyana. Our first adventure together was exploring Bourda Market, followed by a trip to the famous Backyard Café.

The Guyana Shop in Bourda Market

Shelves inside the Guyana Shop in Georgetown, Guyana, stocked with various sauces, dressings, and snacks | Davidsbeenhere
The Guyana Shop is a fantastic place to stock up on Guyanese foods and sauces.

Inside the Guyana Shop, I saw items made by local women, including achar, cassareep, crafts, pepper sauces, and more.

The pepper sauces looked amazing. They come in passionfruit, mango, and other flavors. I wanted to buy some. There was also cassava bread in packages, green seasoning (for seasoning meats), rubs, sauces, curries, extracts, spices, honey, local wines, and coconut biscuits.

I tried a coconut biscuit, which had a nice crunch and a slight sweetness to it. Lots of dishes in Georgetown, Guyana are made with coconut. They then showed me some Limacol, which is considered a cure-all in Guyana. It’s sort of like Robitussin!

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Bourda Market in Georgetown, Guyana

Produce vendors lining the street at Bourda Market in Georgetown, Guyana | Davidsbeenhere
Bourda Market is the most popular spot in town to buy fresh produce, meat, and fish.

Then, we headed into Bourda Market, the most popular market in Georgetown, Guyana. There were tons of fresh fruit and vegetable vendors selling bananas, massive ripe pears (avocadoes), starfruit, watermelon, pineapple and more.

I loved the juicy and sour starfruit, which they use to make a traditional black cake. They call starfruit “five finger” in Guyana! Next was some fresh pineapple, which was so sweet and tasty! It’s the best pineapple I’ve ever had! I followed that with some amazing papaya.

Bourda is a drive-through market, so there are cars as well as pedestrians. Further on, we saw some okra, Guyanese cherries (which were nice and sour), sweet cassava, turmeric, and bottles of peppers. I tried a bite of a really spicy pepper! Next was a super sweet sapodilla fruit.

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Then, we headed to the meat, fish, and poultry section, where the vendors were cleaning tons of fresh fish. It reminded me of the wet markets I’ve visited in parts of Asia. They also had some massive catfish, gray snapper, and more. Further on were different cuts of beef and then the household section of the market.

This market in the heart of Georgetown, Guyana dates back to 1876. Then, we went to get some fried fish and pepper sauce! The fish was nice, and the pepper sauce was spicy with a bit of lime. It wasn’t too heavy. I loved it! It had some real heat to it! Next was some fresh coconut water with cask-aged rum. It was so delicious!

Iconic Guyanese Food at the Backyard Café in Georgetown, Guyana

A closeup of a bowl of pepperpot, a rich, traditional Guyanese stew made from slow-cooked beef, cassareep, and vegetables | Davidsbeenhere
Backyard Café is one of the top restaurants in Georgetown to try Guyanese favorites like pepperpot.

Then, we drove 10 minutes to the Backyard Café, an iconic, reservation-only spot in Georgetown, Guyana. They grow herbs all over the grounds. There’s a bar and a table outside, as well as an indoor section.

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Inside, the owner, Delven Adams, made a rum and punch with passionfruit, lime, vodka, rum, gin, and ice. It was the best rum & punch of my life! I loved the sourness and the refreshing taste!

Making Egg Balls in Georgetown, Guyana

David Hoffmann dipping a freshly battered egg ball into a pot of hot oil at the Backyard Café | Davidsbeenhere
I’m not a cook at all, but I tried my best while making traditional egg balls at Backyard Café!

Next, we started making egg balls. We started by rolling out the cassava dough, which they cover a boiled egg with. Then, they dip it into a turmeric-rich batter and drop it into the hot oil. They fry until they’re golden brown! Once it’s done, you split them open and eat them with a delicious sauce containing mango, garlic, vinegar, salt, and wiri wiri pepper.

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The crunch of the coating was incredible, and the cassava inside was creamy. The mango sauce was fantastic! It was an amazing Guyanese street food! We followed that with some sorrel, which is a refreshing cinnamon and pimiento drink typically eaten at Christmas.

Pepperpot and Metemgee

David Hoffmann and his guide Stacey eating fresh pepperpot on the outdoor terrace at The Backyard Café | Davidsbeenhere
Pepperpot is easily one of my favorite dishes I’ve tried in my travels around the world.

When in Georgetown, Guyana, having pepperpot is a must. I watched them make this iconic dish with beef, cassareep (a dark, syrupy byproduct of cassava), garlic, ginger, thyme, cinnamon, and more. It’s the national dish, and you eat it with coconut bread. After just one bite, it blew me away. The pepperpot had a syrupy thickness, and the meat was unbelievably tender and tasty. It fell apart in my mouth!

Next was the metemgee, a fish stew with lime, coconut milk, okra, green plantain, coconut dumplings (duff) and sweet potatoes. The rich coconut broth, fresh fish, plantain, and duff, was an unreal combination. It was a delicious coconut fish stew!

We finished with salara (fluffy bread with sorrel fruit and sweetened coconut inside) and mithai (thick coconut donut holes). What an amazing food tour and an exciting way to begin my time in Georgetown, Guyana!

Where have you been?

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