#7 Mission-style iguana tacos

An occasional series of practical recipes to cook aboard using the ingredients at hand.
February, 2014, Antigua, Guatemala
(Tony and Jane are taking a break from On Delay to attend escuela de español.)

Occasionally one needs a taste of home.  For your correspondent that taste was Mission-style tacos (so named after the area in San Francisco where they are often served).


Iguana on the hoof.


1 (approx 1 lb) whole roast iguana
1 white onion, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeño chile, chopped (exact quantity depends on how spicy you like your tacos)
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1-2 teaspoons of achiote sauce
8 fresh corn tortillas
For the garnish:
Radishes, finely chopped
Spring onion, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
Lime wedges
Home-made tomatillo sauce

One has to choose carefully where to buy one’s ingredients.  In Antigua, there is a huge covered and open market held on Saturday, Monday, and Thursday.

A Vendor in Antigua Market

A vendor in the Antigua market.


Always buy your tortillas close to when you are going to use them

Always buy your tortillas close to when you are going to use them.

Iguanas are wild caught and need to be boiled and roasted and prior to preparation. They are sold ready roasted, so it is important to choose a vendor who knows what they are doing.

Buying an Iguana in Antigua, Guatemala

Buying an iguana in Antigua, Guatemala.

For a more authentic San Francisco Mission-style experience, the iguana vendor was a transvestite, and she appeared to know her iguanas.

Your Correspondent with a Newly Purchased Iguana

Your correspondent with a newly purchased iguana.


  1. Skin your iguana.
    Iguana Ready for Preperation

    Iguana awaiting preparation.

    Make a slit along the back, and the skin comes away remarkably easily.  Be careful that the scales don’t go everywhere.


    Freshly skinned iguana.

  2. Bone your iguana.
    A sharp knife is essential!

    Mmmmm.  Skinless, Boneless Iguana

    Mmmmm: boneless, skinless iguana.

  3. Chop ingredients.

    Ingredients ready to cook

    Chopped iguana, cilantro, onion, tomato, and jalapeño.

  4. Fry ingredients. Use a little oil and finish with a teaspoon or two of achiote paste.

    Frying the Ingredients

    Frying the ingredients.

  5. Place hot mixture onto fresh, hot corn tortillas.

    Dishing Up

    Dishing up.

  6. Serve with a garnish of lime wedges, chopped cilantro, chopped green onion, chopped radish, and home-made tomatillo sauce.

    Voila: Iguana Tacos

    Voilà: iguana tacos.

Tastes like chicken!!


6 thoughts on “#7 Mission-style iguana tacos

  1. So happy to be vegetarian!! Looking forward to visiting the market next week — hope it’s on your list of things to do when Joy visits!

    • Hi Joy,
      Yes! Thursday is market day — a great way to kick off your visit.
      P.S. Tony says that iguana counts as fish! (But don’t worry too much: it’s the dry season here and iguana is hard to find.)

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Thanks. Yes, we are enjoying the new digs. ‘Don’t blame you on the meal. Iguana was a challenge for me — fortunately T’s tacos were really tasty.

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