Why Honduran Anafre Is the Perfect Snack

Beers and bean dip are an undefeated duo—but try this Honduran version made with quesillo and chorizo.

Honduran Anafre
Honduran Anafre | Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Honduran Anafre | Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

In Honduras, where you often might feel like you’re going in the wrong direction, getting lost is a good sign. Indeed, it means you’re exactly in the right place. Take Los Naranjos, an archaeological village hidden off the highway, nestled between the country’s two major metropolises, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Sitting at the northern edge of Lake Yojoa—among a verdant cloud forest and serene heron and coati—find a buzzing cervecería. Yes, you’re definitely in the right place.

Tucked a few blocks behind calles of colorful cottages is D&D Brewery, a contemporary open-air tavern offering a delicious mashup of international and traditional Honduran fare since 2011. Equal parts hip and homey, D&D is among a slew of spots putting this region on the culinary map and making a winning argument to visit Central America’s least-visited country.

D&D manager Daniel Busmail is native to Honduras and has a Masters in Sustainable Tourism. He hires residents of rural Los Naranjos and together they engage local tourism as part of their eco-friendly framework.

Following an afternoon of spotting toucans from a kayak on the lake’s marshy shores, folks from around the globe gather after sundown below strings of lights and towering ceiba trees to eat. Beer in hand, patrons await what is perhaps Honduras’s most renown dish: anafre.

Akin to a fondue, anafre is a combo of velvety refried red beans, dripping quesillo cheese, and fiery chorizo. The bubbling dip arrives in an anafre—yes that’s the name of the vessel and the Honduran snack—which is the Spanish-Arabic word for the clay pot speckled with holes for airflow and coals burning below to keep its contents perfectly scoopable.

When it comes to variations of anafre, it helps that beans are a blank canvas. “In the more modern versions, regional delicacies like Lorocco, an edible flower—unique to the Intibucá department of Honduras—and choros, a wild mushroom, are put into the mix,” explains Busmail. Other innovative takes might add extra kick with pickled jalapeños or simmer the beans in red wine.

Anafre is an appetizer that brings the community together, connecting the past to the present. One plunge of a tortilla chip into the bean pâté is an intimate dive into the archives of Los Naranjos’ native foodscape.

For the area’s Lencan ancestors, luxury came through their cooking and their pottery, and their legacy envelops every bite of anafre. Over the last few decades, Honduras’s Indigenous communities were displaced from Lake Yojoa’s immediate surroundings into more remote Western regions. The Lenca’s surviving cuisine is a subtle show of resistance against their culture’s confinement to the past. Many ceramics are still made with pre-Columbian customs and fired in ovens or underground. The Lenca’s lineage remains rich through the preservation of staple ingredients served akin to their traditional form.

Today, though, anafre is the proud side dish to almost anything, especially beer. D&D’s diners stroll in to drink coffee porters and indulge in everyone’s favorite Honduran snack over a round of giant Jenga. Guests pass through the restaurant’s lush grounds toward their rustic-chic cabins while cats prowl and purr under tables for a taste. There’s a bonfire in the corner illuminating satisfied smiles, and the scene is simultaneously breezy and relevant.

Try out this version with ingredients you can find close to home. An anafre pot might be hard to come by, but small cast iron skillets on a wooden platter makes a great presentation, too. The best thing about this dish? It only takes 20 minutes.

Honduran Anafre

Serves 4

• 1-1.5 cups of refried red beans
• Spoonful of butter or lard
• ½ cup Oaxcan cheese or mozzarella
• ½ cup smoked gouda
• ½ lb of ground chorizo
• Tortilla or plantain chips

1. Cook the chorizo on medium heat until crumbly. Set half aside. Optional: saute sliced onions and diced garlic with the meat. (Or make it with vegan chorizo.)
2. Add the beans and pork fat to the leftover chorizo and salt to taste. Simmer for about 3 minutes.
3. Transfer beans to the anafre.
4. Add cheese and the remaining chorizo.
5. Once the cheese is melted, serve with chips. Optional: top with cilantro.

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Colleen Kelly is a contributor to Thrillist.