Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Traditional Dish from Panama

I shouldn't be writing this post during lunch time because now I'm hungry. Anyhow, I thought it would be important to give a little background on some of the food you'll find in Panama and most of Central America. If you are travelling to Central America for the first time, you may be surprised to discover that the food isn't spicy or diverse....unless you are in Guatemala(yum!). From this American's point of view, many people from the US go and are disappointed that the food lacks that "Mexican" touch. Where are the nachos and salsa? The tortillas? LOL!!! I'd like to think that the American public is becoming more aware that not all Spanish speaking countries are the same. In fact, not one Spanish speaking country is the same at all, and within that same country, there are so many cultural differences. Those who know me understand that I love all food. In fact, I'll eat anything except fish. Panama, by the way, has wonderful fish and seafood. I tried eating it, but I almost got sick. Growing up on Lake Michigan made me hate eating fish. I ate some bad smokefish one day at a party and it made me sick for days. That fishy taste has never left my memory and therefore, I am damaged goods. Back in January, I wrote about my experience with pears.....same thing. 

A tradional lunch in Panama.  This pic is dedicated to my friend Carolyn who taught me the importance of taking pics of your international meal. :)  Tip. Snap the pic when no on is looking:)
Back to Panama.  The dish you see above is a traditional lunch with chicken, rice, a bit of salad, plantain(fried plantain is called patacones), and some sort of bean.  During this lunch, lentils were served. A lunch or dinner will cost around 3 to 4 bucks!  You can spend more money on other dishes if this dish gets too mundane for your taste buds.  Personally I never got sick from eating this dish.  I love beans and rice!!  To add a kick to your rice, consider using the Panamanian pepper sauce. Another word that you'll see on the menu is "sancocho" which is the national dish of Panama. It's considered a soup or stew that has bits of chicken with potato or rice.  It will also have some sort of veggie variation of culantro, squash, corn, or yucca. In my opinion, the more the better.  I bought several packets of the sancocho soup base and made this soup at home buying all the necessary veggies for the stew.  Originally from the Azuero pennisula, the stew has taken on many variations from not only Panama but in other countries as well.  A definite must!    Conservation.  Nature.  Videos. Endemic species.  Plants and Animals.  Las Aventuras will take you on one last day trip out of Panama City tomorrow as we explore the Miraflores Locks and the Panama Canal.  See you tomorrow friends!   


  1. Is eating rice common in South American countries? That assortment of food pieces seem like ours too, without the beans. lol. I've been with some South American folks for awhile except someone from Panama, and they don't seem to be eating much rice!

  2. I'd say from my travel, rice is pretty common in Central America as a main dish. Also served in Mexico with some flare. But in South America, it can be hit or miss. Like in Peru, for example, the potato capital of the world serves up this yummy side dish over the rice option. I love rice but in Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica is practically served at every meal with...chicken:)

  3. Cool post! We have a lot of authentic Central and South American restaurants here and it's fun to order el plato tipico, not really knowing what you'll get! I don't eat fish, either!

  4. I think I would enjoy this dish a lot! I love the combination.


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