Latin America has influenced cuisine around the world with its interesting combination of flavors and has been influenced in turn by the cultures it has encountered. Whether you’re looking to learn more about Latin American culture or are just interested in trying out some new foods, Latin food is sure to surprise and delight your taste buds. Read on to discover Latin food’s unique mix of flavors and where it all started.
The Rise of South American Cuisine
New age foodies are loving Latin American dishes like tamales, empanadas, and arepas. A few reasons why these dishes have become popular is that they're quick to make and easy to find ingredients found at grocery stores. Food boredom has set in and diners are looking to be more adventurous. The cuisine also has influences from 33 different countries such as Africa, the Caribbean and Europe, which makes it more interesting. Latin American cuisine isn't just about tacos or burritos!
What is Pan-Latin food?
Pan Latin food is a term used to describe cuisines from several regions in South and Central America. These are countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala among others. The ingredients for their foods can vary by region but their spices and flavors remain largely similar. One common spice used throughout many dishes is cumin. Cumin brings a unique aroma that can be identified with every dish it's included in. Other common staples include chili peppers, garlic, cilantro (coriander), paprika, oregano and other dried herbs. Some of the most popular staple dishes in these regions are tacos, tamales, pupusas, yucca fries (a fried cassava root) and arroz con pollo or rice with chicken. Rice is eaten as a side or on its own as well. Some people use corn tortillas while others use wheat flour tortillas. Beans are often used as well whether they're black beans, red beans or pinto beans - these popular types of beans are found in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean respectively.
Traditional Ingredients (And Their Health Benefits)
Latin food is a delicious and healthy way to explore new flavors, while simultaneously incorporating more fresh food into your diet. Fresh produce, beans, nuts, peppers, spices and whole grains are staples in many Latin dishes. As a bonus, many Latin ingredients are naturally vegan, so even the biggest meat lovers can get in on this flavorful good eating.
10 Things to Know About Latin American Cuisine
1 . The most famous cuisine is Mexican, which has a large variety of dishes and flavors because it is influenced by many different cultures like Spanish, French and Indigenous Mexican
2. One thing that sets Mexican food apart from other cuisines is their use of chilies in dishes like mole, enchiladas, and an amazing array of flavorful sauces.
3. Another popular dish in Latin cuisine is tamales- which consist of meat wrapped in a cornhusk and cooked for hours on low heat. Even better the next day! and something I am looking for perfect in the future.
4. A traditional Colombian dish called Arepas consists of corn flour dough filled with cheese, then deep fried and served as an appetizer or a main dish. My favorite is arepa rellena (stuffed) and I mean stuffed! with shredded beef or pork and melted cheese- Yummo!
5. Pupusas are thick tortillas made from corn masa (dough) then filled with either cheese or beans or pork rinds then cooked on both sides until crispy before serving them hot with curtido (pickled cabbage) and salsa roja (tomato sauce).
6. Chicharrones are pieces of fried pork skin usually eaten as a snack but can also be added to soups or salads. They make an excellent gluten-free crouton ;-)
7. Chimichurri is Argentina’s version of pesto sauce consisting mainly of parsley and garlic mixed with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
8. Empanadas are turnovers typically stuffed with ground beef, onion, tomato, and olives then baked until golden brown before eating them piping hot for breakfast, lunch or dinner time!
9. Buñuelos de viento are a common street food in Argentina consisting of shredded white bread dipped into egg batter then deep-fried till crisp while still retaining their shape.
10. Ceviche is one of Peru's signature dishes - raw fish marinated in lime juice mixed with peppers, onions, and spices - but has now become so popular around the world people have taken liberties with making their own interpretations such as adding ketchup instead of lime juice to make what they call Ceviche Colorado!