Sampling Delectable Cuisine During Your Panama Vacation
If you’re travelling to Panama for vacation, one of the most memorable experiences you would have is from sampling its delectable cuisine.
For example, the carimañola, one of its most well-known dishes, is a breakfast staple. The ingredients consist of ground and boiled tuber yucca which is then turned into a dumpling and then stuffed with pieces of boiled egg as well as minced chicken or beef.
Another famous Panama dish is the sancocho which is a chicken and yucca soup. It is flavoured with culantro (a more aromatic version of cilantro) and can be prepared as thick as a stew. It’s like chicken soup for those under the weather. And if you feel hot on a particularly sweltering day, this is a highly recommended dish to cool down.
Make room for ropa vieja, a spicy Panamanian dish that literally means ‘old clothes’ – although those are not the actual ingredients; rather, the cook makes the best use of leftover food in the kitchen. Usually, it’s just shredded flank steak mixed with rice and tomato sauce.
The Mexican tamales are also a huge hit among locals and every cook in Panama has his or her own version of it. Tamal has the basic ingredients of chicken, onions, peas and cornmeal – all mixed together – and then boiled inside plantain leaves. Of course, you have to tie it firmly first so the filling won’t break out of it. You can eat all of it except the leaves and the string. It is very common for Panamanians to serve these as appetizers. The Panamanian’s version of the tamales is that it is a combination of ground beef and cheese which is then deep fried. In the Caribbean, however, they add plantain to the filling.
Panamanian meals are also usually served with corn-flour bread called almojábana as well as salted green plantains called patacones. Moreover, the patacones are pounded into crispy chips after being fried to a golden brown colour.
Breakfast in Panama is usually accompanied by hojaldras. This tasty side dish is similar to doughnuts because of the powdered sugar that gives it its sweet taste but the real kicker is the ham and cheese filling.
And since there is an abundance of seafood in Panama –with its 1,500 miles of stunning coastline to boast – you should prepare your taste buds for the ceviche. There is this white sea bass called corvine that is usually its main ingredient. It is then cubed and then marinated in lime juice. There is plenty of onion and celery with it, to give it its mouth-watering goodness. Most Panamanians eat it chilled and with a dash of hot pepper.
Wash everything down with seco, which is sugarcane firewater that is distilled and then tempered with chilled milk. You can also try chicheme, a smooth easy beverage that is a soothing blend of milk, cinnamon, vanilla and cornmeal. Then again, the ubiquitous pipa is what represents Panama completely. This refreshing coconut juice will quench your thirst after a fulfilling road trip around Panama’s best tourist destinations.