We all love a list of foods not to miss when travelling! Here are our top 5 foods from Central and South America, it was very hard to only pick five. The street food is often the best choice, tasty and very affordable!
1. Tamales in Ecuador
Tamales are found in a few countries of South and Central America but are abundant in Ecuador. Tamale is a traditional dish made of starch and filling, wrapped in corn husk or banana leaf. Do not eat the wrapper; it simply keeps the filling together while being steamed. There are various fillings. When the Aztecs and Mayans created tamales, the filling was quite simple; it consisted of squash or beans. As they are very portable, it was the food for people on the move. Europeans brought more ingredients and these days the filling is a mixture of cornmeal (masa), meat, vegetables, and spices. They are quite cheap and make an excellent snack in between meals.
2. Salteñas in Bolivia
Salteñas are delicious savory pastries filled with beef, chicken potatoes, peas, carrots, spices and even olives mixed together in a juicy broth. They come in a half-moon shape, baked at 500 degrees. Most locals eat salteñas in the morning, and best places can sell out by lunch. The city of Sucre supposed to have the best salteñas in the country or so they say? Either way, salteñas are truly pockets of flavors not to be missed.
3. Ceviche in Peru
What is ceviche and how do you pronounce it? Ceviche (pronounced seh-vee-chay) is a seafood dish made from fresh raw fish cured in lemon or lime juice with a touch of chili, onions, and coriander. Some say it’s the answer to Peruvian sushi! As the fish is raw and cooked by the acidity of the juice, it must be prepared fresh, and it doesn’t require any cooking. The town of Trujillo in Peru is known for its unique shark ceviche.
4. Tacos in Mexico
Who doesn’t love tacos? Traditional Mexican street tacos are soft shell tortillas made from flour (in the north) or corn (in the south). Filled with beef, pork, chicken or fish, grilled in front of you, then garnished with guacamole, coriander, tomatoes, onions and topped with one or few of the many salsas, most of them quite spicy. Very tasty! The taco itself originates from Aztecs, who used corn tortillas much as Europeans used bread, broke them into pieces to scoop up food. When in Mexico, look for a taquería (the taco stand) with the longest line; the locals always know the best place to eat.
5. Pastel in Brazil
Pastel is Brazils famous and favorite snack! It is a deep-fried stuffed thin-crust pastry, sweet or savory, eaten throughout the day, as a mooring snack, lunch or afternoon treats. The origins of Pastel are linked with the Japanese immigrants who opened first Chinese restaurants in Brazil. Every restaurant served spring rolls, and the locals deiced to create a Brazilian version. My favorite pastel is one filled with bananas and served with caldo de cana (freshly pressed sugar cane juice).