Tuesday, August 14, 2007

La Comida Tipica de Panama

Panama's cuisine is not what I would describe as "inspired." It is heavily rice and beans based, and not very strong in flavor.

Here are some shots of the most typical Panamanian "comida" there is. Rice and meat with beans or another side.

This is a very typical Panamanian dish called hojaldres con carne ahumado. It's basically deep fried bread with deep fried beef jerky--and it's delicious.

This is not exactly "typical" Panamanian food, but it was the best meal I had in the country--and perhaps the best meal on the whole trip that wasn't Argentine steak. It was a beautifully cooked and crusted tuna dish with wasabi mashed potatoes and a ceviche appetizer that I enjoyed in Bocas del Toro with my German friends Jenny and Claudia:

Shifting to the other end of the culinary spectrum, I couldn't resist this imitation McDonald's. I know this seems crazy to folks in the U.S., but this place was way more downscale than the original.

Careful blog readers will recognize this as my own chicken parmesan from the previous post. Obviously not typical Panamanian--but I cooked it in Panama and this is my damn blog so shut the hell up.

Finally, another non-typical dish that had to make the cut. The Peace Corps volunteers in Panama are always passing through the city of David in their various travels. Well, they've discovered that a particular casino in David offers a huge plate of nachos for a very reasonable price. Eating lunch at the casino has consequently become a popular Peace Corps pastime. I was fortunate enough to join them one day:


Anonymous said...

It is true that food tipica de Panama is based on rice and beans, for the most part, but there are so many other awesome dishes tipicos de Panama (it's all about variety), like the seafood is delicious, ceviche, fried or breaded fish with patacones (green plantains)are great and loaded with flavor also almejas en salsa verde, roja o blanca. If what you mean by flavor is spicy remember you went to Panama not Mexico, tourist always think of latin food as been spicy and loaded with guacamole hahaha... Obviously you did indeed missed out in all the great things that panamanian cuisine has to offer. What a shame!!!

Anonymous said...

I just love your comment on La comida Tipica I hope your enjoyed... Au revoir & Bravo!!

Anonymous said...

I'm from Panama myself and even though i dont live there anymore i still enjoy my traditional food and pass it down to generations to come. gracias para todo.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first comment made! You missed out on all the delicious seafood, ceviche is sooo good.

You also can't forget the tropical fruit (mangostin, pineapple, piva, guava, etc.)

And you make no mention of the most typical of foods in panama sancocho! Sancocho is an amazing chicken soup full of fresh veggies and cilantro, this is our equivalent of soul food!!

Next time you go make sure to check out this amazing place called Queso Chela where you can purchase bread made to order, right out of the oven, w/fresh fruit shake or juice, and of course queso, or cheese.

Let's not forget tamales!!

I hope you make sure to go back :)

Anonymous said...

yo soy de panama especificamente chiriqui y con solo ver estos platos se me iso agua a la boca y ya no aguanto las ganas para ir este verano alla METO!!!!

Anonymous said...

you also miss the sancocho, some of seafood but especially "LOS TAMALES"

Anonymous said...

I'm form Panama, but currently living in Spain. It's a shame that you missed all the excellent dishes you can taste in Panama. Contrary to what you said, the typical Panamanian food is very tasty and if you have the luck to go back to Panama, please try the sancocho, carimañolas, patacones, empanadas, platano en tentación, seviche, arroz con guandu y coco, arroz con pollo, ropa vieja, bistec picado, bocado de la reina or sopa de gloria. I think that if you taste any of these dishes you are going to change your mind about the Panamanian food. It's one of the many things I miss, taking in consideration that the Spanish food is also very good.

Anonymous said...

Yo tambien soy Panameña y muy orgullosa.siento que pienses que la comoda Panameña es simple y sin sabor,jaja.se ve que no sabes de buen sabor,ademas te recomiendo que leas y veras que por lo general todo lo que se sirve en un plato de comida Panameña se encuentran todos los grupos de de la alimentación.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the right person cook this food for you. It mostly is rice and beans, but if someone that didn't have the passion for our cuisine cooked this food for you it explains how you got to this conclusion........ You failed to mention our fish recipes. Corvina a la parrilla con patacones fritos, limon y ajo. xuxa madre tu no sabes de lo que estas hablando.

Unknown said...

jajaja and i hate your gringo food,you only ate at restaurants? you missed all the good panamanian food

FANDES said...

I totslly agree with the first comment, i was born in Nicaragua and Raced in Panama, an trust me, Panamenian food is the best so it's Nicaraguan, cuban, salvatorian, and colombian. I live in California of course there is a lot of mexicans, and to tell you the truth, the poor american are confuse that flavored is "spicy" cause that's all they're use to eating; But a Real Flavored food requires more than Chile to be delicious! And that's what Panamenian food has, . That's why I cook, cause I don't want to waiste my money in some Burger or Burritos, that can only give Diarrea and not fill me up.
Please try more Spanic, real spanic food,. So you know what is good..

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Andy said...

You're completely mad. I'm Australian and lived in Panama (Anton, Prov de Cocle) for a year way back in the 90s and I STILL dream of las comidas de Panama. Especially bollo con queso blanco, arroz con pollo, galletas de queque, cerviche and patacones. Never mad about nance, and Seco is an entire other story...

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Anonymous said...

I understand your opinion, because when people travel and they dont know where they going or what to spect, this is the result, using the web to talk trash , just because you stop at some "fonda" and eat a construction meal, that do not represent what the cusin of the country is, besides the arroz con pollo and other dishes mentioned, Panama is a mixing pat,where many cultures lead food heritage as spanish, french, italian, african , indian , chinese and many more, dishes like paella valenciana, pollo al curry,crepes mediterranean , Corvina a la macho, el pernil asado etc.
Take another break, possible now you taste is more mature and can enyoy the best of the life....a good dinner at Panama city

Anonymous said...

You idiot, have you thought that Panama is not the same as Mexico? Chili and wacamole is not the same either. We don't say the famous "wey" from Mexcio, but kick your ass instead. Have a lot of more respect for my country because i don't mess around with yours, that by the way the food in gringoland is just trash..the truth is that america has copied many customs from others countries like the way they cook their food...we instead are original. Next time you go on a trip around central america (anywhere) make sure to shut your fucking mouth and remember that everybody is different. You fucking ignorant!

Anonymous said...

No entiendo por que la vulgaridad, y groseria. Yo soy panameña, y me da verguenza cuando un dizque panameño, en vez de defender su posicion en una forma inteligente, sale a ensultar y a ofender. No critiques la opinion de esta persona, debatela inteligentemente. Si a el no le gusto la comida de nuestro pais, es su opinion y ya. Motivalo y tal vez la proxima vez, tenga la oportunidad de probar un platillo de los nuestros, bien preparado. Todo el mundo no sabe cocinar.

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Unknown said...

well i know is kinda late for me to respond to yall, but like he said "its his damn blog" so he might have not tried "real" panamanian food, but still he was nice enough to tell us about it, and please he never said "spicy" he said lack of flavor, prolly he didnt go to a good restaurant.

anyhow leave the "gringo" alone folks, and enjoy his blog...

btw, im latino, raised in several countries in america. just in case yall wondered

Anonymous said...

Where did you go in Panama?
Certainly NOT to Panamanian restaurants.

Every Gringo and foreigner I speak to, ADORES Panamanian food.

What (!) you want strong flavor? Go to Mexico or Jamaica, eh?

Our food is fresh and has NO additives like your American food.

In fact, I also talk with Europeans, and they say, "American is tasteless and horrible.A real disappointment."

It seems you,l Americans go for large sizes, in fruit /vegetables, for ex. strawberries and peaches, but they're full of water, but no taste.

It seems you don't know good eating when you have it, right under your nose!

Anonymous said...

We, have rice and beans, but add to it. Besides, you don't know there are myriads of beans?

Typical Panamanian cooking is a blend of Spanish (fr. Iberia, i.e the European country), French, as well, as Indigenous, some African and American, also.

You should read online tgeh recipes of Chabela Simons.

Let me list the foods:

Arroz con Pollo
Bollos de Maiz
Patacones (Tostadas)
Platanos Maduros
Ropa Vieja
Tamales Panamenos (ground fresh corn blended mixed with a tomato sauce in which pork -Chicken- onion, garlic, culantro,& other spices- and the whole wrapped in FRESH -washed plantain leaves- & boiled in water to absorb the flavor of the plaintain leaf).

Look up:

-Corvina a la Parrilla ( local fish grilled 'til golden brown. We remove the head and tail. ALL the bones can be removed in this fish).
-Red Snapper
-Jumbo shrimp

we have fruit:

-giant red Papayas (NOT the small insipid ones from Hawaii)
-Pixbae (Palm Beach fruit)
-Mangos de Calidad (NOT the inferior kinds sold in the U.S., which we call "mango de puerco.")


-Name (pronounce "Niame")
-Bread fruit

To name only a few.

So, get educated, eh?!

Otherwise, go back to Mickey D's!

An indignant Panamena

Anonymous said...

Going back to beans. Any day of the week, we use different beans:

-Lentejas (lentils)
-Arbejas (split peas)
-Frijoles Negros (Black beans)
-Frijoles Rojos (Kidney beans)
-Guandu (unknown in the U.S.)
-Chiricanos( which are from Chiriqui, and unknown outside Panama.)
-Habas ( Lima beans)

And we can't eat rice, without a sauce of fresh tomatoes sauteed with onions and culantro.

Anonymous said...

I've been in USA for almost 18 years, but I still cook panamanian food, because compared to here our food is very, very tasty; but I am not from chiriqui, I am from Las Tablas. I've been in different countries and Panama has the best sancocho de gallina, arroz con pollo y ropa vieja, so try those and you will be glad that you did.

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riquisima said...

you REALLY ARE A .'.$*$%*^#@ tipical American rigth, me imagino que no tienes ni paladar helloooooo lol.....

Anonymous said...

"m also from Panama and I been leaving in this country since 1997.I love all kind of dishes but nothing like my Panamenian food.So tasty and warm like our people.My husband is a chef and love our food.So proud to be from a wonderful country.nada como unos tamalitos y un sancochito bien rico.Arriba Panama y su gente.

Anonymous said...

Deverian de estar avergonsados de escribir tantas estupideses.Den su comentarios con madures.Yo he comido diferentes platos de paises diferentes.Unos muy ricos otros no tanto pero no por eso voy a escribir idiotes.Unos no puede dar su opinion sin haber disfrutado lugares diferente.ese es uno de los problemas de los hispanos les falta mas cultura.

Anonymous said...

who would have thought that as aa seasoned traveler your mind and taste bud would be open to new experiences, but sadley you are still anal about what you compare to the us, happy travels keep drinking cause is the only way for you to enjoy other cultures

Anonymous said...

completely false .. i live in Miami .. come over let me cook some good ole Panamaian dishes .. i guarantee you you will immediatley retract the above

Anonymous said...

Comida Panamena la mejor, jamas comeras algo igual, un buen sancocho, guacho de rabito de puerco, uhmmm uds Los gringos no saben lo que es comer rico, comida Latina no solo es la de Mexico, and by the way la comida Mexicana es la misma vaina solo que con diferentes nombres, todo lleva chile, frijoles y tortillas, comida gringa pollo frito, hamburguesas, papitas, frozen food y unas frutas que no saben a nada, tan insipidas como uds Los gringos.

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