Panama, a vibrant and diverse country in Central America, boasts a rich culinary heritage that blends indigenous, African, Spanish, and Caribbean influences. With its tropical climate and abundance of fresh ingredients, Panama's cuisine offers a delightful fusion of flavors and textures. From hearty stews to mouthwatering seafood dishes, let's explore some of the national dishes and culinary delights that define Panama's gastronomy.
Sancocho: Sancocho is Panama's national dish and a beloved culinary tradition. It is a hearty chicken soup made with a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices. The broth is simmered for hours, resulting in a flavorful and comforting soup that is often enjoyed with rice. Recipe
Ceviche: Ceviche is a popular dish in Panama, highlighting the country's abundant seafood. Fresh fish or shrimp is marinated in lime or lemon juice, mixed with onions, peppers, and cilantro. The acidity of the citrus "cooks" the seafood, creating a refreshing and tangy appetizer or main course. Recipe
Arroz con Pollo: Arroz con Pollo, or chicken with rice, is a classic Panamanian dish that combines tender chicken pieces with rice, vegetables, and aromatic spices. The flavors meld together as the ingredients simmer, resulting in a flavorful one-pot meal. Recipe
Ropa Vieja: Ropa Vieja, meaning "old clothes" in Spanish, is a savory and tender shredded beef dish. The meat is slow-cooked with onions, peppers, tomatoes, and spices until it becomes incredibly tender. It is often served with rice, beans, and plantains. Recipe
Hojaldres: Hojaldres are delicious deep-fried bread rolls that are commonly enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack. These light and fluffy treats can be served with a variety of accompaniments such as cheese, eggs, or meat. Recipe
Patacones: Patacones are a popular side dish made from fried plantains. The plantains are sliced, fried, and then flattened before being fried again. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, often served as a tasty accompaniment to main dishes or as a snack on their own. Recipe
Tamales: Tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish made from masa (corn dough) filled with various ingredients such as meat, vegetables, or cheese. The mixture is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed until cooked. Tamales are often enjoyed during special occasions and holidays. Recipe
Ceviche de Mariscos: Ceviche de Mariscos is a seafood ceviche that showcases the bountiful marine flavors of Panama. It typically includes a mix of shrimp, fish, octopus, and other seafood, marinated in citrus juices and combined with onions, peppers, and cilantro. It is a refreshing and vibrant dish. Recipe
Tortillas: Tortillas are a staple in Panamanian cuisine. These thin, flatbread-like creations are made from corn or flour and can be enjoyed on their own or as a base for various dishes. Recipe
Chicheme: Chicheme is a popular Panamanian beverage made from corn, milk, cinnamon, and sugar. It has a creamy and sweet flavor, often served chilled as a refreshing drink. Recipe
These are just a few examples of the national dishes and culinary delights of Panama. The country's cuisine reflects its cultural diversity and abundance of fresh ingredients, providing a delightful gastronomic experience for locals and visitors alike.