Discover Central America through its cuisine: the dishes that describe its culture
The gastronomy of Central America is another unmistakable attraction of this natural, artistic and cultural paradise. It’s obvious that you’ll find original flavours in any Central American country. But until you make that multi-destination trip you have in mind, you can prepare the best-known typical Central American dishes at home while you dream about your next holiday.
Central American delicacies to prepare at home
If there’s one essential ingredient in Central American cuisine, it’s corn. This star product of the Mayan culture is used to make numerous products such as pupusas, tortillas and tamales. Next, I’ll tell you about typical recipes of this gastronomy where African, Spanish and indigenous cuisine are intertwined, using corn and other ingredients.
Rundown broth, a typical dish of Central American gastronomy
It’s a regular dish in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras. It consists of coconut milk served with banana, annatto, smoked meat or fish and onion. But if you’d like to try unique dishes from each country, I suggest more options. In Costa Rica, the palm heartpicadillo is famous, straight from the heart of the palm tree. You have to serve it with rice, butter, eggs and annatto.
You can also try Nicaragua’s Sunday meal, nacatamales. Add paprika, garlic, black pepper and annatto to the pork, then wrap the mixture in corn dough with orange juice. It’s served in banana leaves. Maybe you prefer the Honduran baleada, a wheat tortilla folded in half and filled with beans and cheese which is usually eaten for breakfast or dinner.
Typical dishes from El Salvador
Crab with alguashte is made in pepitoria sauce, with tomato, green chilli, onion and garlic. Meanwhile, pupusas are thick corn or rice tortillas stuffed with cheese, pork rinds or bacon, squash and beans. I recommend you eat them with curtido and tomato sauce. Be sure to try making tamales, you can choose either chicken or corn.
The Guatemalan red tamale
It’s eaten at celebrations and made with maxán leaves. This tamale is made with tomato and up to five varieties of chilli. But if you want to connect with the Guatemalan ancestors through the palate, try the atol de elote, a drink made with corn which the Mayans drank first thing in the morning.
More dishes to try at home before your multi-destination trip
Take note of these other culinary delights that you mustn’t miss:
The Panamanian sancocho
It’s a chicken stew served as a soup. You should add corn, carrot, onion, coriander and oregano. It also usually contains a tuber typical of humid areas called yam, but you can substitute it with potato. This country’s identifying dish is usually served with white rice.
Belize shrimp ceviche
The secret of its flavour is to cook the shrimp with lemon juice. You have to add diced tomato, pineapple and onion, as well as sprigs of coriander. Ceviche is served cold with corn tortilla chips or crackers.
The Dominican flag
This meal, eaten daily in the Dominican Republic, is easy to prepare. It consists of white rice with chicken or pork and stewed beans. It’s usually eaten with fried banana, mixed salad or even Russian salad. Sancocho is also eaten here, although in this case it’s made with various kinds of meat, and avocado.
These are just some of the typical Central American dishes. Visit our website to discover more about each country’s gastronomy in the excellent multi-destination tours we offer you.