Culture

Fast Food Restaurants You Need To Check Out The Next Time You’re In Latin America

elcorraloficial / petershotdogs / Instagram

We all know global chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway can satisfy your fast food cravings anywhere in the world. Yet, if you want a taste of Latin America on-the-go, try these fast food chains when you’re hungry and in a hurry. There are some locations in the U.S. but these are must-eats if you want to know what fast food is in Latin America.

1. Pollo Campero

If you were at Los Angeles International Airport, you knew you were standing outside the right arrival flight from El Salvador if you smelled fried chicken in the air. The chicken chain is a staple in the country, and passengers would carry boxes and plastic bags full of the fried, crunchy chicken on their flights to bring to family and friends. In Latin America, the restaurant chain has locations in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Mexico. Their international headquarters are based in Dallas and there are now 70 locations in the U.S. to give you a taste of El Salvador.

2. Pollos Frisby

This fried chicken is Colombia’s answer to Pollo Campero. The chain was founded in 1983 and originally served pizza but struck its luck in making fried chicken. Customers can order sides such as yucca, fries or salad to accompany their entree. If you want to try this chicken you’ll have to make a trip down to Colombia where there are 200 locations in more than 20 cities.

3. Peter’s Hot Dog

If you’re in Argentina and want a taste of comfort food from back home, stop by this restaurant serving up hot dogs with some toppings such as fried potato sticks, sauerkraut, cucumbers and your choice of sauce. Order like a local and call the hot dogs by their name—panchos. In a country known for empanadas and asado, it is one of the few places you can sit down to eat a hot dog while enjoying a Boca game on the TV.

4. California Burrito Co.

No Chipotle? No problem. Bite into burritos abroad at this Buenos Aires-based burrito chain with Latin American locations in Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador.

5. Hamburguesas El Corral

This Colombian hamburger chain is making sure you know it is gourmet with a bun on top. Customers at its over 200 locations in 30 cities across Colombia, and outposts in Chile, Panama and Ecuador, can top their burgers with ingredients including specialty cheeses, Argentine sausage, tortilla chips, Colombian costeño cheese, grilled chicken and more.


READ: 20 Foods And Drinks That Instantly Take Caribbean Latinos Back To Their Childhood

Have you eaten at any of these fast food chains? Share this with your friends to tell them you’re a world-class foodie!

Evelyn Hernandez Is Facing A Third Trial And Angered Protesters Used A New Way To Show Their Frustration

Things That Matter

Evelyn Hernandez Is Facing A Third Trial And Angered Protesters Used A New Way To Show Their Frustration

@bbcstories / Twitter

There are rising tensions in El Salvador as activists are protesting the attorney general’s decision to seek a third trial for a woman accused of killing her stillborn son. The woman, Evelyn Hernandez, was exonerated in an August retrial after an earlier judgment found her guilty of killing her stillborn son and sentenced her to 30 years behind bars. Hernandez, 21, was found innocent after the judge said there was not enough evidence to convict her of the crime. 

The issue of abortion has always been a widely-debated and divisive topic in conservative El Salvador where abortion is illegal. Many women in the country have been prosecuted for attempting abortions even in dire medical situations. Activists look at Hernandez’s case as an example of an unjust system targeting her due to her limited financial status. 

 “We do not want Evelyn to be viewed as a criminal and persecuted,” Claribel Ayala, a protester outside the attorney general’s office in El Salvador told Reuters. “We’re going to stand with her until justice is done.”

While activists see Hernandez’s case as a trial against women rights, prosecutors are looking at her as a criminal.

Credit: @NARAL / Twitter 

Activists dressed in clown attire took to the streets of El Salvador this week to voice their disapproval of the news that attorney general Raul Melara would be seeking a third trial in Hernandez’s case. Many of them threw confetti-filled eggs at his office and even painted his door red with paint. Melara acknowledges their anger but sees the case with a different lens.  

“There are groups that have a big interest in seeing this as persecution against poverty, that this woman is being targeted because she had an emergency outside the hospital, but the proof is overwhelming and shows this isn’t the case,” Melara told reporters.

Hernandez’s release from prison was viewed as a victory for women rights. 

Credit: @karlazabs / Twitter

Hernandez said she was raped by a gang member and was unaware of her pregnancy until just before delivering a stillborn son back in 2016. She was found on her bathroom floor covered with blood and would be taken to an emergency room by her mother and a neighbor. When doctors examined her they noted that there were visible signs of delivery but found no baby. They reported Hernandez to local authorities and would later find her newborn dead inside of a septic tank.

She’s been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for the alleged killing of her child. Prosecutors said that she had purposely induced abortion only to leave the newborn to die. Hernandez wound up only serving 33 months out of her original 30-year sentence before being released in February. 

This was due to an appeal before the Supreme Court who said that Hernandez should be released due the original conviction being based on prejudice and insufficient evidence. The acquittal was looked at as a huge victory for women’s rights not only in El Salvador but globally. 

“It was tough to be locked up, especially when I was innocent,” Hernandez said the day she was released. “There are others who are still locked up and I hope they are freed soon.”

Hernandez has maintained her innocence from the start that she had no knowledge of being pregnant. Now prosecutors are looking at a third trial to convict her of killing her newborn child. 

Credit: @marlasirens / Twitter

The attorney general is seeking to convict Hernandez of murder even after being released from prison. While many see Hernandez as the true victim in this ordeal, prosecutors see things differently.  

“As Attorney General of the Republic, we are responsible for the support and accompaniment of women victims in any crime and in any of its modalities, but, in the case of Evelyn Hernández, there are no elements to consider her a victim of any fact, on the contrary, the only victim is her son,” prosecutors said in a statement . “This appeal is the manifestation of the legal protection of … the life of a helpless being who depended absolutely on the care of his mother, who caused his death.”

Hernandez’s legal team is fighting back against these claims saying that the attempt at a retrial is a waste of resources that could be used to serve more important issues. 

“We expected this persecution against Evelyn to stop,” one of her lawyers, Elizabeth Deras, told BuzzFeed News. “Instead, they are spending the state’s resources unnecessarily. Resources that could be used to fight corruption.”

As of now, the request for a new trial must be assessed by a different court before it can proceed legally. The prosecution is looking to sentence Hernandez to 40 years in prison.  

READ: These Are Our Favorite Fast Foods You Can Get In Latin America But Not In The US, Dos Por Favor!

These Fast Food Items That Are Only Available In Latin America Will Give You Some Serious Food Envy

Culture

These Fast Food Items That Are Only Available In Latin America Will Give You Some Serious Food Envy

@McDonaldsMexico / Twitter

Fast food is key to contemporary societies. Some people see fast food chains, the majority of which are originally from the United States, as a sign of cultural imperialism, an unstoppable force that just feeds on greed and crushes local industries and culinary cultures. The recently deceased Mexican painter Francisco Toledo, for example, fought and won the battle of stopping McDonald’s from opening a branch in the main square of the city of Oaxaca. 

Critics see fast food as a way in which companies want to set an standarized way of living. Companies like McDonald’s, Burger King or Starbucks have expanded worldwide. However, fast food also provides a sense of comfort, of feeling at home basically anywhere in the world. 

Well, one of the expansion strategies used by fast food chains is offering products that appeal to the local taste. Menus in different countries offer surprising options that make locals feel cared for and help visitors discover something new while being in a familiar place. These are some of the dishes that you can only find in Latin America. 

If you know what queso panela is you will drool at this Starbucks sandwich.

Credit: Twitter. @StarbucksMexico

Queso panela is a delicious Mexican cheese that can be grilled and is similar to Turkish varieties brought by the Spanish conquerors (in fact, many staples of Mexican cuisine have a Middle Eastern origin). If you are on a diet and just can’t let go of cheese, then chances are that this is a must-have in your fridge. This sandwich looks so homemade that we just want to curl in one of those big Starbucks chairs and eat it. 

Because Colombians are just a little bit fancy…

Credit: Twitter. @McDonaldsColombia

Yum! Colombians can be very sophisticated when it comes to food and this delicious burger is proof of it. It has melted cheese and prosciutto, aka fancy ham. And this burger was created for a good cause: part of the proceedings went to a charity that provides accommodation for children in need. Delicious and morally satisfying. 

Because you can’t have a restaurant in Venezuela and not sell arepas.

Credit: Twitter. @McDonaldsVenezuela

McMuffins are a staple of McDonald’s breakfasts worldwide, but of course the fast food giant had to offer traditional arepas in its Venezuelan branches. 

Yuquitas are available in Venezuela, but there is a sad story behind it.

Credit: Twitter. @McDonaldsVenezuela

Due to food scarcity in the South American country, McDonald’s stopped selling French fries in some locations and replaced them with Yuquitas, made out of Yucca plants. Yucca does bring some health benefits, though, and provides relief for osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, inflammation of the intestine (colitis), high cholesterol, stomach disorders, diabetes, poor circulation, and liver and gallbladder disorders. 

McDonald’s offers one of the staples of Mexican breakfast: molletes!

Credit: Twitter. @McDonaldsMexico

Molletes are almost as popular as chilaquiles (the delicious concoction of fried tortilla triangles, authentic salsa, cream and cheese). Molletes are basically a piece of bread, traditionally a bolillo, with refried beans and melted cheese on top. The cereza en el pastel is a touch of pico de gallo or the hot sauce of your liking. The McDonald’s version is a bit meh. It uses a sort of English muffin instead of a crunchy, fluffy bolillo

And apparently you can also get molletes with no frijoles! That is like our worst fast food nightmare ever.

Credit: Twitter. @YurithKat

This poor woman must have had the worst beginning of her day ever. A mollete with no beans is like a burger with no meat (or veggie patty for those who prefer them). Definitely one of the worst ways to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, metaphorically speaking. 

And Burger King Mexico no se queda atrás: burritos a la mexicana.

Credit: Burger King Mexico

Yes, you can get breakfast burritos in the United States, but this version is only available in Mexico and is made a la mexicana, which basically means that it has freshly chopped tomato, green chili and onion. It is a great morning pick me up and can help greatly with la cruda. 

For a Boricua taste, a Monchi Burger.

Credit: McDonald’s Puerto Rico

Launched in April this year and for a limited time, this new hamburger was prepared with sweet and light Mallorca bread. It was available in two versions: beef or chicken, and comes with fresh lettuce, tomato, cheese, ketchup and mayonnaise. Yum. 

And of course Burger King has a classic churrasquito in Argentina!

Credit: Burger King Argentina

Argentinians love their meat, but they also love their thick, crunchy bread (the kind that makes your jaws ache after you eat a whole sandwich). It is no surprise that Burger King introduced a churrasquito in its menu. Layer upon layer of fatty, delicious animal products (not suitable for vegans, obvs).