food & drink

Latin America Truly Is A Food Oasis And Here Are Some Of The Best Dishes

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Known for fresh ingredients, vibrant flavors, and colorful presentation, Latin American food is popular with foodies all around the world. While staple dishes like enchiladas and quesadillas can be found in restaurants in nearly any nation, there are countless other dishes that better represent the culture and tastes of the region’s culture. Keep reading to learn some of the very best foods from countries throughout Latin America.

Empanada

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A popular Latin American snack or street food that’s now easy to find worldwide are empanadas. These treats can be savory or sweet. They feature a pastry pocket that’s filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, fruits, or huitlacoche, a corn mixture popular in Mexico. These pastry pockets are then baked or fried.

Pabellon Criollo

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While not official, many consider this meal to be the national dish of Peru, though it’s also popular throughout Latin America. It features rice stewed with black beans and shredded beef. Traditionally eaten at lunchtime, it is usually served with fried plantains, also called tajadas, as well as a fried egg.

Tamal

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This traditional dish traces its roots back hundreds of years in Latin America. It starts with masa, which is a starchy dough made from corn. Then, other ingredients, like meat, cheese, vegetables, chilies, or even fruit are added. Finally, the concoction is wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks and either steamed or boiled.

Churrasco

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If you’ve ever been lucky enough to dine at a Brazilian grill, you’ve likely heard of churrasco. While not a singular dish, the term “churrasco” actually refers to beef or even other types of grilled meat. It’s also not exclusive to Brazil. You’ll find this name on menus in a number of other countries, including Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Columbia, Guatemala, and more.

Ropa Vieja

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The term “ropa vieja” translates to “old clothes.” This traditional Cuban dish gets its name from the shredded beef’s resemblance to a pile of torn old rags. The beef is seasoned with sofrito, which includes a mix of sauteed onions, garlic, tomatoes, and green peppers. This dish is usually served on top of black beans and rice, and may also come with a side of fried plantains.

Feijoada

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This traditional dish features a main meat, usually beef or pork, that is cooked in a stew of black beans. This dish is usually served with rice, vegetables, and assorted sausages such as churico, farinheira, or morcela. It may also come with other side dishes to make a full meal. One popular side dish for feijoada is farofai, which is toasted manioc flour.

Chipa

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Often served as a side dish or even a breakfast food, a chipa is a small baked roll that is cheese flavored. While you’ll find chipas in a number of Latin American cities, Coronel Bogado in Paraguay is considered the National Capital of the Chipa.

Mole

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One of the most popular types of mole is mole poblano. In fact, many people consider it to be Mexico’s national dish. It features more than 20 ingredients, including notable additions like chili and chocolate. In Mexico, you’ll often find this dish served around the holidays and for special occasions. It’s usually poured over turkey, though it can be served over any number of different dishes.

Ceviche

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Ceviche is so popular in Peru that there’s even a national holiday dedicated to it; Dia Nacional del Cebiche. You’ll also find this dish served in Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, and other countries throughout Latin and South America, as well as throughout the Caribbean.

Ceviche features raw fish that has been cured in the juice of key limes or bitter oranges. It is then mixed with chili peppers and onion, and flavored with salt and pepper. Traditionally served in a small glass, it may also be served with avocado, corn, or other toppings.

Tostones

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While different nations give them different names, tostones are a popular snack throughout Latin American. They are fried plantains, often sliced thin like potato chips and seasoned with salt or other spices.

Mofongo

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Another popular dish featuring fried plantains is mofongo. For this meal, fried plantains are mashed and a variety of seasonings and other ingredients, like onion and salt, are added.

Bandeja Paisa

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The term “bandeja paisa” actually refers more to the type of dish rather than to the ingredients themselves. A bandeja paisa is a large meal served on a platter and featuring several traditional dishes and side dishes.

Some popular items you might find in a bandeja paisa are white rice, red beans cooked with pork, fried eggs, plantains, chorizo, and avocado. You might also find other traditional dishes, like carne molida, which is a type of ground meat, arepa, a Latin American flatbread, and morcilla, a black pudding.

Tequenos

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Originally hailing from Venezuela, tequenos are fried cheese sticks made by wrapping bread dough around chunks of queso blanco. These treats are now a popular snack or street food in a number of nations.

Curanto

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Curanto may be made with a variety of types of shellfish and meats, served with either potato pancakes or potato dumplings, and a mix of seasonal vegetables. Before the heated stones are added, this dish is covered with rhubarb leaves, then wet sacks, dirt, and grass. While this is the traditional way to cook this dish, other Latin and South American countries may also bake or otherwise roast curantos.

Asado

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Asado is a barbecue technique that starts with flank-cut beef ribs that are flavored with a number of spices. The beef is then cooked over a grill, also called a parilla, or more traditionally, over an open flame. Alongside the beef, you’ll also likely be served a variety of other meats, like chicken or cured sausages called embutidos, as well as sweet breads, grilled vegetables, and salad.

Brigadeiros

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This simple, yet tasty dessert originated in Brazil. It is made from condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter, which is rolled into balls and covered in chocolate sprinkles.

Encebollado

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The word “encebollado” actually translates to “cooked with onions.” This Ecuadorian dish, sometimes called the country’s national dish, is a fish stew cooked with fresh tomatoes, coriander leaves, and a variety of spices for a flavorful, hearty meal. It is usually served with boiled cassava or yucca, as well as pickled red onion rings.

Tacos

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This is one Mexican staple that you’ll not only find in every Spanish-speaking nation but also around the world. The ingredients and varieties are truly endless. Traditional versions often feature corn tortillas and grilled meats such as beef or pork, though you’ll also find plenty of seafood and vegetable options as well.

Dulce de Leche

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Another popular dessert throughout Latin America is dulce de leche. It is made by slowly heating condensed milk and may be served on its own or poured over other desserts such as cake.

Antichuchos

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Served from street carts and market stalls, antichuchos are inexpensive skewers of meat that were originally developed in the Andes Mountains. The meat is often marinated in vinegar and topped with spices like cumin, garlic, and pepper.

Churros

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Known around the world as a sweet, easy to eat as a snack, churros are fried pieces of dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar. The Latin American version is often larger and thicker and is filled with a sweet filling, such as dulce de leche or fruit jams.


READ: These Substitutes Make Our Favorite Latino Foods Healthy, Delicious, Satisfying, And Good For You

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Here Is The Ultimate Vegan Taco Crawl For Your Next Trip To Los Angeles

Culture

Here Is The Ultimate Vegan Taco Crawl For Your Next Trip To Los Angeles

fatveganguy / Instagram

There might officially be more veganos than vegans in America, but nobody is really keeping track of Latino-American diets. For all the veganos out there looking for their next food-tour vacation, forget Portland. Los Angeles is where all of the best vegan tacos and Mexican food calls home.

Almost every taco truck would be able to accommodate you, and, yes, know whether their frijoles are vegan, because we’re everywhere in L.A. In such a competitive market for hungry vegan Latinos, we’ve generated a list of the top vegan tacos in Los Angeles. If you’re not hungry now, you’re about to be.

1. Cena Vegan

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Cena Vegan’s fame is all in their homemade vegan meats. The meats are so good that you can order them in bulk to use at home. At the truck, you can get carne asada, pollo asado, al pastor and a gluten-free carnitas meat option. Then, you add it to tacos, burritos, nacho boats, etc.

This Instagram reviewer puts it bluntly, “literally how are these vegan HOW. @cenavegan you’re magic.”

They’re a winner for obvious reasons.

@veganthisweekend / Instagram

You can try all four taco meats and get four tacos for $11, without having to worry if the beans are cooked in lard, or if the crema is really vegan. It’s all vegan and so good.

2. Vegatinos Food Truck

@vegatinos / Instagram

They love to serve up their vegan shrimp tacos. The few times we can find vegan shrimp are usually at all-vegan Asian restaurants. Shrimp tacos?! Only in Los Angeles.

At Vegatinos, you can get suadero and chicharron tacos before enjoying some vegan flan. 😭

@vegatinos / Instagram

Quintin L. had some interesting things to say about Vegatinos in his Yelp Review. “I’m so in love with these freaking rockstar tacos… it feels like cheating on someone because everything tastes so good that it feels like you’re doing something naughty.”

3. Plant Food for People

@plantfoodforppl / Instagram

PPFP isn’t making high-protein vegan meats like Cena, but they’re keeping it classic in a different way with signature jackfruit tacos made four different ways. Plus, you can also get their breakfast tacos made with tofu and potato scramble if you get there early enough.

4. Hijo De Su Madre

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From left to right, we have a beer-battered avocado, chipotle crema, and pepita slaw; soyrizo, potato hash, and guac; Beyond Meat cabbage, avocado, secret sauce. That’s not even all their options because Hijo is all-vegan.

5. Dear Mama LA

@dearmamala / Instagram

You definitely want to check out this Latina-owned taco spot when you are in LA. Her caption reads, “This hood inspired traditional flavor is just what summer needed. Our citrus marinated chick’n or Hood Chick’n will have you reminiscing on the days you were a kid and you had carne asadas with the family. This hood staple of yellow looking chicken was what most kids enjoyed! So I’m bringing it back to you with a whole lot of love. We marinate it to perfection with oranges and bell peppers and of course love 🥰🙆‍♀️🔥”

6. Trejo’s Tacos Fried Avocado Tacos

@trejostacos / Instagram

Danny Trejo has outdone himself with a chain of authentic Mexican tacos all around Los Angeles. Danny knows his clients well by offering the only version of an avocado toast we want to have for breakfast: Fried Avocado Tacos.

You should also check out their Cauliflower Chorizo Tacos.

@trejostacos / Instagram

Listen, his taco game is on point. Trejo’s alway has at least three vegan options on the menu. As of June 2019, he has Young Jackfruit with avocado crema, Mushroom Asada with pepita pesto, and Cauliflower with cashew cream.

7. Doomies Home Cookin’ and Doomies NextMex

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Doomies is best known for replicating America’s favorite meat dishes (like fried chicken, and Big Macs) but vegan. The reviews are in and Next Mex is where it’s at.

8. Gracias Madre

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This restaurant is reserved for those special nights out. It’s LA prices, but it’s outrageously delicious. You can expect to enjoy all your vegan favorites from sopes to pozole, flautas and tamales. Their jackfruit carnitas tacos are rico. top it off with flan or pineapple upside down cake and you’ll be happy as a vegan clam.

9. Olga’s Naturally

@olgasnaturally / Instagram

All their taco tortillas are handmade using organic blue maiz from Oaxaca. They always strive to source organic and also offer vegan chicken as a protein option, alongside vegan cheese quesadillas. Yup.

10. Sage Vegan Bistro

@thekindsage / Instagram

It isn’t a taco joint but they do have great tacos. Plus, they know to call them street tacos. These are “made w/ marinated jackfruit, garlic aioli, cilantro and onions on an organic corn tortilla are served all day on weekdays and after brunch on the weekends! 🌮”

11. Organix LA

@organixla / Instagram

They take Taco Tuesday very seriously with $2 vegan tacos and 20 percent off all vegan burritos. All their food is vegan, and you can enjoy anything from deep-fried vegan fish filet tacos to classic carne asada style grilled mushroom tacos like the ones you see above.

12. Chica’s Tacos

Charmaine L. / Yelp

Chica’s vegan tacos are made with spicy cauliflower chorizo and topped with a slice of marinated mushroom, avocado, and cilantro. You know they’re good because Chica’s stands by using only organic, never frozen ingredients to represent an authentic Méxican dish.

13. Un Solo Sol

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They essentially offer a vegan version of almost everything on their menu ranging from nopalitos tacos to pinto bean pupusas. You know when you order veggie tacos at a non-vegan taquería and it’s just onions and pico de gallo? These guys load up their veggie tacos with actual veggies ricos.

14. Tacos La Tehuanita

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Follow @tacoslatehuanita to get all the updates on where they’re parked tonight. “Yum! Come one, come all, come with hearty appetites,” are the types of rallying calls you can expect from them. You want to try the butternut squash tacos.

15. Taco Zone Truck

Alex V. / Yelp

Yelp reviewer Helen J. Puts it best. “VEGAN AND VEGETARIANS WELCOME HERE. The tacos are cheap but full of flavor. We came down here after the Griffith Observatory and these tacos hit the spot! Great food truck, friendly service, and fast at that.”

16. El Chato Taco Truck

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Folks rave about how you can feast and still have a pile of money leftover at El Chatos. While reviewers aren’t posting pictures of the vegan option, there are a dozen reviews about how delicious the veggie tacos are. It can never hurt to check it out.

17. Guisados

@guisados / Instagram

Above are the two vegetarian options listed on the menu. We bet you could ask for it sin cotija, but the off-menu vegan accommodation is reportedly spicy. One Yelp reviewer said, “My friend who is vegan, was able to be accommodated at this place as well! He ended up getting the chiles correados taco. BEWARE!! It is extremely spicy ! But he really loved it !”

READ: 19 Dessert Tacos That Will Make Your Mouth Water

Just Another Reminder That The Most Popular Salad In The World Is Actually Mexican

Culture

Just Another Reminder That The Most Popular Salad In The World Is Actually Mexican

Taste.com

Those who don’t know any better give Mexican food a bad rap for being cheap and greasy. However, the Mexican culinary world expands far past Taco Bell and Taco Cabana. Authentic Mexican food is fresh, bold, delicious and versatile.

In fact, Mexico is responsible for one of the biggest fine dining staples there is.

Mexico is, in fact, the birthplace of the creamy and crisp Caesar salad.

Twitter / @oucrimsongirl

As the story goes, the Caesar salad was created in Tijuana, Mexico by an Italian restaurateur named Caesar Cardini. It was 1924 when Cardini established his restaurant in the tourist destination to cater to American guests escaping prohibition. While no one really knows the true story, most agree the salad was created over 4th of July holiday weekend.

Supposedly, the dish was completely improvised. Cardini is said to have thrown together several ingredients he had at his disposal and it created the fresh, delicious gourmet salad.

Twitter / @ladelandleaf

According to What’s Cooking America, the original recipe used a base of romain lettuce leafs. Additionally, garlic, parmesan cheese, croutons, boiled eggs, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce were added.

Rumor has it that it was Cardini’s brother, Alex, that added anchovies in 1926. He named his remix the “Aviator’s Salad.” Still, this anchovy-filled dish was so popular that it became known as the official Caesar salad.

Parts of this story is hard to prove, but it comes with a famous witness to offer some legitimacy to it.

Twitter / @keatonkildebell

The famous English chef, Julia Child, shared her first encounter with the iconic salad. In her book, “From Julia Child’s Kitchen,” the chef recounted her experience in a Tijuana restaurant. She wrote:

“My parents, of course, ordered the salad. Caesar himself rolled the big cart up to the table, tossed the romaine in a great wooden bowl, and I wish I could say I remembered his every move, but I don’t. They only thing I see again clearly is the eggs. I can see him break 2 eggs over that romaine and roll them in, the greens going all creamy as the eggs flowed over them. Two eggs in a salad? Two one-minute coddled eggs? And garlic-flavored croutons, and grated Parmesan cheese? It was a sensation of a salad from coast to coast, and there were even rumblings of its success in Europe.”

It’s popularity in Europe cause people to mistakenly think the Caesar salad is Italian.

Twitter / @Kylie_greenlee
Twitter / @2FlyT

However, the dish is 100% authentically Mexican cuisine. To recognize the delectable salad, in 1953, it was declared “the greatest recipe to originate from the Americas in 50 years” by the International Society of Epicure. We wouldn’t expect anything less from this Mexican classic.

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