Culture

We Found The Best Latino Eats At Trader Joe’s So You Wouldn’t Have To

Trader Joe’s may not be the first name that comes to mind when you’re thinking of authentic Latin food. But surprisingly enough, this cult-favorite specialty store has a variety of foods from across Latinidad that (while they may not be as good as abuela’s) hit the spot when you’re in a pinch. 

From Frozen quesadillas to packaged plantain chips, Trader Joe’s has a ton of foods from Latin America to satisfy your wallet and your tastebuds. And who knows? Maybe even your abuela will approve. Take a look at 10 of the best Trader Joe’s Latin food options below! 

1. Southwest Chicken Quesadillas

via Trader Joe’s website

According to Reddit user u/gratefulem220, these treats fly woefully under the radar. “Southwest quesadillas are so good. They’re like southwest egg rolls from any chain restaurant but in quesadilla form”

2. Chili Spiced Dried Mango

via Trader Joe’s website

You may have grown out of your Vero Mango days, but Trader Joe’s offers a sweet and healthy alternative to the famous Mexican candy. According to Trader Joe’s, this dried fruit is lovingly coated in a “blend of paprika, cayenne, sugar, & salt”. What’s not to love?

3. Chicken Enchiladas Verde

via Trader Joe’s website

According to Trader Joe’s, their Chicken Enchiladas are filled with “chicken breast, Monterey jack cheese, and a special enchiladas verdes sauce made from crushed tomatillo, onion, green chili peppers, and diced poblanos.”  We know it’s hard to beat homemade, but Trader Joes usually comes through with yummy late night snacks.

4. Mini Chicken Tacos

via Trader Joe’s website

Sure, these aren’t your madre’s tacos, but these Mini Chicken Tacos haven’t become a fan-favorite for nothing. According to Trader Joe’s, these tacos are made with crispy yellow corn tortillas, and then “are filled with chunks of chicken leg and breast meat that’s been simmered in a tangy, green chile tomatillo sauce kicked up with a bit of jalapeño pepper”. Sounds delicious.

5. Cuban-Style Citrus Garlic Bowl

via Trader Joe’s website

Finally, a snack fit for the Cubanos out there. While Trader Joe’s may be famous for it’s iterations of Mexican food (it was founded in Southern California, after all), once in a while, they throw the rest of Latinidad a bone. This time, they tried their hand at a Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl. According to TJ’s, the bowl is made of marinated chicken thighs, yellow rice, diced bell peppers and onions, black beans, plantains, and cilantro. And to make matters even better, it’s topped of with mojo criollo sauce.

6. Black Bean & Cheese Taquitos

via Trader Joe’s website

Taquitos are arguably the perfect snack food. If it’s gameday finger food or mouth-watering appetizers, taquitos always hit the spot. These ones are made with “seasoned black beans & Monterey Jack cheese”. You can’t go wrong with this tasty vegetarian snack option. 

7. Chicken Chilaquiles Rojo

via Trader Joe’s website

Chilaquiles are a breakfast staple in Mexico, and TJ’s has offered up it’s own version on this savory treat. If you really want to take this frozen food to the next level, don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen a bit. “We made this this weekend, topped with sour cream, avocado, a sunny side up egg and a dash of hot sauce,” said Reddit user u/Pepperpeople444.

8. Roasted Plantain Chips

via Trader Joe’s website

In many parts of Latinidad, plantains are as common to Latinos as apples are to North Americans. Those who miss their sweet banana snacks are in for a treat when they visit Trader Joe’s. “They’re just crispy, crunchy, starchy goodness!” says Reddit user u/Hazy_Cat. “There’s just a teeny-tiny hint of sweetness that makes them ultra addictive. The TJ ones are my favorite”.

9. Giant Peruvian Inca Corn

via Trader Joe’s website

If you’re in the mood for something salty and crunchy but know that potato chips won’t hit the spot, opt instead for a bag of Giant Peruvian Inca Corn. “For years of my life, my favorite go to snack was TJ’s giant Peruvian Inca Corn. It’s crunchy salty goodness got me through many nights of school and games. Satisfied me through many hungry afternoons,” says Reddit user u/Doombuggie41. “Corn nuts don’t do the same thing”.

10. Trader Joe’s Peruvian Style Chimichurri Rice

via Trader Joe’s website

According to Reddit user u/crazypterodactyl, there’s a million ways to use this delicious frozen rice: “We make ours into soup (they had it as a sample one time). One bag chimichurri rice, one can black beans, one carton black bean soup. I add garlic and lime juice, but that’s not necessary. Serve plain, or with cheese, sour cream, and/or cilantro. So good and so easy!” 

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In Cuba, Where Food Is Unreliable, Savvy Cooks Have Turned to Facebook to Share Recipes

Culture

In Cuba, Where Food Is Unreliable, Savvy Cooks Have Turned to Facebook to Share Recipes

Photo via Getty Images

COVID-19 hasn’t been easy for Cubans. Not only have Cubans been physically affected by the virus like the rest of the world, but the drop in the island’s gross domestic product has stymied local economic productivity. The island can no longer look to tourism to add to their GDP.

Because of this drop in GDP, food shortages on the island have become more severe than in recent memory. And Cuban cooks are feeling the effects.

Cubans must stand in line for hours at markets with no guarantees that the ingredients that they want will be available.

This way of living is especially hard for Cuban cooks, like 39-year-old Yuliet Colón. For Colón, cooking is both a creative expression and a stress reliever. “The kitchen is my happy place, where I am calmer and I feel better,” she recently revealed to the Associated Press.

Yuliet Colón is one of the creators of a Facebook page called Recetas del Corazón that has changed the cooking game for thousands of Cubans.

Now, thanks to Colón and other curious and generous Cuban cooks like her, Recipes from the Heart is now 12,000 members strong.

The goal of the page is to help struggling Cuban cooks cope with food shortages. Members of the page share creative recipes, tips, and food substitutions. Launched in June of 2020, the page was an instant success. Its success proves that Cubans have been desperate to find ways to adapt their cooking to the post-COVID-era.

To AP News, Yuliet Colón laments about the lack of rice, beans, cheese, fruit, and, most of all, eggs. “What I like the most is making desserts, but now it’s hard to get eggs, milk or flour,” she revealed.

The brightside is, however, that Cuban cooks are finally able to share food-related tips and tricks with each other on a much larger scale than they were before the internet became more widespread in the country.

Now that many Cubans have access to communication apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, they can now connect with one another and make the most of what they have–however little that may be.

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Here Are 9 Salsas From Across Latin America That You’ll Carry In Your Bag Every Day Of The Week

Culture

Here Are 9 Salsas From Across Latin America That You’ll Carry In Your Bag Every Day Of The Week

I guarantee that since Beyonce’s hit anthem ‘Formation’ hit the airwaves, we’ve all been wanting to channel our inner Bey and carry some hot sauce in our bags. But which one would you choose?  

Whether you prefer sweet and sour, ranch, spicy, or mild, when it comes to options, the possibilities are endless!

A sauce’s beauty is that every country has its famous creation that usually accompanies their traditional dishes. Every Latin American country has its mouth-watering sauce that was created using recipes passed down from ancestors.

AJILIMOJILI

In Puerto Rico, this sauce is quite popular because of its ají dulce flavor – a mix of sweet and sour notes. The green salsa is the Caribbean’s version of hot sauce and is added to recipes, such as seafood and boiled vegetables.

VALENTINA

Few of us don’t know about the magic that is Valentina. Pour that sauce all over your papas, pizza, jicama, elotes, and so much more. And it’s great because it’s available in a variety of heat levels so everyone can enjoy. 

TIÁ LUPITA HABANERO SAUCE

This Habanero Hot Sauce is an original family recipe of the brand and combines just the right amount of heat with each fruit’s natural sweetness. It is handmade in small batches, using only habanero peppers, dates, mangos, and spices. All ingredients are sourced from local farms and are non-GMO and gluten-free certified.

The sauce can be used as a condiment with breakfast burritos, eggs, sandwiches, tacos, pulled pork, steak, chicken, fish, quesadillas, and more.

CHIMICHURRI

Chimichurri is mostly tied to Argentina, even though other countries also serve the herb-based salsa. To achieve the perfect chimichurri, mix parsley, oregano, garlic, onion, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil. Pair with meat cuts like churrasco and watch the magic happen.

CHIRMOL

In Central America, chismol or chirmol is made of tomatoes, onion, peppers and other ingredients. It’s similar to pico de gallo and is used in a variety of dishes.

RICANTE

Sauce, dressing, dip, marinade… Ricante does it all and with no sugar or salt added and with just the right amount of approachable spice. Ricante is not only Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, and Keto Friendly, but tiá approved!

Ricante launched with five incredibly unique hot sauces, marrying non-traditional essences like apples, mangos, carrots, and habaneros.

SALSA ROSA

Pastas are enjoyed all across Latin America, especially in Argentina and Uruguay, which pair the dishes with salsa rosa, a tomato-based sauce mixed with heavy cream. Together, they create a pink paste that blankets a variety of pasta dishes.

TACTICAL TACOS

Wait, so not all taco bases are citrus?! Tactical Tacos knows how to do taco sauce right with their notes of orange, lime, and cilantro to start your bite out just right, followed up with a perfect hint of Jalapeno and Cayenne pepper in the background. That’s just their mild sauce, Snafu. The Fire Fight and Ghost Protocol give you a similar ride with the citrus kick but with a much bigger spice hit for those that are brave enough to try it out!

MOLE

Mole is a spicy-and-sweet sauce made from chocolate that translates. The dark brown sauce gets its heat from chiles, but also has a touch of sweetness from the cacao, almonds, and peanuts often added. The sauce is topped with sesame seeds.

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