Culture

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

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). 

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These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

Things That Matter

These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

2020 will easily go down in manny of our memories as the year that just wouldn’t stop. As the year started, it all seemed to be sort of fine as the world came together to battle record-breaking Australian bushfires and worked to hopefully contain an outbreak of a strange new virus in China.

However, as the year comes to a close things have gone de mal a peor for the world in general, but for the Latino population in the United States and Latin America as a region in particular. Though it’s hard to realize just how much we all witnessed and experienced since so much of what happened seems like it was a lifetime ago.

Here’s a look back at some the defining moments from 2020 across Latin America.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira kicked off the year hopeful with a history-making performance at the Super Bowl.

Yes, believe it or not, this happened in 2020. The pair put on what many have called the best half time show in Super Bowl history. They were also joined by J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales was forced into exile, only to return to the country in November.

After being forced into exile at the end of 2019 for attempting to illegally run in upcoming presidential elections, Morales spent a year abroad – first in Mexico and then in Argentina.

Mexico’s President AMLO made his first trip abroad to visit Donald Trump at the White House.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a staunch populist and has long said his primary focus is domestic policy within Mexico. Therefore, despite two years in office, AMLO hadn’t left Mexico once. So it came as a surprise when his first trip abroad was a visit to the U.S. leader who had long disparaged Mexico, the government, and Mexicans – not to mention his trip came in the middle of a global pandemic.

Migrant caravans continued to make their way towards the U.S. despite interference from Mexico and Covid-19.

Migrants attempting to make their way to the U.S. isn’t unique to 2020. For decades, migrants have long banded together for safety in numbers along the treacherous journey to the north. However, they became larger and better organized in 2020, perhaps owing to the new dangers of Mexican interference.

Mexico’s AMLO vowed to stop migrants from reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, adhering to Trump’s request. It was also noteworthy because the caravans continued despite the Covid-19 crisis, which has hit the region particularly hard.

Peru saw three presidents in the span of a few weeks after massive protests.

Peru is facing one of the greatest crises the nation has faced. Just as the country seemed to be emerging from the worst of its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has entered a severe political crisis.

The country’s elected president, Martin Vizcarra, was impeached and removed from office. His predecessor responded with a heavy hand to the protests that ensued resulting in his resignation less than 24 hours later. The government then had to find someone willing to take the job which proved to be a tough sell.

In fact, massive protests swept across Latin America.

From Mexico in the north to Cuba in the Caribbean and Chile in the south, protests were seen all across the region. Although each movement had it’s own stated goal and objectives, many were largely borne out of the same purpose: to fight back against corruption.

Brazil’s President Jaír Bolsonaro tested positive for Covid-19 but it did nothing to change his approach to the pandemic.

Jaír Bolsonaro has long been compared to Donald Trump, with many calling him the Donald Trump of South America. The two were also strongly aligned in their responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, with the pair largely downplaying the severity of the crisis.

Then, Bolsonaro became infected with the virus and many hoped it would change his view on the crisis. It didn’t.

A growing feminist movement developed in Mexico, demanding protection from a shocking rise in violence against women.

Mexico has long been battling endemic violence and the country has continued to see record-setting rates of homicides. But it was the growing rate of violence against women, particularly femicide, that gained national attention.

Women banded together and started large nationwide protests. Over the summer, women in the capital of Mexico City occupied government buildings and destroyed many of the city’s most popular monuments to hopefully get their message across. Although the movement has gained more recognition by Mexicans, the government has still failed to address their concerns. Let’s hope things are different in 2021.

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In A Post-Covid World, Here Is Where You All Said Want To Travel

Culture

In A Post-Covid World, Here Is Where You All Said Want To Travel

©Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

Covid put a stop to our travel plans for 2020. After almost a year in lockdown, we have had time to plan fantasy trips and explore the world. We asked you where you wanted to visit and here are some of the places you all can’t wait to see.

Argentina

Argentina offers something for everyone. As on of the southernmost countries in the world, Argentina offers natural sights that will make nature lovers swoon. Into architecture? Cities like Mendoza offers a look at the art-deco style that will make you feel like you are back in time. Don’t forget to try to make a trip down to Ushuaia, the End of the World for a spectacular view.

Cuba

Cuba is a tricky one but a beautiful place to see. The country is filled with old buildings and cars that make it feel like a time capsule. Now, the island is old because they are oppressed and don’t have much. But you can always find ways to make sure that you help people of the island instead of giving the money to government approved businesses.

Costa Rica

This is about as wild and wondrous as it gets. Costa Rica will give everyone a chance to really be one with nature. The Central American country is a rainforest oasis with nature everywhere you look. The country prides itself on how development is not encroaching on nature and has even outlawed zoos and aquariums.

Honduras

Honduras is an underestimated place to visit. The food and people are warm and inviting. There has been some unrest in the country in recent years and a series of hurricanes has devastated the population. Tourism is a great way to bring money into a place the needs it. Just don’t take advantage of them while you are there.

Mexico

Mexico is a country filled with wonders new and old. You can experience the ruins of some of the oldest civilizations and bask in the modernity of Mexico City. The food is as diverse and vibrant as the people with delicious moles in Oaxaca and experimental fusions in Mexico City. Valle de Guadalupe is home to some farm to table restaurants and exquisite wineries. It truly is a journey of the sense if you take time to see the country.

Colombia

Colombia is one of South America’s gems. After years of internal conflict, the nation is growing and quickly becoming a destination. Bogotá and Medellín are great but make it a point to visit Cali. The city is one of the place everyone should visit if they make their way to Colombia.

READ: Mexico Announces 11 New Pueblos Mágicos And It’s The Post-COVID Travel Lust We All Need Right Now

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