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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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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All The Truly Surprising Starbucks Menu Items From Around Latin America

Culture

All The Truly Surprising Starbucks Menu Items From Around Latin America

There are some things you can count on at any American Starbucks location, like the uniform flavor of Pike Place Roast, a sub-par bagel, or the baristas’ inability to spell Jennypher correctly. Outside of the U.S., however, the chain must make some menu adjustments based on local tastes.

Although the term “unusual” is certainly relative, here’s a glimpse of Starbucks’ best international offerings.

Maracuya Frappuccino – Mexico

Transport yourself to the Riviera Maya with this one. The people of Mexico can taste the exotic fruity flavor of passionfruit (aka maracuya) in their frappuccinos and save themselves from an actual trip to the beach.

Ponche Navideño – Mexico

Starbucks México on Twitter: "Recárgate de buenos deseos con una bebida de  temporada (pst, nosotros te invitamos la segunda 😁). Del 20 al 24 de  noviembre de 3 a 5 p. m.… https://t.co/hB3ziwEuDp"

Although most of us think as ponche as being just a seasonal option, several Starbucks locations in Mexico carry the traditional tasty treat all year long.

Banana Split Frappuccino – Mexico

You can take this one with or without coffee. It has all the banana and chocolate flavor of the beloved dessert and is topped with crushed waffle cones.

Envuelto Poblano – Mexico

Starbucks México | Envuelto poblano, el sabor de México en Starbucks -  YouTube

Lucuma Crème Frappuccino – Peru

Too bad they don’t serve it in the United States but I can understand why. This frappuccino is made with Lucuma, which is a tropical fruit from Peru, so it would be problematic to export it to different parts of the world. On the other hand, it makes the drink exclusive and adds one more reason to go to Peruvian Starbucks.

The taste of the fruit can be compared to maple flavor or butterscotch and this frappuccino itself is creamy and sweet as a Peruvian treat should be.

Barrita Nuez – Chile

Meet the famous humble cookie with a Chilean spin. You can taste the Barrita Nuez in Chile and enjoy the stuffing which consists of dulce de leche, nougat and walnuts.

Brigadeiro Frappuccino – Brazil

This frappuccino was born to honor the love of dulce de leche flavored ice creams which all Brazilians share. Dulce de leche is a traditional Latin American dessert that is prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk until it changes its color and gets a flavor similar to caramel.

Mini Donuts Nutella – Brazil

18 International Starbucks Items You'll Want To Travel For

Mini fried donuts filled with Nutella. Why are there no Nutella-filled treats at an American Starbucks?!

Pão de Queijo – Brazil

Brazil is often associated with skewers of meat, but there’s certainly a lot more cuisine variation. The fluffy balls of gluten-free cheese bread known as pão de queijo is a good example. The use of sour cassava starch dates back to the 1600s, before cheese was even in the picture, but today they’re available everywhere you turn in Brazil, from beachside stands to grandmothers’ kitchens to the Starbucks pastry case.

Dulce de Leche Frappuccino – Argentina

This creamy Frappuccino flavored with dulce de leche is pretty much what dreams are made of.

Cafe Tinto – Colombia

Starbucks coffee couldn’t be further than the working-class style of Colombian coffee called tinto, but as part of an effort to blend into its surroundings, the chain sells short cups of the stuff. It’s served black, and has a slightly thicker consistency than your average joe.

Churro Frappuccino – Latin America

Churro Frappuccino served at Starbucks all over Latin America includes cinnamon sprinkling, whipped cream, white mocha syrup, and a churro. 

What’s your favorite Starbucks items from across Latin America?

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