Need a refreshing drink this summer? Consider the michelada. A cousin of the bloody Mary, it’s a beer-based cocktail made with lime, spices, Worcestershire and hot sauces served in glass with a lime-salted rim. Bartender Rey Goyos breezes through the steps showing just how quickly you can cool down with this classic drink on a hot day.
Latin American food is one of the richest in the world. It is the product of processes of colonization and cultural mishmash: indigenous ingredients and techniques, European complexity, African spice. Latin American food has it all and people the world over visit the region to taste both top restaurants and street staples that have survived for generations.
Here are a few of our many favorites, 17 dishes that preserve the colorful soul of the continent and the deceptive simplicity of highly complex creations. Buen provecho.
1. Not all tacos are created equal
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Oh, the wonderful taco, the epitome of Mexican food. The taco is a miracle of history: the corn from Meso American cultures, the fillings from animals brought by the Spanish and all tied together by the influence of Middle Eastern cuisine, which uses grilled meets and pita breads as staples. Tacos are miraculous and surprisingly healthy. Sometimes chefs get their fancy on and create authentic rainbows of gorgeous smells and flavors like this lobster and black bean variation. Very Baja! Yummo!
2. Some ceviches are prettier than others
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Ceviche is to Peruvian food what tacos are for Mexican cuisine. The Peruvian restaurant Astrid and Gaston, which often appears in the lists of top restaurants of the world, has achieved visual and culinary perfection with these little bowls of joy and beauty. Just look at the colors basically piercing our eyes and our souls.
3. Enrique Olvera, the superstar Mexican chef, is a Michaelangelo of the kitchen
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Enrique Olvera has taken Mexican food to the next level in his restaurants, particularly Pujol, which is often ranked among the best 15 in the world. Just look at these works of art. The darker mole in the middle of the last row has been simmering for years. Yes, literally for years! It is such a treat.
4. Ice cream macarons from a legendary Peruvian restaurant? Foodgasm alert!
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Astrid and Gaston again! But how could we not include these ice cream macarons, a very unique take on a classic from French patisserie? They have very Peruvian flavors, with local fruits being the core of the palette. Oh my, just by looking at them we start salivating.
5. Fried piranha skins are always pretty in a baroque kind of way
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Virgilio Martinez is the new superstar of Peruvian food. He travels his country in search of new and exciting ingredients, and his degustation menu is a trip through the geography of the South American country. He loves to surprise and confront, and what better way to do this than presenting the patron with a deconstructed piranha. It is beautiful just like bloody baroque art is: art is sometimes violent and decadent in its depth.
6. Quinoa never looked so chingonamente hermosa
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Among the ingredients that Virgilio has made his own is quinoa, the ancient grain that has fed indigenous Peruvians for centuries and that is now a staple of hipster food, even though its mass consumption means that many poor Peruvians can’t afford it now. Here it is presented in a dignified, natural, deliciously primal state.
7. When the plate is a canvas and ingredients a work of art
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And really, we can’t think of a more exciting foodie destination in Latin America than Central. Just look at this plate, the colors, the perfect harmony and exciting combination of textures. If it is as pleasing to the taste as it is to the sight, we are all in.
8. No mordida on our cakes, please
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We couldn’t help but to include this cute and deceptively simple llama cake. It is a work of art that respects tradition, evades cultural appropriation and is just testament of a baking virtuoso. No mordida here, please…. you might be poked by that cactus!
9. A classic sculpture of culinary genius: mango with chilito
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Not all gorgeous food needs to be fancy or high end. A staple of Mexican street food that has migrated to the Southern United States is luscious and it basically makes our culinary desire salivate. A simple fruit like mango is cut in intricate flower-like shapes and crowned by that proof of the existence of beauty: Tajin.
10. What? Mexican sushi? You bet, compa!
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Mexicans have made sushi their own for the past two decades. Mexican sushi is unlike any other: it combines Japanese tradition with very local ingredients such as chili and chipotle mayo. Mango and chamoy are also often combined with meats, rice, and seafood. And Mexican sushi chefs sure make sure that it all looks pleasing to the eye and feels soothing to the hungry stomachs and souls of comensales.
11. Brazilians have elevated BBQing to a fine art
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If you are a carnivore and you have not tasted a traditional Brazilian churrasco, then you are in for a treat. Brazilians sure know how to enjoy life, and getting together over a BBQ is a way of enjoying each other’s company. Brazilian grilled meats are crispy, salty and sooooo pleasing to the eye. Just look at these beauties, perfectly sliced and cooked to absolute perfection.
12. Alfajores are a bite del cielo
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This Argentinian crumbly pastry filled with dulce de leche are gorgeous in a homey, cozy kind of way. Just by looking at them our hearts melt, become gooey like the dulce de leche that stretches as we sigh in pleasure. Try them for yourself if you don’t believe us.
13. Look at this dulce tradicional mexicano, though
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One of the most overlooked treasures of Mexican cuisine are dulces tradicionales. Take these gummy fruit treats, for example, perfectly laid out in a spiral of sweet delight.
14. Seriously! We are nuts over these palanquetas!
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Nuts are a staple of Mexican candies. Peanuts, pepitas, and grains like amaranth are all stuck together with honey or piloncillo (cane sugar). These are so popular that you can even buy them from vendors in Mexico City traffic! Put them together, however, and they form an uncanny tapestry of symmetry that you could hang in a museum!
15. We don’t know if we should eat these or hang them on a wall and just admire them
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OMG! Look at these paletas! No kid can resist to them: they just hypnotize you with their twisty patterns and shiny colors. They speak of the joys of childhood and the talent of dulceros artesanales that are a true treasure of humanity. Everyday creativity on full display.
16. Nopales: the gorgeous green that takes us back to the beginning of time
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Sometimes the prettiest foods are pure ingredients. Take nopales, for example, a type of cactus that has been consumed for centuries. The vibrant greens and their infinite hues seem like an oil paint from Tamayo or Orozco, master painters who translated the palettes of nature onto their canvases.
17. And of course, nothing surpasses the brutal beauty of a trompo de pastor being caressed by fire
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But let’s be honest. Few foods despiertan tantas pasiones like tacos al pastor. They are a full-fledged attack on the senses: visually it is an incandescent carnal treat, its smell elicits dreams and memories, its taste has the perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy. Doesn’t get any better than this.
Let’s face it, food is great. Eating is great. Meals are great. But you know what’s even better? Effortless food. Whether it’s storing it, cooking it, or eating it, sometimes the lazy man’s way of dealing with food is the best way*. And so, we’ve found 22 food hacks for all you lazy people out there who need to feel seen every now and again.
*Disclaimer: it’s not necessarily the tastiest way. But it definitely saves time and effort. That’s something, right?
There are so many reasons why frozen vegetables are a boon for lazy people. They’re healthy, for starters. Plus, you don’t have to chop or wash them – they’re already prepared! And since they’re frozen, you don’t have to worry about them going rotten if you don’t finish them quickly. There are so many good reasons to buy frozen vegetables, we can’t mock lazy people for investing whatever minuscule energy they have into using them in meals.
The oven is a lazy babe’s best friend. Bell peppers, onion and thinly sliced chicken on an oiled foil-covered oven tray cook nicely in an oven. And if you flavor them with taco seasoning, you’ll suddenly have one-tray fajitas. You’re welcome.
If you’re keen on adding some egg to your two-minute noodles, then try stopping the microwave halfway through its cycle and add a raw egg, before starting the microwave again. By the time you take out your food, your egg will be fully cooked, and you’ll have a hella delicious instant meal.
Owning an Instant Pot means that you automatically have a way of cooking your vegetables, meat, and whatever else without having to constantly check on your food. Just chuck all of your ingredients in, leave it for a few hours, and voila – you have yourself a delicious meal.
Just like one-pan meals, all you need to do is line a baking tray with foil or baking paper, lay bacon out on it, and then bake the goods at 400ºF for 20 minutes. Think about it: there’s no smoke, no mess, and no oil spitting at you. It’s a win-win trick.
Ask any lazy person and they’ll tell you: chopping onions is tear-inducing. However, rinsing your knife in cold water before you start slicing will stop onion juices from spurting everywhere – and preserve your sinuses.
Ever experienced the sadness of cutting an avocado in half, and discovering it’s basically rotten on the inside? Well, you never have to worry about that again! If you try to remove the stem from that pesky avocado and the entire stem comes off, then you know it’s too ripe. If there’s still a little stem left, then it’s just right!
On the one hand, reheating pizza in the oven takes too long. On the other hand, there’s nothing more disappointing than using the microwave and finding your pizza is ruined, rather than heated nicely. But, you never have to worry about that again – if you put a cup of water in the microwave with your pizza.
If you’re making mashed potatoes and just aren’t emotionally in a place where you can be bothered to spend precious time peeling, there’s a way around it. Try boiling the potatoes first. Once they’ve cooled, you can pull the potato skin off with your bare hands. It’s easy.
It’s time to rethink the way you slice cake! If you want consistently delicious cake, try cutting and removing slices from the middle, and press the rest of the cake together. By keeping the middle unexposed to air, you’ll keep your cake fresh, for longer.
Rather than spending precious time trying to slice mango just right with a knife so that you don’t waste any delicious fruit, consider using the edge of a glass to cut it, instead. All you need to do is cut half off the mango and then slide the piece vertically along the edge of a glass. The edible bit will fall into the glass, and you’ll be left with the skin in your hand to throw away.
If you wrap your dishes in clingfilm before you put food on them, it means you can eat with the knowledge that you’ll have zero cleaning to do afterward. All you’ll have to do is throw out the plastic wrap!
If you make a hole in the middle of your pasta before you put it in the microwave, that’ll allow your food to heat up quicker. To be honest, you don’t have to do this trick with just pasta – it’ll work with most leftovers that you put in the microwave.