Things That Matter

20 Foods You Can Only Find in Latin America

Latin America has so much to offer to both frequent and one-time visitors. From the vibrant culture to the picturesque landscapes and delightful cuisine, there is so much to relish. Visitors always have something to savor and memories to take back home every time they visit.

Latino recipes stand out from many cultures, and some cuisines here cannot be found in any other part of the world. Take a look of foods that Latinos have made their own.

Chapulines

Instagram @cassandra_dkay

In Central Mexico, you’ll find tacos which are twisted to offer a new taste. Salsa and guacamole are also popular in regular tacos. They are usually spiced with pork, chicken or any other known meat. Mexicans take the meat portion to a whole new level with the introduction of grasshoppers. It is a weird but tasty meal.

Anticuchos de Corazon

Instagram @ lorenavelbeth

If your itinerary includes a stop to Peru ensure that you taste this meal. You probably are well accustomed to chicken hearts. Well, Peruvians give you an opportunity to feel what cow hearts taste like. The hot sauce may help you deal with the weirdness that comes from trying out something new.

Cazuela de Ilama

Instagram @lylasesoria

The Ilama is a South American domesticated animal that is in the same family as camels. Argentinians make the most of its meat which has taken the place of the conventional meats. They use it to make a delightful stew that works well for individuals who are watching their weight.

Corn beer

Instagram @droc77rva

The Latin Beverages are just something else. You won’t find them in your regular bars. Take the corn beer for example. It is made from chewed up corn that is spat out. Yes. The corn is ground by humans before it is allowed to ferment. What arrives at your mug is something special. You’ll definitely ask for more.

Yerba Mate Tea

Instagram @obryc_00

As far as drinks are concerned, the Argentinian mate tea has a remarkable history. It has no time restrictions and is drank religiously in some communities. Make sure you get a metal cup and try it when you next visit Argentina.

Empanadas

Instagram @elcarritoargentina

If you are into street foods, then you should give this Argentinian delicacy a shot. They come in different flavors, and you can opt for cheese fillings, ricotta or veggie spinach among other options.

Buchada

Instagram @sou_vaqueiro_nordestino

The Brazilian goat stomach makes for a sumptuous meal among residents in the Northern part of the country. Blood, as well as organs sought from kids (baby goats), are added to spice up the meal which is then cooked and best served while still hot.

Morcilla dulce

Instagram @jeaneating

Uruguyuan barbecue desserts are never complete without this treat. Most of its ingredients are what you are accustomed to. Nutmeg, raisin, and sugar make great dessert options but when blood is added the tide shifts tremendously. The citizens of Uruguay take pride in their traditional sausage.

Huitlacoche

Instagram @myfruitsoflife

If you think that the Chapulines are the only twisted tacos in Latin America, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Mexicans do not simply get rid of the fungus found on corn. They know how to make good use of them. You’ll find them as fillings on tacos and will probably won’t remember the damage they normally cause as you enjoy the bizarre treat.

Arepas

Instagram @mireinacocina

Venezuelans do not mind taking corn-based flatbread in the morning at breakfast or in the afternoon as a snack. Avocado, jam or cheese can all serve as compliments to the delicacy. You can also find it in Colombia albeit in a different form.

Changua

Instagram @arepacoolv

Breakfast in Bogota is a big deal. Nothing is left to chance, and their birds miss out on what is common for birds back home. Stale bread is mixed up with milk and eggs to make an impressive breakfast meal. Your regular toast is unheard of in these parts of the globe.

Hormigas culonas

Instagram @ludwigmonoga

Peanuts always go very well with beer. In Colombia, the peanuts are substituted with big butt ants. The local delicacy can be very addictive, and restaurants of the northern parts of the country continue to mint loads of cash from the simple meal.

Coração de Frango

Instagram @bearbecue.sp

As you cross through the streets of Brazil, you’ll be treated to a host of casual snacks. Among them are the exquisite chicken hearts. They are well seasoned and will leave a lasting taste on your tongue.

Dulce de Leche

Instagram @andrecapristo

The creamy caramel confection will satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. Ice cream, churros, and alfajeros biscuits are the best additives to the Uruguayan treat that is highly popular among the natives.

Sopa de Mondongo

Instagram @angel_bayona15

Soups often serve as appetizers in most of our restaurants. This is also the case in most parts of Latin America. The only difference comes up when we think of what the soup is made of. Colombians enjoy their vegetables served along with beef tripe soup. If it doesn’t work out for you, don’t shy away from ordering the regular chicken soup. 

Grilled Guinea pig

Instagram @melmaur

Served in Ecuador and Colombia in equal measure as the main course, the meal offers a suitable option for visitors who love venturing into the unknown. It is served rather crudely and tourists who’ve kept this animal as a pet shudder at the site of the meal.

Sanguche de potito

Instagram @nico_arejula23

In Chile, a cow’s rectum can be crafted into a sandwich to create something special. You need to be very audacious to take this snack down your throat. When you eventually do that, you’ll understand why residents of Santiago relish this snack as they recount the talking points of the big game.

Pisco Sour

Instagram @wcocktailbible

The National Pisco Day in Peru tells you how much Peruvians value their drinks. The pisco sour is a delightful cocktail that is a mix of bitters and lime juice. The addition of egg white gives it its originality.

Blue Tortilla

Instagram @omega.eats

Latinos in Mexico are treated to a lot of jaw-dropping delicacies. They grow blue corn which they later use to make this variety of Tortilla. You have to see it to believe that no food dye is involved in the all-natural product.

Pastel

Instagram @sinhabraziliansteakhouse

This is another variety pastry served in Brazil along with shrimp, ground meat or cheese.  Chocolate can always be used to sweeten the delicious treat. It serves as a great alternative to the similarly appetizing empanadas.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com