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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

Entertainment

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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