If you have read any of my advice or tips you will know that one of my pet hates is folks who travel abroad and refuse to try local dishes or delicacies. I on the other hand like so many of my fellow nomads will be welcome to try anything that is put on plate. Here I want to share with you some of my favourite dishes or delicacies from different parts of the Latin world that are distinctive within a culture and a part of the very history of ones country or region.
Feijoada - Brazil
- feijão, Portuguese for "beans"
A stew that is made with beans, fresh pork or beef and prepared over low heat in a thick clay pot.
Although feijoada is commonly prepared and considered a national dish in Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde and many more other Portuguese speaking countries, the recipe slightly differs from one country to the another.
It is the feijoada Brazileira that has become popularised in the modern world and is served with black beans, becoming Brazils soul food it is originally thought that during the slave trade the slaves would use left over pigs ears, pigs feet and cows tongues that their masters would not eat. This however as been hugely contested by scholars who argue that the history of feijoada Brazileira traces back to Brazil’s cultivation of black beans where it was a low cost staple diet for the European settles. Either way it is enjoyed by all of Brazils upper and lower class natives and is a whole hearty dish and one that you will not stop eating.
Black beans (soaked overnight)
Boneless pork shoulder
White rice, collard greens, orange slices and topped with toasted cassava flour (farofa).
Guaraná soda - A native plant and caffeine based soft drink. Delicious.
Brigadeiro - A gooey chocolate truffle. Save some room for these treats.
Chivito - Uruguay
In 1946 it is believed a woman from Argentina ordered a Chivito, the diminutive of chivo, goat, and means kid (young goat) a popular asado dish served in Argentina. The restaurant owner, Antonio Carbonaro, did not have this meat, so instead used a beef fillet steak with added extras and the national dish of Uruguay was born.
Succulent, colourful and sensational it makes it a must have when arriving in Uruguay.
Fried or hard-boiled eggs
Fries and comes in-between a big burger bun or doorstep sliced bread.
Uruguayan Tannet or Merlot red wine - There is nothing better to match the best beef in the world.
Alfajores - Filled with dulce de leche and mouth watering. My personal favourites are Marley Alfajores Bajoneros.
Francesinha - Portugal
Francesinha sauce is a secret, with each establishment having its own variation. Different restaurants that serve francesinha are characterized based on how good their sauce and mix of meats is perceived to be.
One common ingredient is beer and most vary in their degree of spiciness. One of my highlights in Portugal was eating this truly unique and heavy dish.
The secret sauce with tomato as its base and a good beer.
Fries or a friend egg on top.
Portuguese Sangria - Refreshing, fruity and works perfectly.
Pastéis de nata - I could eat these all day.
Cochinita Pibil - Mexico
When we all think of Mexico most of us all think Tacos. Cochinita, meaning pig and Pibil, a Maya word for buried or cooked underground is a traditional dish from the Yucatan Peninsular. It is slow cooked pork wrapped in banana leaves then pit smoked or cooked in a huge pot. Marinated in a sour orange and achiote sauce and guaranteed to be the best pulled pork you will ever eat.
Garlic rice, black beans, Purple Onion, lime and tortillas.
Henequén Liqueur - A unique taste and similar to mezcal, made from fermenting aged pineapples.
Delce de Papaya - A local favourite. Enjoy.
Asado - Argentina/Uruguay
Asado is the technique and the social event of having or attending a barbecue in various South American countries, where it is also a traditional event. Inhabitants of the Río de la Plata, especially the gauchos who developed a fondness for beef, especially asado, which is roasted beef (or lamb or goat).
The meat is prepared and is usually cooked on a grill, called a parrilla, or an open fire and consists of beef, pork, chicken, chorizo, and morcilla. Often a side of ribs, is skewered on a metal frame called an asador and is roasted by placing it next to a slow-burning fire. Gauchos favored cooking asado with the wood of the quebracho tree because it smokes very little. If you are vegetarian and in this part of the world it would be wise to know that Uruguayans eat more beef than anyone else in the world followed by the Argentinians.
Salad and always with chimichurri.
Yerba Maté or some gorgeous Argentinian Malbec.
Dolce de Membrillo.
Obviously these are just a few dishes that I have came to love from my time in each country and there are so many more to share with you, but I believe these to be the most important for each region mentioned rich with history and culture.
I hope you enjoy the little break down.
Peace, love and travel.