El amor es tan importante, como la comida pero no alimenta* – Gabriel García Márquez
*Love is as important as food but it does not nourish (loose translation)
For many people, no cuisine entices the senses the way that Latin food does. México is resourceful with corn, putting it in drinks, desserts, and nearly anything you can imagine. Dominicans have dozens of ways to serve plantains, but they are most famous for their pineapple-filled cakes. The ceviche in Perú is incomparable, until you’ve tried it in Spain.
Here are some favorite dishes and places to find them. (Descriptions vary; most plates are vegetarian, with traditional ones featuring meat.) View my TripAdvisor.com page for more. Be sure to enjoy the descriptions at the bottom of this page for more mouth-watering information.
Atole: corn-based drink served warm, sweetened and flavored (my favorite is vanilla), often at winter celebrations. Street carts throughout México!
Cachapas – traditional Venezuelan elote corn cakes similar to tortillas but thicker, folded and stuffed with vegetables, meat and/or cheese. Casa de las Cachapas, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
Causa – a potato-based Peruvian dish made with papas amaryllis, mashed and seasoned with lime juice and aji amarillo. Causa typically contains corn, lime and black olives combined with chicken or tuna, served hot or cold Peruvian Food Festival, Sacramento CA
Ceviche: cold shrimp or other seafood “cooked” in lime juice, served tostada-style, in a cocktel, or simply with crackers. Mariscos Towi, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco and everywhere in Perú
Chilaquiles: tortilla chips sautéed in a savory tomato broth, topped with cheese (popular for breakfast). Casa de Chilaquiles, Guadalajara, Jalisco
Chili Relleno: pastille pepper stuffed with cheese, dipped in egg batter and fried. Tres Hermanas in Sacramento, CA
Elote: steamed or roasted corn on the cob served on a wooden stick, prepared with créma or mayonesa, cheese and salsa. Street carts throughout México!
Gorditas: “pocket” tortillas, made thick and fresh, sliced and stuffed with nopales, champiñónes, or other fillings. Casa Doña Jula, Zacatecas, Zacatecas
Paella: seasoned rice cooked with vegetables, seafood and sausage in a savory broth, traditionally served in the skillet used for cooking. La Barca, La Rambla, Barcelona Spain (Christmas Eve 2011)
Mangu: a staple of the Dominican Republic, plantains are steamed, mashed and prepared with savory items like onion and cheese. Hotel Conde de Penalba Café in Santo Domingo
Sopes: little tortilla cups filled with peppers, cheese, onions, topped with cheese. Azul in Sacramento, CA and La Gorda in Guadalajara, Jalisco
Tejuino: corn-based, syrupy liquid served over shaved ice, slightly sweet but also with salt. Sounds gross, tastes amaaazing. Street carts throughout México!