What is the food and culture in panama?

Panamanian food reflects the nation's cosmopolitan origin, particularly Colombian and American food, and rice, beans and corn are staples, and good use is made of seafood and tropical fruits and vegetables. Rice with chicken and sancocho, two chicken dishes, are considered national favorites. Think of grandma's chicken soup, but probably, if it's spicier, and you've conjured it up, chicken sancocho, much loved as Panama's national dish. Some consider the mixture to be a stew.

Locals devour chicken sancocho for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and drink it as an elixir to combat colds and hangovers. When it's hot outside, Panamanians eat chicken sancocho to cool off. This Panamanian staple food is accompanied by rice or tortillas. Old clothing is translated as “old clothes”.

According to a Spanish legend, when a poor man ran out of food, he cut his old clothes to make a stew. If you squint your eyes, you'll see how the shredded flesh evokes the image of ragged pants. Panamanian tortillas date back to the country's indigenous peoples, including Chibchan, Chocoanos, and La Cueva, which grows corn (also known as Cuna)). Panamanian tortillas, made with fried or grilled corn dough, are thicker than the Mexican version.

Tortillas accompany stews, soups and other dishes as a side dish. Many locals start their day with a breakfast of tortillas topped with eggs and cheese. Not surprisingly, Tamales from Panama taste very similar to those served in Central and South America. To free themselves from Spain, Simon Bolivar and others in 1812 formed Gran Colombia, uniting the regions of Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.

Although the union collapsed in 1830, gastronomic traditions were mixed. Before cooking, the tamales are wrapped in banana leaves to prevent burning and contain the juices. Tamales, a labor-intensive dish, usually adorn tables in weddings and holidays. Don't think about it; try the sao, a popular dish of pickled pork legs that was first introduced during the time of slavery.

African slaves never received the best parts of the meat, but they managed to turn what others despised or discarded into delicious dishes. In Panama, “patacones” are tostones with a local name. Patacones, made from unripe green bananas roasted twice, don't taste like sweet plants made from mature green plants. Often starchy and slightly bland, locals eat patacones, a popular Panamanian food, with tomato sauce or another sauce.

French fries are a tasty snack. Beat afternoon hunger like Panamanians do with carimanolas, fried yuccas stuffed with beef, often mixed with cheese. Yucca is boiled, crushed, mixed with flour, butter and eggs, and then it is formed into dumplings. Panamanian dishes are characterized by the high consumption of rice in different forms and preparations, as well as soups, with sancocho being the most popular.

Other inputs and ingredients are corn (corn), bananas, chicken, meat, fish and seafood, with which various dishes and fried foods are prepared. Roots and tubers are predominant in the diet of Panamanians, especially cassava, yam, otoe and, to a lesser extent, potatoes. Despite the small size of the country, the great cultural diversity of the isthmus allows us to identify some regional variants. In Panama, delicious seafood such as lobster, crab and octopus abounds, as well as fresh fish from the area, including guabina, bass and snappers, prepared especially for the Caribbean, with coconut sauce and even ceviche. In Panama, at breakfast time, frying is common, including corn tortilla, fried cassava, meat and pork.

For lunch, rice is almost always eaten with meat, beans and vegetables or soups. For dinner, you'll enjoy something a little lighter and faster, depending on each family. The consumption and supply of fresh fish and seafood is an advantage, since the country has a calm Atlantic coast, making it a very large variety. Whether you're a foodie or not, you'll want to enjoy unique Panamanian cuisine, which encompasses flavors, dishes, and ingredients from African, Spanish and native Panamanian influences. Many of the foods found in Panama today are heavily influenced by the dishes brought by the Spanish, who brought a multitude of new spices and culinary techniques to the region.

And just like any other aspect of a nation's culture, foreign influence can bring about radical changes in a nation's food culture. From hearty stews to refreshing ceviches, Panamanian food is a testament to the country's diverse cultural heritage. The descendants of many of the slaves who were forced to migrate to Panama still live in the country and enrich their culture by keeping alive the culinary tradition of their ancestors. It is difficult to specify exactly what constitutes Panamanian food precisely because of its complex history and because it varies greatly in different regions of the country.

Puff pastry is a very typical Panamanian food, a type of fried bread that is often served at breakfast. With them, these slaves brought with them a culinary culture of Caribbean and African influence that introduced a new dimension to Panamanian cuisine that is still visible in Panamanian dishes today, especially in the coastal areas of Panama. Due to the large number of ethnic Chinese people living in Panama, Panamanian food has been significantly influenced by Chinese cuisine. And while Panama isn't particularly known around the world for its food, travelers with an open mind will discover that the rich history of the Panamanian culinary tradition makes it worth eating Panamanian food be a rewarding and enriching experience.

Abigail Angelotti
Abigail Angelotti

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