Exploring Panamanian cuisine
Many students enrolled in online culinary courses have heard of the delicious cuisine that comes from Panama. A melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities, Panama combines the infectious leisurely attitude of Spain with the spice and flavors of travelers from every part of the world. French, Japanese, Italian, Thai, Chinese and Middle Eastern influences are all apparent in modern Panamanian cuisine and appear in many of Panama's dining customs.
Dining customs and traditional meals
Many dishes include coconut rice and beans, plantains and plenty of fried food. The majority of meals consist of fried meats, breads and other starches. People who live in Panama usually eat breakfast at 8 am, serve lunch between noon and 2 pm, and offer dinner around 7pm.
Breakfast – For breakfast, Panamanians top deep fried corn batter tortillas with copious amounts of fried eggs and different types of cheese. Another breakfast favorite is deep fried bread sprinkled with powdered sugar, the Panamanian version of the doughnut. Afro-Caribbean inhabitants add delicious meats like pork or beef to their breakfast menu. Breakfast porridge made of rice, beans and pork also make appearances in traditional Panamanian breakfasts.
Snacks and appetizers – Before the main dishes are served, the people of Panama like to snack on various seafood dishes. Raw cubes of fish, shrimp or octopus and onion marinated in lemon juice, also known as ceviche, can be found in many restaurants in Panama. Empanadas, cornmeal pastries stuffed with ground beef or pork, are a perennial favorite served hot. Chefs also prepare fresh, slightly caramelized plantains with sugar and cinnamon.
Poultry and seafood – One of the most emblematic Panamanian dishes comes in the form of chicken stew. The traditional style of sanocho requires fresh ñamé, a starchy root, and plenty of seasoning and culantro – a cousin of the cilantro herb. Seafood plays a major role in the diet of many Panamanian citizens. Chefs serve red snapper, sea bass, jumbo shrimp, octopus, crab and lobster in four different ways: fried, grilled, with a spicy garlic sauce or sautéed.