Central America

Central America (SpanishAmérica Central or Centroamérica) is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast.[3][4] When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize,Costa RicaEl SalvadorGuatemalaHondurasNicaragua, and Panama. Central America is part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, which extends from northern Guatemala through central Panama

Belize

Belizeans of all ethnicities eat a wide variety of foods. Breakfast consists of bread, flour tortillas, or fry jacks that are often homemade. They are eaten with various cheeses, refried beans, various forms of eggs or cereal, topped off by milk for younger ones and coffee or tea for adults. Eating breakfast is called “drinking tea”. Midday meals vary, from lighter foods such as rice and beans with or without coconut milktamales, panades, (fried maize shells with beans or fish) and meat pies, escabeche (onion soup), chirmole (soup), stew chicken and garnaches (fried tortillas with beans, cheese, and sauce) to various constituted dinners featuring some type of rice and beans, meat and salad or coleslaw. In the rural areas meals may be more simplified than in the cities; the Maya use recaudo, corn or maize for most of their meals, and the Garifuna are fond of seafood, cassava (particularly made into hudut) and vegetables.

Costa Rica

The main staple, known as Gallo Pinto (or simply “Pinto”), consists of rice and black beans, which in many households is eaten at all three meals during the day.

Other Costa Rican food staples include corn tortillas, white cheese and picadillos. Tortillas are used to accompany most meals. Costa Ricans will often fill their tortillas with whatever they are eating and eat it in the form of a gallo (direct translation: rooster, however, it resembles a soft Mexican taco). White cheese is non-processed cheese that is made by adding salt to milk in production. Picadillos are meat and vegetable combinations where one or more vegetables are diced, mixed with beef and garnished with spices. Common vegetables used in picadillos are potatoes, green beans, squash, ayote, chayote and arracache. Often, picadillos are eaten in the form of gallos.

El Salvador

Salvadorian cuisine is a style of cooking derived from the nation of El Salvador. The traditional cuisine consists of food from the Pipil people, with a European twist in most modern dishes. Many of the dishes are made with maize (corn).

El Salvador’s most notable dish is the pupusa, a thick hand-made corn flour or rice flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, chicharrón (fried pork rinds), refried beans, and/or loroco (a vine flower bud native to Central America). There are also vegetarian options, often with ayote (a type of squash), or garlic. Some adventurous restaurants even offer pupusas stuffed with shrimp or spinach.

Two other typical Salvadoran dishes are yuca frita and panes rellenos. Yuca frita, which is deep fried cassava root served with curtido (a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping) and pork rinds with pescaditas (fried baby sardines). The yuca is sometimes served boiled instead of fried. Panes con Pavo (turkey sandwiches) are warm turkey submarines. The turkey is marinated and then roasted with Pipil spices and handpulled. This sandwich is traditionally served with turkey, tomato, and watercress along with cucumber, onion, lettuce, mayonnaise, and mustard.

Guatemala

The cuisine of Guatemala reflects the multicultural nature of Guatemala, in that it involves food that differs in taste depending on the region. Guatemala has 22 departments (or divisions), each of which has very different typical foodstuffs. Guatemalan cuisine is widely known for its candy originating from Antigua Guatemala.

There are also foods that it is traditional to eat on certain days of the week – for example, by tradition it is known that on Thursday, the typical food is “paches” which is like a tamale made with a base of potato, and on Saturday it is traditional to eat tamales.  Guatemala is also a major producer of coffee.

Honduras

Honduran Cuisine combines the food of the indigenous Maya-Lenca population with Spanish. Its most notable feature is that it uses more coconutthan any other Central American cuisine in both sweet and savory dishes. Regional specialties include pollo con tajadas (fried fish withe fried green banana chips) fried fishcarne asada, and baleadas.

In addition to the baleadas, the following are also popular: meat roasted with chismol carne asada, chicken with rice and corn, fried fish (Yojoa style) with encurtido (pickled onions and jalapeños). In the coastal areas and in the Bay Islands, seafood and some meats are prepared in many ways, some of which include coconut milk.

Among the soups the Hondurans enjoy are: conch soup, bean soup, Mondongo Soup, or soup of intestine, seafood soups, beef soups, all of which are mixed with plaintainsyuca, cabbage among other things, and complemented with corn tortillas.

Other typical dishes are the montucas or corn tamale, stuffed tortillas, tamales wrapped up with banana leaves, among other types of food.

Nicaragua

The Cuisine of Nicaragua is a fusion of Spanish, Caribbean and pre-Columbian dishes of the indigenous peoples. When the Spaniards first arrived in Nicaragua they found that the indigenous peoples had incorporated foods available in the area into their cuisine.[1] Despite the blending and incorporation of pre-Columbian and Spanish influenced cuisine, traditional cuisine changes from the Pacific to the Caribbean coast. While the Pacific coast’s main staple revolves around fruits and corn, the Caribbean coast makes use ofseafood and the coconut.

As in many other Latin American countries, corn is a main staple. Corn is used in many of the widely consumed dishes, such as nacatamal, and indio viejo. Corn is also an ingredient for drinks such as pinolillo and chicha as well as in sweets and desserts. Nicaraguans do not limit their cuisine to corn, locally grown vegetables and fruits have been in use since before the arrival of the Spaniards and their influence on Nicaraguan cuisine. Many of Nicaragua’s dishes include fruits and vegetables such as jocote, grosella, mimbro,mangopapayatamarindpipiánbananaavocadoyuca, and herbs such as cilantrooregano and achiote.[1]

Gallo pinto is Nicaragua’s national dish, consisting of red beans and rice. The dish has several variations including the addition of coconut oil and/or grated coconut which is primarily prepared on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast. It is thought to have originated in Nicaragua, however, there is some controversy about the origins of this dish.

Panamanian cuisine is both unique and rich. As a land bridge between two continents, Panama possesses an unusual variety of tropical fruitsvegetables and herbs that are used in native cooking.[citation needed] Panamanian cuisine is a unique mix of African,SpanishNative American cooking and dishes, reflecting its diverse population. Typical foods are mildly flavored, without the pungency of some of Panama’s Latin American and Caribbean neighbors. Common ingredients are maizericewheat flour, plantainsyuca(cassava), beef, chicken, pork and seafood.

Some of the main specialties are:

  • Tortillas: These can be around ten to twelve inches in diameter (these are always cooked on a griddle), or smaller, around four inches (most of the time these are fried).
  • Bollos: corn dough wrapped in corn husk or plantain leaves and boiled. There are two main varieties: fresh corn bollos (bollos de maíz nuevo) and dry corn bollos. The dry corn type is sometimes flavored with butter, corn, or stuffed with beef, which is called bollo “preñado”.
  • Torrejitas de maíz: a fresh corn fritter.
  • Tortilla Changa: Thick tortilla made out of fresh corn.
  • Almojábanos: “S” shaped corn fritters.
  • Empanadas: which can be made either from flour or corn, and stuffed with meats, cheese, and sometimes sweet fillings, such as fruit marmalade or manjar blanco (dulce de leche).
  • Hojaldres/Hojaldras:A type of fry-bread, similar to South American sopaipilla.
  • Patacones: twice-fried green plantain disks, known in other countries as “tostones”.
  • Carimañola: Similar to an empanada, but made from yuca and stuffed with beef.

Drinks

  • Chicha, Chicheme, Resbaladera, Ron ponche, kahlua and Sorrel (Sorrel is a drink containing sorrel sepals, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, sugar, water, and a splash of rum)
  • Fresh fruit juices (licuados or jugos naturales): pineapplepassionfruitpapayaorangetree tomato, etc. are prepared by blending fresh fruit and straining; typically heavily sweetened and optionally with condensed milk added

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