Popular latin foods are quite diverse and enjoyed by people across the globe, and no celebration of Hispanic heritage would be complete without incorporating food into the festivities. People celebrate their heritages in various ways. One of the more popular ways to celebrate one’s heritage is by breaking bread with others. Recipes passed down through generations can teach people about a particular culture, even shedding light on that culture for people of different backgrounds. Foods are important to people of all ethnicities, especially those who identify as Hispanic or Latino.
• Arepas: Arepas are bread-like products made of ground maise dough. They’re primarily enjoyed by those from Venezuela and Columbia, but are also often served in Panama, Trinidad and Tobago and the Canary Islands. Arepas may be stuffed or served with accompaniments, such as cheese or avocado.
• Asado: Those who visit Argentina may come across asado, a term used for a particular barbecue technique. Asado mainly features flank-cut beef ribs flavored with chimichurri, cooled on a grill or over an open fire. Cured sausages, sweetbreads and poultry may also be used when cooking in the asado style.
• Bandeja paisa: This Colombian dish is comprised of a platter of different foods in generous portions. Traditional items include red beans cooked with pork, white rice, ground meat, a fried egg, plantains, and avocado.
• Ceviche: Ceviche, also called “cebiche,” is a dish of fresh, raw fish that has been slightly cured thanks to citrus juices. The dish can be slightly bitter and spiced. Ceviche is often served as an appetizer, and it is quite popular in Peru, Ecuador and Chile.
• Churros: Churros are most often served as breakfast or a sweet snack. Churros are a fried pastry stick or a twisted pastry that may be served plain or filled with fruit or chocolate. Some churros are sprinkled with sugar.
• Flan: Another sweet treat, flan is a dessert item. While some recognize it as a kind of tart, in many Spanish-speaking countries, it is a custard-style dessert with a caramelized top.
• Paella: A well-known Spanish dish, paella is served in many different restaurants and Latin households. Paella is rice embellished with fish, meats, saffron, and many other spices. Seafood paella can have fish mixed with shellfish as well.
• Plátanos: These banana-like fruits are served in many areas of Central and South America. A component of different Latin dishes and relatives of the banana, plátanos tend to be starchier and not as sweet as bananas. Plátanos, or plantains, are usually fried and served as a side dish. However, they also can be mashed and included as a component of main dishes.
• Ropa vieja: This shredded beef dish gets its name from its appearance, which resembles shredded “old clothes.” The meat often is accompanied by black beans and rice.
• Tamales: Known by various names, including “tamal” or “huminta,” tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish. They are made with a corn-based dough known as “masa,” which is filled with various meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and others. Tamales may be steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper or corn husk.
Many of the produce needed for this authentic dishes can be found right here at Redland Market Village in our very own Farmers Market! The next time you stop by be sure to visit and get some of your grocery shopping done, and if you’re not much for cooking you can enjoy a savory bite at our amazingly versatile Food Court that offers a variety of ethnic flavors! There are many Latin-inspired dishes, and they can be the hallmarks of celebrating the diverse Hispanic and Latino cultures that comprise major regions of the world, let us know which is your favorite in the comments below, or upload a picture on facebook with #redlandmarketvillage!