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Kathya de Chong of Alto Boquete Condominios – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Arepas cooked over an open fire – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPanamanians usually cook dishes like arroz con pollo, sancocho (a soup-like dish), tamales, bollos, tortillas, and hojaldre. These aren’t what we eat in Panama most of the time, but the dishes that are more representative of Panama. 
 
To make arroz con pollo, or rice with chicken, boil the chicken and use its soup to flavor the rice. Vegetables such as cabbage, peas, carrots and olives are used in this dish. The chicken is cut into small pieces and combined with all the vegetables and then the rice. Arroz con pollo is a mixture of all these ingredients with some spices. Achotes, a type of seed, is used to give the rice its yellow color. 
 
Sancocho is a kind of soup that is very basic and is very common in Panama. Here in Panama, we use a lot of root crops such as the nyame, the only root used in making sancocho. To make sancocho, nyame, cilantro and chicken are mixed. Cilantro is also very widely used in other places in Panama as well. 
 
The tamales in Panama are like the tamales you’d expect to find in Mexico. The only difference in the tamales in Panama is that they’re not as spicy as the tamales in Mexico, and that Panama’s tamales only use chicken. 
 
The tortillas in Panama are made exclusively with corn, and that makes our tortillas different than the tortillas in Mexico. In Panama, the tortillas are similar to the arepa (made of ground maize dough or cooked flour) in Venezuela. The tortillas in Panama are not like the flat ones that you get in Mexico because the process of preparing corn is different. Instead of covering the corn with wheat, the whole grain goes into a machine.
 
Hojaldre is a type of white wheat that you get when you make a mass out of water and salt and cook it in oil (deep fry). Hojaldre is a kind of fried bread. When I lived in Madrid, the food was a lot different than the food here in Panama.
 
(Arepas cooked over an open fire, pictured.)
Tim Rowley of Web-4-Panama | Marketing and Creative Agency – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Typical Panamanian food would include rice and beans with every meal. Rice with Guandu beans (Whandoo) mixed in is typically Panamanian and very few other places have this bean. We eat a lot of grilled chicken and grilled or fried fish. They also fry very thick 'chips' of Yuka.
 
Ceviche is very good here. Ceviche is raw seafood which is 'cooked' in a strong lemon juice and some spices added. It can be just fish (usually corvina), octopus, prawns, or mixed seafood.  Panamanian ceviche is served with a salty cracker to put it on, or with mouth-sized pastry baskets to put it in. Every supermarket keeps a fridge of this and there are dedicated Cevicherias. At parties it is often served as hors d'oeuvres. It's nice to go out and have ceviche and a couple of beers.
 
You don't have to eat typical Panamanian food if you don't want - there's plenty of choice. ​
 
 
Alan Stone – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
What are the food recipes of Panama? Well here is my favorite recipe by far:
Sancocho: "Chicken Soup For the Panamanian soul"
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 x 3 – 3½ pound chicken
  • 2 lb yucca root, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 lb yam peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes(if available)
  • 2 large plantain peeled and cut into 1 inch slices (not too ripe)
  • 1 bunch green onions coarsely chopped (white part only)
  • 3 carrots scrubbed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 ears corn cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup gringo cilantro leaves and stems, chopped or if Panamanian culantro (leaf resembling dandelion) is used — 1 leaf
  • water or chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Put all ingredients except salt, pepper, and corn in a large soup or stock pot.
  2. Add enough water or chicken broth to cover.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Remove chicken, discard skin, and peel meat from the bones.
  5. Break the meat into fairly large pieces and return to the pot.
  6. Add corn, salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Simmer for about 20 minutes longer.
 
After moving to Panama I had to adjust slightly to the cuisine here. Being mostly vegetarian, I had to make some changes and compromises; I also had to get creative. Living in a small town like Pedasi, we only have seasonal selections and we don’t always have everything I am used to. So yes, I started eating meat again; but I am not complaining. Many of the Panamanian dishes are delightful and easy to make. 

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