To cruise Panama Canal is to explore cuisine, culture, and history. Through colonization and the completion of the Panama Canal, Spanish, American, and Afro-Caribbean influence spread through the country, completely transforming its culinary culture. When you're in Panama, you'll find that the cuisine is dominated by several exotic staples. Check out this guide to Panamanian cuisine, and you'll know just which ones to sample on your next Panama Canal cruise.
Commonly served with eggs and sausage for breakfast, Panamanian corn tortillas are either fried (when smaller) or cooked on a griddle (when larger). Unlike Mexican-style tortillas, these are thick, small rounds of corn dough.
Patacones or PlÃ¡tanos Maduros (Fried Plantains)
Patacones are green plantains that are sliced into rounds, fried, pressed, and fried again. They're most often served as starchy sides with lunch or dinner, and are delicious when dipped in refried beans. PlÃ¡tanos maduros, a sweet plantain side dish, consists of ripe plantains sauteed in oil and served with a caramelized sugar sauce that's seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon. Though sweet, this dish is served as a main side dish for lunch and dinner.
Arroz con Guandu (Coconut Rice)
A popular side you'll have with almost every meal, coconut rice or arroz con guandu is made with coconut water and guandu — an African bean that imparts a subtle savory flavor to the rice.
Yuca is the countryside staple that is either served as a fried potato-like side dish (yuca frita). Sometimes it is boiled and made into a dough that is often stuffed with meat and eggs — a bit like a dumpling — in a dish called carimaÃ±ola.
Corvina (Sea Bass)
Panama's most popular fish, it can be served fried, baked, or raw as ceviche. Sea bass is complemented by a side of patacones or yuca frita.
Panama, along with the rest of Latin America, is in love with this rich egg custard that is finished off with caramelized sugar. The most beloved of desserts, flan pairs well with a cup of delicious Panamanian coffee.
Ready to experience a taste of Panama? When you cruise the Panama Canal with Princess Cruises, you can take time to explore all that fine Panamanian cuisine has to offer. Open your mind, indulge your palate, and come back new.
Image Source: Flickr