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The Taste of Latin America: 5 Traditional Dishes

The flavors of Latin America are more popular than ever and have practically become a staple of the American diet. While most of feast frequently on enchiladas, tacos and burritos, Latin America is host to a wide variety of traditional dishes as varied as they are delicious.


Popular throughout Latin America, as well as parts of Europe and Asia, empanadas are a stuffed bread or pastry that is baked or fried and served with a spicy salsa. Empanadas are traditionally made by folding bread or dough around a filling, usually of meat or cheese and then fried until hot and crispy.


Perfect for a hot afternoon, Ceviche is a popular appetizer throughout Latin America. The dish is traditionally made from raw seafood which is marinated in lime or lemon juice for several hours until the acids cure the fish. The acids cause a chemical reaction with the protein in the seafood causing it to become firm up as if it was cooked.


Tamales have been around since the days of the Aztecs and continue to be a popular dish today. Tamales are made from a corn-based dough, called masa, that is combined with a variety of meats, cheeses and vegetables and wrapped in a leaf and steamed. The leaf is discarded before eating.


Plantains are a staple food in many tropical cultures. They resemble a banana but have a higher starch content and are not as sweet. They are typically served as a side dish and can be prepared by either frying, steaming or boiling.

Dulche de leche

Dulche de leche, or sweet made of milk, is a thick caramel custard. Made by heating milk and sugar, it is one of the most popular desserts in Latin America and can be eaten alone or used in the making of candy and cakes.

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