In Part 1, we shared dishes from North and Central America. In this part of our Hispanic National Plates series, we are highlighting dishes from South America and the Caribbean. Buen provecho!
Argentina: Asado is the national dish. This word translates in English to “roast”, because the preparation includes different cuts of meat that are cooked in a grill with charcoal. The different meats from the asado go well with Chimichurri sauce, and often the asado entrée is served with traditional Argentinian side dishes to make it a full meal. In Argentina having an asado is a part of a social gathering, much like how we have barbeques here in the United States.
Colombia: Bandeja Paisa is the national dish, which originates from the Antioquia region of Colombia. It can be prepared in many different ways, but the main ingredients are plantains, an arepa, fried egg, chorizo, pork rinds, rice, beans, avocado and beef. Colombia officially made Bandeja Paisa its national dish as recently as 2005, even though it has been consumed for decades.
Peru: Ceviche is the national dish of Peru. While this dish is something that is popular across most Latin American countries, the origins are traced back to the Moche Civilization in Peru. Ceviche is made in many different styles depending on the country, however the most popular style in Peru consists of any type of fish, salt, pepper, lime juice and coriander. It is such a staple in Peruvian cuisine that they even have an official holiday, National Ceviche Day, celebrated on June 28th each year.
Cuba: The national dish is Ropa Vieja, which translate in English to “old clothes” likely due to the use of shredded meat. The origin of this dish originates from Spain and is popular in both the Canary Islands and Cuba. Ropa Vieja is braised shredded beef cooked with pepper, garlic, onion, tomato sauce, oregano and other spices. The sides to this dish are fried plantains and white rice.
Puerto Rico: The national dishes are Pernil and Arroz con Gandules. They are two separate Puerto Rican dishes that are paired together traditionally for special events. Pernil is a Puerto Rican style pork roast. The ingredients usually include adobo, oregano, onion and other spices that help marinate the meat.
Arroz con Gandules in English is “rice with pigeon peas.” The use of tomato paste gives Arroz con Gandules an orange tint. Both dishes’ crucial ingredient is Puerto Rican sofrito, which is made from peppers, cilantro, garlic, culantro and ajies dulces.
Dominican Republic: La Bandera is the national dish. In English, this translates to “the flag,” which is in reference it to the Dominican Republic flag. La Bandera is most commonly eaten during lunch and consists of white rice, your choice of meat and red beans.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of our Hispanic National Plates series to learn more about dishes from Africa and Europe.