Sensational Dishes That Make Up Latin American Cuisine

By 26 February, 2020

Latin America is a large and diverse region, covering all of South and Central America along with Mexico and the Caribbean. Even though many nations are included in this vast expanse, the people share the common element of colourful and vibrant cultures that reflects in their cuisine. Latin America prides itself in strong culinary connections that can be described as nothing short of flavorful and inventive. The creation of hallmark dishes and cooking techniques in the region is supported by its access to fresh seafood and grounds, even slots fans that support unique agriculture. This guide offers a few of the culture’s vast offerings that will take you on a tasting journey that defines Latin America.


Taco culture has blown up around the world, and this dish can be found nearly everywhere from North America and Asia to Europe and Africa. However, there is no denying that tacos have their roots deep-set in Mexico. Whether eaten crunchy or soft, tacos deliver a genuinely euphoric experience once you dig your teeth into it and let the various ingredients roll on your tongue. An ideal taco is defined by its fillings, which mostly consist of meats that are slow-cooked that can be accompanied by onions, cilantro, chiles, and other spices. Veggie tacos are also gaining popularity as a lot of people try to move away from meat-based dishes, and they appear to be fueling the love affair started by the meat-filled options.


Asia is the best-known region when it comes to mastering the art of serving raw fish, but ceviche proves that Latin America has nailed it as well. The dish consists of raw fish or other kinds of seafood that are mixed with chilli peppers, red onions, salt, and lime juice. The chilli peppers used in the dish are aji, which are native to Peru since the recipe is linked with the country. The food is such a favourite in the country that it has a national holiday dedicated to celebrating its savoury.

The acids that are added to the raw fish in ceviche carry out the “cooking” process, which leaves the meat filling firm and gives it an opaque shade. The intense nature of the marinade that is left behind earns it the name leche de tigre, which translates into tiger’s milk. This dish is completed with sweet potato and Andean corn accompaniments, which are also native to Peru. Ceviche is best eaten as lunch when the fish is at its freshest.


When most people think of pastries, they link the food to Europe, but Latin America also stands as a contender of some of the best pastries in the world. Empanadas are some of the delicacies that fall in this category, and they are considered the Latin American version of Bolivian saltena or Portuguese pastels. An empanada is a pastry or bread that is baked or fried with stuffed goodies inside. You can play games with such theme at The contents differ depending on the region where the savoury dish is enjoyed and can be meat, cheese, fruits, corn smut, or vegetables.


Tamales, like tacos, are some of the most famous dishes in Latin American cuisine. The recipe is mainly linked to Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Argentina. This Mesoamerican dish has many twists to it, but its main ingredient across all options is masa, which is a corn-based dough. It is them filled with meats, vegetables, fruits, chillies, cheeses, or a mix of some of these ingredients. It is then wrapped in a leaf wrapper, mostly that of corn, and boiled.


Juane is another culinary delight that is native to Peru. The ingredients of the dish are mainly sourced from the Amazon forest, which covered about 60% of the country and is prominent in other Peruvian dishes. The Juane delicacy consists of rice that is mixed with a boiled egg, chicken, and black olives. It is flavoured with a range of spices to achieve the rich taste associated with nearly all other Latin American dishes. The ingredients are then encased in bijao leaves before being cooked in clay pots. Once ready, the meal is served with the leaves even though they are not eaten.

Cazuela De Llama

In many parts of the world, llamas are considered pets or farm animals that help in transporting goods and providing wool for socks, scarves, and gloves. In Argentina, however, these cute animals serve as the main ingredient for Cazuela De Llama. The meat is loved for its high protein and low-fat content that makes it a healthy alternative to most others. The flavorful meat is prepared as a stew with carrots and native potatoes that is mixed with an array of spices for an inviting result.


If you are a sandwich enthusiast, then be prepared to fall in love with the chivito, which is the national dish of Uruguay. It is said that a tourist visited a restaurant in south Uruguay and requested chivito, which is baby goat meat in Argentina. In a bid to impress the lady, the chef proceeded to make a churrasco instead and added a twist to make it as appealing as possible. He added cheese, lettuce, bacon, mayonnaise, olives, ham, and a fried egg. The tourist loved it so much that it was not only included in the menu but also went on to become the national sandwich.


Arepas are a Venezuelan and Colombian treat that falls in the pastry category. The fluffy, dough shaped dish mainly consists of cornflour and is filled either cheese, meat, beans, or avocados. Arepas are a real crowd pleaser and are eaten almost every day in most homes where the cuisine is prominent.


Fejioda originally hails from Brazil, and it is the country’s national dish. This Latin American food is mainly made of black beans and pork, which end up creating an exciting and flavorful blend. It is usually served with kale, rice, and toasted farofa, which is made of cassava flour. The meal has a rich history and is said to have been created by slaves who collected the meat scraps of what their masters could not eat from slaughtered pigs and mixed them with their own food.

Closing Thoughts

Food and cooking methods are different across Latin America, which is heavily influenced by each region’s proximity to the sea and mountains. Even with the vast number of dishes in the culture, they are all tied together by the passion of celebration and food festivities, where most of the listed dishes can be enjoyed.

Follow Sounds and Colours: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Mixcloud / Soundcloud / Bandcamp

Subscribe to the Sounds and Colours Newsletter for regular updates, news and competitions bringing the best of Latin American culture direct to your Inbox.