Latin America

Whistle-stop tour of South American culinary specialties

During the 20 or so years I spent in South America I tried many different regional dishes. I lived in Argentina for most of the time so the majority of the dishes below are Argentine, however I’ve mixed in a few from other countries too.

Ceviche – Personally, I ate this mostly while I lived in Mancora, on the North Coast of Peru, however it is served all along the coasts of Central and South America. Ceviche is a delicious lemony seafood soup. Each country has its own distinct flavor and style!


Churros – Becoming ever more popular in the UK also these days (in face we have a churro maker at home). Crispy, sugar-coated fried dough – some come with chocolate inside, others with runny chocolate for dipping your churro into it.


Asado – Meat lovers everywhere delight in the mouth watering selection of cuts of Argentine beef, lamb and goat served on a wood-fueled Argentine BBQ. On a Sunday, birthday, at Christmas and Easter, or just any day really you can smell the aroma of Asados throughout the streets in Argentina.


Dulce de leche – An Argentine delicacy. A super sweet, toffee/caramel type of dessert. You won’t find a kitchen in Argentina that doesn’t have at least one tub of this. It’s eaten with crackers, baked in cakes and made in desserts. It’s added to tinned duraznos (peaches) and on it’s own. Naturally there are dulce de leche flavored yogurts and ice cream too! (Luckily for me it can be purchased in the UK via Casa Argentina online deli shop).

Dulce de leche

Empanadas – Another dish from Argentina. No asado is complete without una docena de empanadas (a dozen empanadas) as a starter. The most popular fillings are beef, however chicken and tuna are tasty also.


Arepa – Fans of the new Disney movie Encanto will have come across these. Delicious Colombian snack – the Colombian equivalent of the Argentine empanada and can be eaten plain or with filling.


Milanesa – A staple in any Argentine house. Milanesa de Pollo (chicken Milanese) is breaded chicken fried or oven cooked and served with puré de papa (mashed potato) or papas/patatas fritas (chips). Another version is the Milanesa Napolitana which is beef milanese topped with ham & melted cheese.

Milanesa de pollo

Mondongo – I tried this for the first time in Ecuador, but it’s a very popular dish in Bolivia also. Mondongo is a soup made from diced tripe slow-cooked with vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, carrots, cabbage, celery, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic or root vegetables. An acquired taste that’s for sure!


Tamales – A Mexican dish but served throughout South America. I’ve eaten tamales in the North of the continent as well as the South. A spicy filling wrapped in corn husk or banana leaves and steamed. Delicious!


Pabellon Criollo -Ah, even after all these years the Pabellon Criollo dish is still so familiar to me. I must of eaten this at least 100 times during my year in Venezuela. It’s usually the main dish of a menú del día too.

Pabellon Criollo

Have you tried any of these? Which are your favorite South American dishes?

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