Posted on by Victoria D.

Panama is known to be one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America but what many people do not know is that it also has a distinct cuisine and a wide variety of delicacies that have been passed down from generations.  Panamanian dishes are spicy but not too hot to peel off the insides of the mouth, which allows one to enjoy the taste of the food without too much flinching from the pain of pepper.

In this post, we will look at some of the indigenous Panamanian dishes that are popular and loved by many. The Panamanian food mostly consists of fish, plantains, rice and meat which are prepared in different ways to bring out mouthwatering delicacies that locals enjoy and now tourists look forward to having a taste of the same. Some of these dishes are:


Corvina is a type of fish that can be served as fried or grilled with al ajillo sauce made of spice and can also be served with sautéed tomatoes, bell pepper and onions called a la espanola. Did you know that the word Panama came from a native word that meant “abundance of fish”? Well, true to the word, Panama produces a lot of fish and the reason why fish is one of the staple foods. That is why over the centuries Panamanians have perfected in preparing fish.

Arroz con Coco

Coconut rice mostly blends in well with Panama’s seafood. Preparing coconut rice is simple. For every cup of high-quality white rice, you need one can of coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt. Boil the coconut milk and then add the rice and stir. Cook at low temperatures for about 20 minutes. You can serve with squid which is prepared in its ink to add the flavor. The squid is usually prepared with garlic, bell pepper and tomatoes.


Patacones is a dish made from unripe plantains. The unripe plantains are cut into round shapes and then they are pounded by a tostonera to make them flat. They are then deep fried until they are golden brown and crisped. They are then salted and you can eat them with ketchup or smother them in hot sauce as you wish. You can also prepare ripe plantains either sautéed or broiled in oil.


Sancocho stew usually comprises of stew made from chicken, cilantro, yucca root, onions and oregano. It is easy to make and for those who love partying through the night this would be ideal for you the next day when you have that hangover feeling. You can stuff Sancocho in empanadas and you can dip those babies in chili sauce for that extra spiciness.

Panamanian Coffee

Make sure that you take the time to enjoy the Panamanian coffee and it’s usually the best way to start your day. You can have your coffee with eggs, toast, a hojaldra (deep fried bread sprinkled with powdered sugar) and a tropical fruit.

Have these dishes trigger a sense of homesickness in you? Don’t forget that you can send money back to your loved ones in Panama! It’s an easy way to show them that you care and they are constantly in your thoughts!

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