How to experience Panama cuisine like locals

Curated by BuffaloTripNovember 20, 2016 Viewed: 866

Like the Panama people, Panamanian cuisine is very diverse by the interference of many cultures. From tropical fruits to delicious fresh seafood, Panamanian cuisine is not only captivated by the warmth of the Caribbean sunshine, and mixed with the taste of European cuisine.

Panamanians eat fewer vegetables in their meals. They also love the fruit but they only eat a little fresh fruit and drink kinds of juice instead. Panamanians love to enjoy fried foods, they cook in the fire but seldom use the oven. In particular, the natives prefer to use more sauce, dipping for its cuisine but these sauces are imported from all over the world from Spain to China.

1. Breakfast (Desayuno)

Bistek Picado

Also known as chopped beef, served with donuts or baked cake, sweet or not sweet depending on your taste. Minced or sliced beef with garlic, onion, paprika and kinds of sauce is a dish almost indispensable in Panama's breakfast. Having sauces are made from Asian sauce. Tomato sauce has Caribbean’s style and is referred to under Spanish is Salchichas. This dish will be served with bread or some sorts of Panama-style donuts.


Used to eat with minced beef which makes a traditional breakfast - is the common name for all of Panama fried cakes. Usually, it will have pale or slightly salty taste, not the sweet version of the American donut. Including white cheese tortillas (Tortillas), and fried green banana cake (Patacones).

Huevoes (eggs)

Like many other places, the egg is quite a popular dish for breakfast in Panama. But people here like scrambled eggs (scrambled egg) rather than fried eggs (Fried egg). Scrambled eggs are cooked with a little - chopped tomato, paprika, and onions. Eggs are often served with sausage, cheddar cheese, and bread.

Frutas (fresh fruit)

With the great diversity of tropical fruits, Panamanians do not often miss fruits in their nutritious breakfast. They often eat melon, pineapple, mango, papaya and a fruit which is called “Maracuya” or aka lemon.

Salchichas (dishes such as sausages, salami)

Regularly appearing in Panama diet and they have origin from de Azuero Peninsula.

2. Panama's main meal (Platos Principales)

Stew Sancocho

Chicken and vegetables after cleaning will be put in the stew pot until they are soft and blend together to create a special flavor. This stew is similar to the stew of the nations in the world, but in every country, there will be a tasting of different spices and stew Sancocho's Panama too.

When meat is tender, vegetables (can be potatoes, carrots, and parsley yucca ..) to taste, creating a slurry of water, the dish can be brought up for visitors to enjoy. This dish can be served with many dishes such as salads, sandwiches, ... according to each person's taste.


This is a kind of bread usually eaten with stew Sancocho. This cake made of corn flour rolls stuffed with the chicken inside, or beef and vegetables, herbs, and spices. All are wrapped in banana leaves and then boiled up. This dish can be an aperitif dish, or it may be used as the main course of a meal.

Arroz con Pollo

This is vegetable - chicken rice dish which is very popular in Panama are usually present in the holidays, special occasions. To make this dish, dried sliced chicken meats are marinated sliced with a mixture of spices such as garlic powder, turmeric, cayenne and cumin powder. Then sauté or stir-fried chicken. Saute green pepper, red onion chopped, then mix with garlic until fragrant yellow rice. This mixture is cooked in simmering the broth for the rice cooked, tomato sauce, spices. Rice are cooked dry and served with chicken.


A type of croaker common in Panama and is usually prepared by baked or fried, served with rice or eaten with bread data cones and combined with different sauces and lemon. Also other seafood such as fish, shrimp, lobster is also very rich. According to native Indian, Panama has meaning "abundance of fish".

3. Snacks / dessert Panama


Snack popular in Panama, a country with an abundant source of fresh fish. Ceviche is quite similar to the fish salad. Fresh white fish will be chopped pieces mixed with chopped onion, pepper, spicy picante sauce, spices and lemon juice, chilled from 6.8 hours until the fish turns white. This dish will be served with a crispy crunchy crust on the bottom, drinking the same beer and often served on the beach. It is also possible to use fresh shrimp flavor variations of the dish.


A fried banana cakes are appearing regularly in Panama's meals. Cakes made from green banana pepper cut circle and then frying oil until crispy. Then using the hard spoon or something and then applying compression to the frying pan.

Platano Maduro

This is also the fried banana cake, but the process is quite different from patacones. It does not cut a circle that sliced banana pieces vertically into the long, damp, sprinkle and then fried.with sugar. 

Arroz the Guandu

Although this dish is rice, but it is very popular aperitif in Panama. Rice is cooked with coconut milk and beans Guandu. 


Snacks that you can find any street in Panama from the street carrying on a bicycle or small shops of Chinese food. This is a pie with crispy crust inside the meat, potatoes, and vegetables which look rather like bread pillow.

Yucca fruit - fried yucca roots

Often used as a substitute for fried green banana cake patacones. Yucca tree is native species to Mexico, usually grows in rocky desert slopes, they endured the heat of the sun and no water. Yucca trees are flowering plants and may be as high as 5 meters.


The snacks "little ears" a fried butter biscuits with sugar.

Arroz con Leche

This dish is also known as rice pudding - easy to eat dessert of Panamanian natives. This dish cooked white rice with a small cinnamon stick, then filtered and boil with condensed milk and sweetened condensed milk. In addition, it is also the flan dessert.


A type of minced meat pie, mashed yucca and cheese stuffed in the crust and fried gold.


A stone creams of Panama is made from fruit juice and freeze in the cup. Raspado dish or Raspao is nearly similar results, Duro.

4. Drinks in Panama

The common drink is in Panama  is coffee or chocolate, fresh coconut water, and juices from fruits and vegetables such as pineapple juice, orange juice, rice water, or lemon drink with natural cane sugar.