South America is known to be a land of gourmets, with fine, spicy cuisine of various influences and unique combinations of fresh produce. Grilled meats, vegetables, soups and other filled pancakes and turnovers are all dishes to discover during your travels. The dishes are rich in flavors, smells and textures, and a multitude of addresses across the continent open their doors to you to experience unforgettable moments. Here are 5 cities to stop in South America to put your taste buds to a boil and leave with a multitude of recipes to reproduce at home.
1- Mexico City and its festival of flavors
The Mexican capital is not only a sprawling city, it is also a place of choice to discover a rich and varied gastronomy. To all those who do not want to waste a beat and who prefer to eat while walking, the discovery of Mexican tacos is a must. These little cornmeal pancakes are topped with meat, guacamole, rice, vegetables and kidney beans and all make up a delicious sandwich that’s hard to get tired of. In Mexico City, you can also eat enchiladas, tortillas stuffed with cheese or meat as well as empanadas, small turnovers filled with meat, corn and vegetables. We quickly understand that Mexico City is a little Street-Food paradise. But the city does not stop there, and there are also charming restaurants offering fish and seafood, including the essential ceviche, raw fish tartare. For lovers of sweet, you should know that Mexico City is a destination where you can also indulge yourself with queso flan, a custard made from unsweetened condensed milk and caramel, but also with churros dipped in chocolate.
2- Lima, a wide variety of dishes
It is not for nothing that Latin gastronomy is recognized throughout the world and that chefs open establishments inspired by its flavors such as the Colimba restaurant in Grenoble and its exquisite dishes. It is because a good number of destinations, like Peru, present a cuisine that cannot be ignored. In Lima, as in the rest of the country, the dishes are a perfect blend of an ancestral heritage and touches of modernity. The cuisine is also based on the cultural diversity of the country: Japan, West Africa, China, the West Indies and of course Spain. With dishes such as ceviche, antichuchos , beef heart marinated in garlic sauce then cooked on the barbecue, lomo saltado, beef accompanied by vegetables sautéed in soy sauce or even papa a la huancaína, potatoes in peanut sauce, Peruvian cuisine has received prestigious awards, including that of best gastronomic destination in the world by the World Travel Awards for six years in a row. Just that !
3- La Paz, a treat from starter to dessert
Bolivia has a cuisine as varied as the landscapes that make up the country. It is therefore a destination of choice for gourmets. The dishes are rich and differentiated, due to the crossbreeding and the long history of the territory. Soup is popular with everyone, in working-class neighborhoods, but not only. An essential soup is sopa de mani , which can be likened to the Bolivian stew: it consists of a piece of tender meat, potatoes, a little milk, cream of peanuts, spices and parsley. It is also possible to taste the silpancho, a dish that consists of rice, potatoes, breaded and fried beef and eggs. In some large hotels, trout from Lake Titicaca is served to fish lovers. When it comes to dessert, nothing beats a stroll through La Paz, cinnamon ice cream in hand.
4- Bogotá, from tradition to modernity
A colorful country, Colombia has diverse cultural influences and geographical and climatic conditions conducive to culture and the development of excellent cuisine. In the capital of the country, many great chefs have put down their suitcases to work in upscale restaurants. For the essentials of gastronomy, it is impossible to miss the ajiaco , a hearty traditional soup made with potatoes, chicken and corn on the cob. A local aromatic herb enhances the whole and the whole is accompanied by avocado and cream. We don’t forget to mention the patacon, pieces of fried green plantains and served with guacamole or even a mixture of tomatoes, onions and herbs. For the sweet, it is absolutely necessary to test the milk jam called arequipe . It is found in pastries, ice creams and rolls.
5- Buenos Aires, for meat lovers
If it is possible to find several vegetarian addresses in the different countries of South America, Buenos Aires is very popular with carnivores. Parrillas are the traditional meat restaurants where beautiful and generous pieces are served grilled or braised. You should know that Argentinian beef is considered one of the best in the world. For those who still want something more typical, cheese or meat-filled empanadas and tortillas are at least as popular as the bean soup the locro and the pastel de choclo, ground meat au gratin from corn. Argentinian cuisine is also inspired by Italy. Pizzas, pasta and ravioli are therefore part of the game. Finally, for a real moment of sweetness, it is still best to get some alfajores , cookies made with cornstarch and sweet caramel milk paste, and to accompany them with a good glass of Argentinian wine, like a Malbec.