The local food such as "Patacones", "Yuca" with "Pescado" or "Arroz con Pollo" is extremely delicious and highly recommended. The location to the Caribbean and the Pacific, indigenous peoples, Afro-Caribbean workers during the construction of the Panama Canal and the colonial era were and are influential factors of today's Panamanian cuisine.
Patacones and yuca
Many people think of plantains as normal bananas that are cooked and then turn into a pulp. However, "platanos" are large, green plantains and firmer than regular bananas. These are peeled, cut into small slices, salted, then deep fried in hot oil and drained. They are then pounded with a stone or plate and fried again. The taste of these "patacones" is comparable to French fries.
"Yuca", on the other hand, is a white root with thin brown outer layer. Without the brown outer layer, the root is boiled in water, but can additionally be fried afterwards. Typical of the country are the terms "Yuca Sancochada" or "Yuca Frita".
Probably the most common food is "Arroz con Pollo" a dish with rice, chicken meat and salad.
Fish and Seafood - Pescado y Marisco
Panama has the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Caribbean on the other, so fresh fish here is naturally a complete delight. Typical for "Pescado" is for example fried whole fish or "Corvina a la plancha" - grilled sea bass.
With "Langostinos" and "Camarones" there are the most different kinds of shrimps. An absolute must for any fish fan is "Ceviche", with lots of onions, lime juice and small pieces of fish it is an absolutely delicious and refreshing breakfast.
Fruits, Fruits and Vegetables - Frutas y Verduras
Drinks - Bebidas
Sometimes you see cars parked on the sides of the streets with a pressing machine, here fresh cane sugar is processed and with a little lime juice it is a fresh sweet green juice - "Jugo de caña".
In the department stores you can buy small caramelized sugar cane packets - "Raspadura" and in the fast food restaurants you often see eye-catching containers with the brown liquid. Some may think of dirty broth at first sight, but the brown color is only the caramelization of the cane sugar and with fresh lime it is a very refreshing drink, just the best natural "lemonade" there is.
Who has become accustomed to fast food chains such as McDonalds, Subways or KFC, will also find in Panamá. Typical for the country is e.g. PioPio similar to KFC. In the large shopping malls there are usually extra floors with all kinds of fast food restaurants, from pizza, grilled steaks to Chinese food and "burritos", there is something for every taste.