Hispanic and Latin American Foods

Hispanic and Latin American Foods

In a literal sense, Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish and/or who are descended from Spanish speaking lineage. This English word evolved from the Latin word Hispanicus, which is reported to have been used to refer to people living in Hispania - the Iberian Peninsula in today's Spain - during the Roman Empire. Since Hispanic refers to what language people speak or that their ancestors spoke, it refers to an element of culture.

Unlike Hispanic, which refers to language, Latino is a term that refers to geography. It is used to signify that a person is from or descended from people from Latin America. It is, in fact, a shortened form of the Spanish phrase latinoamericano - Latin American, in English. Like Hispanic, Latino does not technically speaking, refer to race. Anybody from Central or South America and the Caribbean can be described as Latino. Within that group, like within Hispanic, there are varieties of races. Latinos can be white, Black, indigenous American, Mestizo, mixed, and even of Asian descent.

Source: The Difference Between Hispanic And Latino  from Hispanic Network Magazine

Latin Food: The 50 Best Latin Dishes

Amigo Foods is a food website that lists authentic, traditional dishes from several countries like the Caribbean, Latin America, and South America to name a few. There are so many recipes and foods to learn about from so many cultures, so we HIGHLY recommend exploring while learning. Here is the top 7 to get you started.

1. Empanadas

An empanada is a latin pastry or turnover that's filled with savory ingredients and served hot. The name comes from the verb "empanar" meaning "to wrap or coat in bread or dough." The basic ingredients combine three things: a dough, a filling, and a cooking method. Empanadas come baked or fried and shaped like triangles or half-moons. Popular fillings include ground or minced beef, chicken, or even a ham-and-cheese combo. You can also buy them filled with vegetables or fruit.

2. Tacos

Taco is a popular Mexican dish consisting of a wheat or corn tortilla stuffed with fillings, primarily containing meat. The bread is folded when eaten, a tacos trademark. Make sure the tortilla is malleable to be folded. Besides being fun to eat, you can get quite creative with the fillings.

The following are some of the popular fillings:

  • Al Pastor Tacos - Loosely translating to "shepherd-style" pork, tacos al pastor consists of pork meat marinated in a smooth paste of spices and chiles. The meat is typically topped with pineapples. (In this article, you'll learn how to make tacos al pastor.)
  • Tacos Arabes - As the name indicates, this tacos variety denotes a connection between Mexico and the Middle East. The taco employs flavor-rich pork slices from a trompo, which is quite a departure as Muslims consider pork as "haram" (forbidden). 
  • Barbacoa Tacos - If tacos Arabes has the Middle East connection, barbacoa references the Caribbean cooking style, particularly the Taino cooking method. Beef cheeks or head (cachete) or goat is utilized for this preparation.
3. Ceviche

It's raw seafood that has been marinated in lime and lemon juices. The popular Peruvian dish is also much more than just raw fish. With the red chilies, cilantro, and other ingredients, Peruvian ceviche is a meal that you won't be forgetting any time soon. There are many ways that you can eat Peruvian ceviche. You can use it as a dip for crackers or enjoy it on toast or bagel for a spin on your morning breakfast. If you're looking for a wine to pair with it, anything sweet usually works. Rule of thumb, if it's seafood, white wine is the way to go.

4. Arepas

Arepas are one of the yummiest treats to come out of Central and South America and they can be eaten in a variety of ways. An arepa is a flat, round, cornmeal cake. They resemble English muffins or pitas only that they are often stuffed with many different fillings. The name arepa came from the Indigenous form of the name, "erepa," which means "corn." Originally, they were eaten as a bread or as a side sold in restaurants and as a Colombian street food.

5. Pao de Queijo

The typical pão de queijo recipe calls for two main ingredients. The first is cassava which is used to make manioc flour and tapioca flour. The second main ingredient is the traditional Brazilian cheese used in making pao de queijo called queijo de Minas. Pao de queijo is a great breakfast companion to your favorite Brazilian coffee. Or even as a snack enjoyed in between meals.

6. Guacamole

Guacamole is a Mexican dip, spread, or salad made of avocado, which is used as a dip or condiment in American and Mexican cuisine.  It can also be served as a side dish or salad and as a delicious topping for many popular Mexican foods. It's simple and quick to make, and everybody has the ingredients at home. The ingredients include avocado, sea salt, onion, tomato, and lime juice. One thing you may not have at a home is a molcajete. It is a traditional Mexican kitchen tool used to make guacamole and it can be purchased on Amazon.

7. Arroz con Gandules

Arroz means rice, and gandules refers to pigeon peas, which are small, round beans that pack a nutritional punch.  When you combine these ingredients along with sofrito, the island's most popular seasoning, you have yourself Puerto Rico's loved national dish. One of the hallmarks of arroz con gandules is its seasoning. Many cooks use a product called Sazon, which consists of turmeric, coriander, annatto, garlic powder, and oregano. Some recipes call for bacon or another type of pork fat as seasoning.

Courtesy of: Amigo Foods

Grocery Stores

Mariana's SuperMarkets

Mariana's is the Hispanics supermarket for Las Vegas. Established in 1989, Mariana's has built customer loyalty through quality foods at great prices. We have 5 stores across Las Vegas so you'll never have far to go to get the freshest produce, the widest selection of meat and seafood and fruits and vegetables from across the world.

Aguila Markets

Straightforward spot for freshly butchered meat & a standard selection of produce & groceries. 

Marketon Supermarket

Sizable grocery store offering a wide range of fresh produce, plus a selection of meat & fish.