How I will remember 2010

ayngelina
Day 272: Cuenca, Ecuador

Tis the season for round-ups and year in review posts. Rather than a photo post of my favourite destinations I wanted something that would reflect the excitement, pleasure and diversity of Latin America.

When I starting thinking about what I would remember most it seemed silly that I had not immediately considered my first love – food.

So here are my most memorable eats from the year. Some of them are the most delicious and some of them are just, well, memorable.

Mexico – Crickets

While I don’t think I ate anything in Mexico that I didn’t absolutely love, Oaxaca certainly introduced me to many things I loved.

Locals eat these crispy critters flavoured with chile and garlic as a snack. It was delicious and you would never know you were eating bugs if you didn’t see the tentacles.

I could write an entire blog about the deliciousness of Mexico, its streetfood and the other amazing things I ate in Oaxaca such as pickled pigs feet. I only spent 5 weeks in Mexico and I just scratched the surface.

Guatemala – Breakfast

I really had to think about the food in Guatemala because it didn’t stand out. It’s tough to be next in line after Mexico and because tourism is well developed all I remember are a lot of pizza and sandwich places.

However, breakfast is cheap and plentiful and was one of my favourite meals.

stewed chicken

Belize – Stewed chicken with rice and coleslaw

I am by no means an expert on Belize. I spent a week there, decided I hated it and moved on. As an entry point Belize City was a disaster and my only memory that was not frightening was the stewed chicken I bought at Jenny’s Shack.

In Caye Caulker I also bought Chef Boyardee beef ravioli and ate it straight out the can but maybe that was a low point in my travels.

baleada Honduras

Honduras – Baleadas

Not surprisingly there was seafood aplenty in Honduras, particularly at the divers paradise Bay Islands. But my most fond memory is the discovery of baleadas.

My favourite filling of the toasted tortillas was bean puree, avocado, lettuce and tomato. In not-so-distant second place was learning that roasted corn slathered with mayonaise and fresh cheese tastes really good.

quesillo Nicaragua

Nicaragua – Quesillos

Truly unique to Nicaraguan, I have never seen anything like Quesillos before but they are a cheese on cream on cheese masterpiece.

Nicaragua seemed to have a stronger food culture than Guatemala with many local specialties, and even though the nacatamale wasn’t as good as tamales in Mexico, I still enjoyed them.

Panama – Shrimp cocktail

This was a tough country to crack. I found the American influence on the country meant a lot of fast food joints and even street vendors were mostly selling hamburgers or hot dogs.

I was ready to give up on the country and then stumbled upon shrimp cocktail in the fish market. One bite and I forgot that until then my most memorable moment was eating Pio Pio fried chicken.

avocado dessert

Colombia – Ten course dinner

Colombia has fantastic set lunches and incredible seafood but the most memorable was a 10-course dinner in Salento. It was so delicious I had it 3 nights in a row and then waddled out of Salento and back to Cali.

Ecuador – Cuy

Although the country is filled with porky deliciousness, the most memorable food was a different kind of pig. In Banos, my mother, sister and I went to a restaurant specializing in cuy and ordered the lunch special.

A bit traumatizing for my mother as she had once owned a pet guinea pig and was served a portion with feet. However, my sister who is notoriously picky really enjoyed the meal and agreed it tasted like chicken.

La Casa Tejas Ceviche

Peru – Ceviche

I’ve only spent a few weeks in Peru but have already fallen in love with ceviche and learned how to make it. In particular the discovery of black conch ceviche, a specialty of Northern Peru has landed itself on the top 10 things I’ve eaten.

When I look at all of these foods I realize that while they are all part of Latin America and speak Spanish (well except Belize) they are all incredibly different. What one country may eat changes from town to town depending on what is available, the history of foreign settlements and their proximity to the ocean.

It also makes me feel incredibly lucky to have experienced all of these things, as I didn’t know most of them even existed. I don’t know what 2011 will bring but I am looking forward to eating my way through it.

Comments

  1. says

    You are killing me girl!! Look soooooo good! :) It was wonderful to be with your adventures.
    Love of food is.. Just wonderful. I am so with you. Thanks for great year! :)

  2. says

    OK – I am so ready to eat my way through Latin America (with the exception of crickets and pig’s feet, perhaps). Good idea to have a can of Chef Boyardee at the ready, too. Just in case. The Quesillos in Nicaragua does indeed look like a masterpiece!
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Beauty and the Snowy Beast

  3. says

    Awesome year!! We just discovered Baleadas ourselves, although we had some that weren’t very good – but we’ll keep trying ;-)

    Can’t believe that you actually ate the crickets in Oaxaca – we were happy to be vegetarians when we came across them ;-)

    Have a fabulous 2011, food-wise it should be at least as exotic & exciting as 2010 ;-)

  4. says

    Hey Ayngelina,

    Cool post – one that has further motivated Shawna and I to get moving on plans for our own RTW, leaving mid-May…Oaxaca will actually be our first stop coming down from Canada…did you have any advice on places to stay?

    Well done on a great blog. We have been reading for a few months now…

    Happy New Year!

    • Ayngelina says

      @SkottandShawna

      What a wonderful first stop, although where ever you go next will be a disappointment.

      I stayed at a very nice new hostel in Oaxaca, I can’t remember the namehttp://www.baconismagic.ca/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?p=2429&approved=1#comments-form though but I did review it on TripAdvisor. It was more like a hotel than a hostel. How long will you be there?

  5. says

    What a yummy post! You always take such beautiful shots of your food and it all looks so tasty!

    Your food posts are definitely inspiring me to start featuring more of my own food adventures, and maybe even get into recipes as you mentioned on my latest post!
    Annie recently posted..My Big Fat Italian Christmas

  6. says

    This is sure the thing you never forget with your 2010 experience. Actually i also love eating food, but i cannot eat those exotic foods that I think tastes bad. You’ve got a great 2010, and i guess 2011 will be another great adventure for you.

  7. says

    I had that same Chicken/Rice dish in Belize after a day of tubing down a river in the rainforest. We actually saw a small crocodile on tyhe river’s edge. But yeah, that chicken dish tasted so good after an active day. Afterwards we walked through an orange grove and had fire ants bite out ankles. JSJ
    James St. James recently posted..Three Awesome Things

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