Published on December 17th, 2013 | by Mark Chesnut
Feliz Navidad: 10 Tasty Latin Food Ideas for Christmas Dinner
One of the joys of of the holiday season is the great food. And in a region as diverse as Latin America, it’s no surprise that Christmas dinner can be an especially tasty culinary treat. If you’re looking to add some Latin food with pan-Latin flavor to your own dinner — or perhaps add some holiday excitement to your next Latin America vacation — here are a few menu ideas from several Latin American nations.
1. Argentinian Food: In Argentina, holiday revelers enjoy turrón, a nougat confection made with honey, sugar and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts. Or try pionono, a small pastry made with dough (flour, eggs and sugar), rolled around a filling of dulce de leche.
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2. Brazilian Food: Tasty meats are big on the dishes of holiday plates in Brazil, including lombo a California (pork loins), pernil (roast pork) and perú (roast turkey).
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3. Chilean Food: Holidays in Chile include a variety of tasty beverages, including cola de mono (made with aguardiente, milk, coffee, vanilla and cloves) and ponche a la romana (egg nog made with champagne and pineapple-flavored ice cream). They can be a nice complement with pan de pascua, a sponge cake made with cloves, candied fruits and almonds.
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4. Colombian Food: Popular holiday items in Colombia include buñuelos (fried dough balls made with cheese curd), natilla (a custard-based dessert made with cinnamon or arequipe) and manjar blanco (made with milk, rice and sugar).
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5. Dominican Food: Among the favorite holiday treats in the Dominican Republic are ponche (egg nog), bread pudding and majarete (corn pudding with coconut milk, corn, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar).
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6. Guatemalan Food: To add some holiday flavor from Guatemala, consider sampling a few tasty tamales and turkey, and wash it all down with delicious ponche (warm fruit punch).
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7. Mexican Food: Since I’m about to head to Mexico City for the holidays, I decided to survey a few Mexican restaurants there to see what’s on the table in Mexico this holiday season. In Mexico City, restaurants offering a special Christmas menu include Lincoln Bistro and Novecento, both of which serve a menu with bacalao negro (black cod) vapor con salsa de anguila or short rib, with desserts including dulce de leche and ponche. Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan, an elegant venue in the southern part of the city (which was once home of Mexican film star Maria Félix), is offering a traditional dinner-dance event for Christmas, priced at 120 pesos, with a menu that includes bacalao a la veracruzana, stuffed turkey, filet mignon and salmon.
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8. Panamanian Food: Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), tamales, ham, turkey and fruit cake are among the top holiday dishes in Panama. Since I just got back from a trip to Panama City, I was also able to check out some interesting budget offerings for anyone looking for a cheap but filling Christmas dinner. Budget travel holiday meals include a $7 Christmas dinner at the casino at El Panama Convention Center & Hotel (stay tuned for my review of the hotel).
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9. Peruvian Food: Favored holiday treats in Peru include chocolate caliente (hot chocolate) and panetón (a fruit cake of Italian origin).
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10. Puerto Rican Food: Sweet holiday treats are among the pleasures of Christmas in Puerto Rico. After a satisfying meal of pernil (roast pork), you can sip coquito (Puerto Rican rum egg nog) and sample majarete (corn pudding with coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar) and arroz con dulce (rice pudding).
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