Foods of Panama

October 6, 2012

When I am in an International Setting, then I want to be International!  We have the rest of our lives to be and act accordingly to where we are…so, having the chance to immerse into a projection from another culture…well…bring it on…. 🙂  So, when I am in an International setting…they usually have American style restaurants around…but, I avoid those at all costs when I can!  Because of U.S./Panamanian history…there is some shared culture…however…we find the nuances when we pay attention:

You see, being a Georgia boy…I know seafood markets…grew up shopping them..the smell, the feel…the vibrancy…it is a different kind of feel…so when I say ‘this is on point’…well…I get my drift 🙂

Lobster, snapper…sea bass…corvina….well, next time I am here..need to get a place where I can cook…because yes, this environment…makes me want to burn….

Feel it yet?  Or are you still thinking about where is the McDonald’s…laughing…get off of my blog…right now!!!! 🙂  This was lunch on a Friday…seems in many places in the world…Friday is a fish/seafood kind of day…look close now…I know shrimp…this is shrimp with the head still on it…okay kids…this is grown folks business…’Melvin’ from Baby Boy :)…

Since I would rather have the authentic experience, I only did breakfast at the hotel…phenomenal every morning by the way….but after that…it was to the streets…this is a vendor that I  came to see almost everyday….she helped me with my spanish…so I could learn to order wherever I went….Colombian Lady…kept a busy stand…in Asia…it would be chicken satai….here…let’s just say….some special sauce…a bit of salsa picante…muy calliente…mmmm….so good….after a month…felt connected…hope she stays well…good people!!!!

Another spot I frequented…the owner spoke a bit of English…he would practice on me and I on him…amazing how, you don’t have to really be fluent in the spoken language…but you need to be fluent in the language of humanity…which is the speech of humility…I came…with humility…he gave it back…few days later…we were conversing in Spanish and English….makes a person feel good….lesson for us in the U.S…Picture of the staff in the evening…

What would you order? 🙂

Fish Fridays!  While I was eating….there was a lady standing next to me, fussing the entire time….I poured Hot Sauce all over it…she was fussing because she is the one that made the sauce and that it was too hot for me to do such…so as I ate…she fussed….I imagine she was telling me it was too hot for me to do that…smiling….man, I’ve eaten fire in Asia….I can roll with the best…for a little while anyway…retraction :)….it was delicious, I put on the right amount 🙂  The fussing was all in love!!!!

 

Gotta love the international setting where there are the baby coconuts….it’s like this all over the world…wherever you find tropical settings…Africa, Asia, Central America….He has Jugs full of coconut water and meat…fresh baby style….

Cool…Refreshing…Fulfilling…Man…I was full, like I had a meal after two cups…In my ‘Training Day’ ‘Denzel Washington’ Voice….’MY MAN’….”That’s what I’m talking about”….:)

On the left, a fish roll (corvina) stuffed with shrimp….on the right, shrimp soup with rice and vegetables….working with it….

Fish with the head still on is symbolic, now if you are still thinking about McDonald’s….well, you probably can’t relate…but while you struggle with relating…I’ll be treating this one line a piece of chicken in the south…cap the end of the bone…and pull the marrow right on out…served with papatas….

Corvina with fish salsa…authentic spot down the street…let me know my Spanish was coming along…had to read the menu, talk to the waiter and order from their intellectual space….and it was magnificent 🙂  ‘Papas Fritas’…fries 🙂

Okay, now we are getting into a very traditional soup in Panama….Sonchocho Panameno….something like chicken soup….boiled chicken with a root by the name of ‘name’…sip on it a bit…the root starts breaking down…and the soup starts getting thick…mmmm…..twisting my lips, and cutting my eyes  “okay now”…laughing….

Sopa de Mariscos…Seafood Soup…little bit of everything…and a lot of octopus…nice broth…chunky…filling…satisfying…

El Trapiche…has it going on…if you go to Panama…make sure you get there…right outside of the banking district….yes, ordered in Spanish again…give me my props 🙂

Saw this fellow a few times….gotta love the person standing out on his own…hustling… “A man has got to make his own way…” Shaved Ice….on a hot day….

Many Thanks!
www.takingownership.org

 

Mercado de Marisco

September 22, 2012

Obviously, Panama is known throughout the world for the Canal.  However, an absolutely delightful characteristic of the city is the outrageous abundance of fresh ocean fare.  Thus, a frequent stop for many Panamanians and visitors is the Mercado de Marisco: the City Fish Market.  Open nearly every day, local fishermen gather to process their catch and many others line up to participating in the unloading.  On any given day, you will see many colorful boats lined up as people from all walks of life fish to ‘make their own way’.  The market sits adjacent to the world renowned Casco Viejo – the Historic District (Old City Panama).  You can see parts of it in the background…more on that later!

Inside the market, you can see the vast array of seafood available: squid, octopus, corvina, tuna, snapper, langostino’s and countless other varieties.  Now, I’ve been in my share of fish markets around the world…this one ranks high!  I mean clean, fresh…

Makes you want to not just eat…but, makes the idea of cooking quite enjoyable…this is food that you want to put love into making…

Right outside the main market building are lines of vendors selling multiple varieties of seafood.  Here you find all walks of life…this is where all classes of people come together….it is amazing!  On any given day, you have to be mindful of when you come to the market for you may not even be able to get into the parking lot!  But, if you can make it…trust…it is well worth it!  Many of the vendors are selling Ceviche!  My mouth waters just saying the name.

Now, I only learned recently about Ceviche….and just recently learned that by exposing seafood to citrus juice (e.g. lemon juice) over a certain period of time it renders it ready to eat 🙂 … add in some of your favorite seasons such as onion, peppers, cilantro…it varies and you’ve got one serious dish.  Considering the abundance of fresh fish here in Panama, well, your intuition can fill in the rest 🙂  This is one of the many vendors, as you can see the Ceviche is in jars in the cart…take your pic:

For a very affordable price, you get quite a delight.  This is the langostino ceviche….can your hear me say ‘RIDICULOUS’…. I mean, ‘DELICIOUS’ 🙂  I also tried the Corvina ceviche…very good as well…

Friday is also Fish Day…fresh off of the Boat!

Don’t make the mistake of getting in between a man and his fish…they have treated me very well since I’ve been here, but don’t let the smoothness fool you…’Jaime’ doesn’t play 🙂

Definitely, one of my favorite places…delicious, the environment is alive, and it is culturally eclectic…

On our way over to the Old City now…that is Casco Viejo….A Must See!

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www.takingownership.org