We travelled a great deal around Panama during our big trip in Latin America, from Panama City up to Bocas del Toro, and back. Along the way, we tried lots of different Panamanian foods and drinks.
Traditional Panamanian food has strong influences from Africa, Spain and its indigenous Native American population. There is a lot of similarity and overlap with the traditional foods of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, which is not surprising given that they once used to be part of “Gran Colombia“.
We’ve put together some of our favourite Panamanian traditional dishes we discovered during our trip, which we think you need to try to get a real flavour of this fascinating country.
Sancocho de gallina Panameño: the National dish
Sancocho is a delicious, light chicken soup with potatoes, culantro herb (similar to cilantro but stronger in flavour), yuca and plantains. Other ingredients often used include corn on the cob (mazorca), ñampi (a tropical root vegetable), hot sauce, chopped onions, garlic and oregano. The traditional recipe of sancocho is from the Azuero region, but other regions have their own variations. Due to the varied ingredients used to make a sancocho, it is often used as a metaphor for Panama’s racial diversity, showing that each part has just an important and equally important role to play in the preparation of this very yummy dish. As such it is considered the national dish of Panama.