What Dish Defines Your Latin Heritage?

What Dish Defines Your Latin Heritage?

From dinners to desserts, we explore iconic Latin dishes. Share your favorite with us!

We want to hear from you about what you consider the iconic, definitive dish from your country! Let us know in the comments.

We all know that food is an important element in every family event. It defines who we are – our land, our values, our culture and our beliefs. Whether we come from Colombia, Mexico, Cuba or Peru, the ritual of sharing a meal is a blend of love, warmth and commitment.

The dishes we know and love have evolved throughout our collective history as Latinas. And it is through our food that we can even trace back the history of our ancestors.

Olives, raisins and spices such as cumin or cinnamon show the rich Arabian influence in Spain, which then was transplanted into the Americas. And local native Latin ingredients – such as corn, peppers, tomatoes and various herbs – were combined with those brought from Spain and Africa to create those delicacies we so love and enjoy.

The Flavors we Share
From the spicy Mexican dishes to the rich Argentine beef, each Latino country has its own style. But we also have flavors that represent us all as a shared culture.


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We have white rice and beans in almost all territories. A common staple for most Hispanics is the ancient tradition of putting assorted meats and vegetables in a large pot and letting it boil for hours. In some regions it’s called sancochado; other people know it as puchero; and there are those who enjoy it as sancocho. Many dishes include corn-based sides such as arepas, tacos, tortillas and pupusas – and we share a variety of sauces such as guacamole, mole, pico de gallo and chimichurri. These mixtures are the ones that give Latino food its unique flavor.

Our Sweet Tooth
Many historians believe that most desserts and pastries we know have some kind of Arabian origins – hence the use of figs, raisins, milk and honey. We often associate these desserts with fond memories from our own childhood. If your family is like mine, you may remember abuela in the kitchen and the characteristic aroma invading the whole house. She was making arroz con leche or alfajores, and we knew we were in for a treat.

Latino Tastes around the World
In the last few decades, Latino cuisine has become popular in many countries, especially in the U.S. It is always fun to find an authentic local restaurant that represents our culinary culture and can take us back to our roots.

We can easily sample hearty tacos, toasty arepas or even different types of ceviche close to home. Our Latin heritage has carved such a deep niche in our modern world that you can see American families having tacos for lunch at home, ordering flan for takeout or trying quinoa for the first time. The same happens with modern fusion cuisine – which takes in elements from Latin roots and experiments with exciting flavors, textures and colors.

In this one world full of deliciousness, let us know what dish defines your Latin heritage!

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It's great to continue family traditions through food!

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I am not from a Latino country but we all share dishes that have many similarities but are unique to our culture and families. I come from the Deep South of the United States. My family has always eaten white rice and beans although our beans are dried black eyed peas or dried Lima beans. We eat the rice and beans with cornbread, chopped onion, or hot sauce or hot pepper jelly. Sometimes we also consumed pear relish with the dish.

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