Because Panama is an international crossroads, a variety of cuisines are available. French, Spanish and American food is available in all restaurants and hotels in Panama City. Native cooking is similar to Creole Cuisine, Hot and spicy. Dishes include ceviche (fish marinated in lime juice, onions and peppers) Patacones de platano (fried plantain) sancocho (Panamanian stew with chicken, meat and vegetables) tamales (seasoned pie wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks) and carimanolas and empanadas (turnovers filled with meat, chicken or cheese) Panamanians have arroz (ah-ROHS) or rice with most of their meals. The eat the rice either plain or add meat and vegetables to eat. They often eat both potatoes and rice at one meal. Panama has an abundance of fish and seafood. Most Panamanians meals also include corn tortillas. Yucca is a commonly served vegetable.
Panamanians love to eat out. And Panama City residents have a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. In addition to restaurants a panadera sells take-out bread and rolls, a pastelera(pas-tell-ay-REE-ah) offers pastries and a cantina(kan-TEE-nah) is a drinking establishment. Panamanians tip there servers about 15% of the bill. Panamanins eat three hearty meals per day. El desayuno(day-sigh-noh) breakfast, el almuerzo(ahl-MWER-sho)Lunch and la cena(SAY-nah) dinner.
Most Panamanians eat a great deal of corn, rice and beans. They also eat tortillas, which are flat breads made from cornmeal. These are filled with meat, beans, and cheese. Black beans are popular in Panama. A popular Panamanian dish is "ceviche". This is made of raw fish or shellfish that has been soaked in lime or lemon juice, olive oil and hot spices. Panamanians like their food spicy. Tamales are made of corn dough. They are filled, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed.
Urban people eat traditional foods as well as a wider variety of international foods. People eat rice with almost every meal. Beans and corn are also common foods. Guacho (GWA-cho) is rice soup with beans. Bollo (BOH-yo) is a boiled corn dish. Tortillas (tor_TEE-yas) also are popular. People make these flat breads from corn or wheat.
Sancocho (sahn-KHO-cho) is Panama' national dish. People make this stew with spicy vegetables and chicken. Panamanians eat a lot of meat and seafood. Guisado (kwee-SA-doh) is a stew with meat and tomatoes. Panamanians sometimes add fish to soup. Panamanian families usually eat together, they have a big breakfast. The main meal with rice, meat and vegetables is in the middle of the day. Families often eat a small meal in the evening.
The typical breakfast is thick deep-fried tortillas, with a white cheese, liver, garlic and onions and fresh rolls or bread. A typical lunch begins with soup followed by chick or steak. Served with a mixture of cooked rice and red kidney beans or pigeon peas. Salad is eaten with the main course. Dinner consists of meat covered with a spicy sauce, rice and a salad. Dessert is usually fruit. Occasionally they indulge in cake, pie or cheesecake. After dinner they enjoy a cup of coffee. The most popular Panamanian dessert is sopa borracha (SOH-pah-bohr-RAH-chah) which is pound cake topped with syrup, rum or brandy, cinnamon raisins and cloves.