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Category Archives: Food & Drink

A guide to Uruguayan Food

The culinary delights of Uruguay have enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in recent years. Like Argentina, the Uruguayan diet is meat heavy making it a little tricky for vegetarians, but a food paradise for carnivores. Here’s our rundown of the best things to eat during your visit.

Asado

Let’s start with the most famous and most popular. The asado is essentially a barbecue, but will be unlike any you’ve known back at home. Huge cuts of beef, pork and lamb along with sausages and offal are slow cooked over huge charcoal parrillas. Best washed down with plenty of Uruguayan red. Visiting Uruguay without trying an asado is unthinkable.

Asado con cuero

Similar to a normal asado, the only variation being the whole animal, skin and all, is cooked over the flames. Typically, a cow or sheep, the body is spread eagle and then slow cooked for hours. The sheer space required to cook this means you’re more likely to find it in the countryside than the city.

Choripán

Choripán is a favourite of ours. This spicy chorizo sausage is cooked over charcoal and usually served in a bread with lashings of chimichurri sauce. Often one of the first things to come off an asado barbecue.

Empanada

There is nothing quite as iconic as the empanada. Almost every Latin American country has their own variety and Uruguay is no different. Typically filled with minced beef and cheese, these crispy baked pastry morsels are delicious. Just remember to order more than one! For something a little different, try the empanadas Gallegas, a fishy version packed with tuna and peppers.

Morcilla dulce

Black pudding, boiled pork blood sausage, tends to divide people. Some love the earthy flavour and texture, others can’t stand the stuff. In Uruguay, their morcilla comes with added raisons and nuts to give it a slightly sweeter taste than other versions.

Milanesa

A popular dish all over Latin America with roots firmly in Italy. Beef or chicken is flattened before being breaded and fried until golden brown. For something more luxurious, go for a milanesa rellena which includes melted cheese and ham.

Ñoquis

Flickr: Vince Alongi

Also known as gnocchi, this potato based pasta from Italy has long been eaten on the 29th of every month in Uruguay when the average worker gets paid. You can’t beat a bowl of homemade gnocchi which sometimes has a coin or note placed below it which is supposed to attract prosperity.

Pancho

Flickr: Rix Arg

Take a frankfurter and place between a bun called a pan de viena. Add plenty of condiments, and you’ve got the South American version of a hot dog. Great at the end of a heavy night to help soak up the booze.

Pizza por metro

Flickr: Simon Law

Literally meaning ‘pizza by the metre’, here it’s sold in rectangles not circles. Usually cooked in a big wood fired clay oven, you can choose the ingredients you want it topped with.

Dulce de Leche

While not a dessert itself, it’s used in any manner of ways from spreading on toast to eating with your morning medialunas pastries. You won’t go far in Uruguay without seeing sweet, caramel-like dulce de leche.

Alfajores

Like Argentina, Uruguay have somewhat of an obsession with these short bread biscuits filled with sticky dulce de leche. We can see why. They are as delicious as they sound and best eaten with a strong black coffee.

Churros

These long star-shaped cylinders of fried dough covered in icing sugar have their origins in Spain, but they are just as popular in Uruguay. Look out for vendors setting up on street corners in the early evening and buy them as soon as they’ve come out the fryer.

Arroz con leche

Delicious, creamy rice pudding. Who wouldn’t like it.

Bizcochos

Usually served for breakfast, these little pastries of different sizes and shapes are eaten in the morning with strong black coffee. They can come as either sweet or savory, both of which are delicious.

Grappamiel

The national drink of Uruguay, grappamiel is made from distilled spirit mixed with honey. It’s strong, so be careful when you’re drinking it.

Mate

Flickr: kweez mcG

Like the gauchos in Argentina, the yerba herbal drink of mate is consumed in the sort of quantities the British drink tea. Many Uruguyan’s can be seen headed to work carrying a thermos flask of hot water and mate cups.

Want to try the food of Uruguay? Start planning your trip to the country today by calling one of our experts on +44 (0) 207 1478 or email us here.

What to eat in Nicaragua

Flickr: Adam Cohn

Nicaragua is fast becoming to hottest destination in Latin America. The Central American country is flanked on both sides by the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans, and is known for its dramatic landscapes of towering smoky volcanoes, golden sand beaches, and glistening lakes. It also has a rich history, and glorious Spanish colonial architecture, particularly in the southern city of Granada. We’ve just launched the country as a new destination, so to celebrate we’ll be publishing a series of articles on the culture and history. Most are unsure about what Nicaraguan food is all about, so here’s a typical day in food.

Breakfast in Nicaragua

Flickr: hollykathryn

Breakfast in Nicaragua is a hearty affair. Typically, gallo pinto is the stable breakfast dish found in very restaurant across the land. Translating to ‘spotted roster’, gallo pinto is simply rice and beans cooked with fried onions and garlic. On the Caribbean coast, the rice is cooked in coconut milk. It’s served with fried or scrambled eggs, and sometimes comes with Nicaraguan cheese, fried plantain, and tortillas. On Sundays, be sure to try nacatamales, traditional cornmeal tamales wrapped in banana leaves and filled with pork, rice, and vegetables. They are usually found being sold from people’s homes. If you’re staying in a hotel or you visit an upmarket restaurant, your breakfast will usually come with plenty of exotic fresh fruit and juices. Wash everything down with plenty of Nicaraguan black coffee.

Lunch in Nicaragua

Nicaraguans take the time for a big lunch, and there are plenty of dishes to choose from. If you’re near the coast or Lake Ometepe, try the guapote, deep fried while fish covered in mango, tomatoes, and lime. Alternatively, try vigorón, shredded cabbage mixed with tomatoes, onions, chilis, vinegar, and salt. This is topped with boiled yuca and chicharones (fried pork belly). Corn is another stable in Nicaragua, so if you’re looking for something light for lunch, try the grilled corn on the cob sold from vendors on every street corner, delicious covered with lime salt. Quesadillas, tortillas stuffed with cheese, are also popular street snacks.

Dinner in Nicaragua

In the evening try indio viejo, a mouth watering stew of meat, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and mint. Usually mobbed up with plenty of warm tortillas. Sopa de mondongo is a hearty soup made from cow tripe, onions, achiote chilies, ayote, garlic, yucca, and sour oranges. Even if you aren’t a fan of tripe (stomach lining), give this a go. It might just change your mind. Wash all this down with cold cervezas. Try the local Nicaraguan Tona or La Victoria Bufalo, both of which are excellent. Alternatively, el macua is a popular cocktail made from rum, lemon juice, guavas, and sugar. A must try for an visit to the country. Before you go to bed, try a pinolillo, a hot chocolate drink made from toasted corn, cacao power, milk, sugar, and spiced with cinnamon and cloves.

Would you like to try the food in Nicaragua? To start planning your trip to the country, take a look at our Nicaraguan suggested tours, call one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478, or email us here.

A guide to the best street food in Colombia

The best food of a country often comes from the streets. We’ve never quite worked out why, but perhaps it’s the vendors dedication to cooking just one or several things really, really well. While restaurants require a full menu, street vendors can put all their efforts in doing the best arepas or the best empanadas. It’s also cheap. With few overheads, and relatively humble dishes, the food is always inexpensive to produce. Are you planning a visit to Colombia? Hit the streets and find some of the Colombia’s best food.

Arepas

Flickr: lesleyk

Arepas are found on street corners across the land. To say they are popular is an understatement. Considered part of the cultural heritage of Colombia, these little street snacks are made up maize discs filled with indregdients like melting cheese, avocado and meat. There are even sweet arepas which work well for breakfast in hot chocolate.

Corn

Corn is a stable in South America and has been eaten there for thousands of years. It can be bought simply barbecued over hot coals. Alternatively, corn is cut off the cob and mixed with cheese, meat and salad, a less filling meal that most Colombian dishes. Be sure to look out for mazorca desgranada.

Almojabana

Almojábanas are round rolls made from cheese and corn.  They’re simple but filling and best eaten straight out of the oven in the early morning washed down with Colombian coffee.

Plantain chips

Flickr: Ben Ward

Plantain is seriously popular across the Americans. In Colombia, they’re cut thinly and deep fried until sweet and golden. Look out for little mobile vendors selling this across the Bogota and Cartegana. Though fried in oil, they are actually really nutrious. The perfect little snack to eat on the go.

Salchipapa

Flickr: Gary Stevens

The original ‘drunkies’, salchipapa is the simply amalgamation of sausages (usually of the frankfurter variety) and potatoes doses in sauce. What could be better to soak up the booze after a cold cerveza or two.

Churros

Flickr: Karl Baron

It may be the Spanish who are famous for the churros, but Colombia do it just as well. Dough is piped into hot oil and fried until golden. Unlike the Spanish who eat them with hot chocolate in the morning, Colombians prefer them dosed in arequipe and condensed milk. The perfect way to finish a street food meal.

Fruit

Colombia has a wealth of exotic fruits. Some make it into smoothies, but most just eat it as it is. Vendors piled high with sweet pineapples, papayas, starfruits, custard apples, guavas, passion fruit, melons and much more. Look out for vendors selling refreshing fresh coconut water.

Obleas

Those with a sweet tooth should look out for oblea. Jam, whipped cream, arequipa and fruit are sandwiched between two thin circular wafers and devoured right away. Best eaten on a sunny day.

Empanadas

Empanadas need no introduction. Eaten throughout Latin America, this iconic street food snack is particularly good in Colombia. The name comes from empanar, the Spanish verb for wrapping something in bread. Dough, sometimes made from corn, is filled with meat, cheese and sometimes vegetables before being fried or baked into a mouthwatering morsel.

Perros calientes

Hot dog lovers should rejoice. Perros calientes are popular throughout Colombia. Like a Chilean completo topped with cheese, fries, avocado and plenty of sauce. Not something to eat on a date, there’s no way of gorging on one of these politely.

Bollos

Like much of Latin America, Colombia has its own version of tamales known as bollos. Best eaten in Cartegena for breakfast, bollos are boiled hominy or yucca, sometimes including other treats like small pieces of chicken or boiled eggs. Be sure to get them hot when they taste best.

Chicharrón

Flickr: James

If you’re on a diet, this may not be for you. For everyone else, chicharron is one of the tastiest things you can eat on the streets of Colombia. Pork belly is deep fried until crisp and sometimes served with a spicy salsa dip. It makes up the national dish, bandeja paisa, an enormous plate of chicharron, chorizo, steak, eggs and beans – aka the gut buster.

Bocadillo

Bocadillo is a sweet paste made from guava. It’s best eaten with crumbly white Colombian cheese, one of the most perfect combinations.

Ceviche

Don’t be put off street seafood. Along the coast, the seafood is incredibly fresh. It’s quite different from its Peruvian counterpart. Colombian ceviche is similar to a shrimp cocktail – raw seafood marinated in lime juice, tomato sauce, onion and garlic.

Want to try the street food of Colombia? Take a look at our suggested Colombia tours, call one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or send us a message here.

10 things you should eat in Belize

Flickr: regan76

Flickr: regan76

Belizean cuisine has not quite made it (yet!) onto the international food scene. This is surprising. Belizean food is a fusion of Caribbean, Spanish, Mexican, African, and native Mayan. Along the coast and on the islands, be sure to steer towards the catch of the day. In land, mouth-watering chicken and beef stews thick with dark spices are common in most restaurants. Here’s 10 dishes you simply can’t leave Belize without trying.

Salbutes

Flickr: Krista

Flickr: Krista

A seriously popular street food, these tasty little morsels are made with fried tortillas packed with cabbage, tomatoes, avocados and chicken. Depending on how spicy you like your food, try topping with plenty of Marie Sharp’s pepper sauce (you’ll see it on every table in the country).

Grilled lobster

Flickr: A Cromwell

Flickr: A Cromwell

The importance of lobster to Belize’s economy cannot be overstated. In season, spiny lobsters (a smaller cousin to the Atlantic lobster found off Canada and the US), are in abundance. Along the shores of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, lobsters can be seen grilling on drum barbecues and are seriously good value. Grab a cold beer, stick your feet in the sand and tuck into a lobster covered in lemon garlic butter. Bliss. For the last ten years, the San Pedro Lobster Festival on Ambergris Caye kicks off lobster season and has been voted Belize’s best festival.

Boil ups

Flickr: Bernt Rostad

Flickr: Bernt Rostad

Boil ups are exactly what they say they are. Everything the cook has in from vegetables, fish, eggs and more are thrown into boiling chicken stock and served with bread dumplings. Simple, but really, really good.

Cochinita pibil

Flickr: Noonch

Flickr: Noonch

This ancient dish hasn’t changed much since the Mayans created it over a thousand years ago. Found on restaurant menus throughout the country, it’s made from marinated, slow-cooked pork and served with corn tortillas.

Fry jacks

Thiese puffed-up dough balls resemble something like a doughnut, albeit they are usually served as a savoury accompaniment to eggs and refried beans in the morning. Be sure to look out for stands selling stuffed fried jacks. These pockets of crispy good stuff are filled with everything from chicken, cheese, ham, eggs and beans, and at around US$2 make for a good value and filling breakfast.

Conch fritters

Flickr: Steve Grant

Flickr: Steve Grant

Another coastal favourite. Conch is roughly chopped and mixed with flour, pepper, onion, garlic, Habanero peppers. It’s then formed into little patties and fried until golden brown. Best eaten with Belize’s famous hot sauce.

Ceviche

Flickr: regan76

Flickr: regan76

Ceviche may be from Peru, but the Belizeans have taken it as their own. It also differs from its Peruvian counterpart. Almost like a chunky salsa – tomatoes, onions, sliced cucumber, coriander, lime juice and habanero peppers are mixed with par-boiled conch, shrimp, octopus or white fish, cooled and served with nachos. Though it can be found inland, it’s obviously best eaten near the sea on a sunny afternoon.

Johnny cakes

Flickr: stevemonty

Flickr: stevemonty

Johnny cakes are a stable of Belizean cuisine. These small savoury baked bread cakes made from flour and coconut milk are cut in half and filled with beans, eggs and cheese for breakfast. For a more filling lunch, try adding some chicken or beef. Though they are best eaten right out of the oven, they do last for several days giving them their other name, ‘Journey Cakes’.

Grilled fish

Flickr: Narisa

Flickr: Narisa

Belizeans know how to cook fish. It would be impossible to name every grilled fish eaten in Belize. Some to look out for include barracuda, snapper, grouper and lion fish. Depending on size, it’s usually served whole and accompanied by coleslaw, veg and rice and beans. On Caye Caulker, try Maggies, a tiny home restaurant near the northern Split.

Chimole

Chimole is also known as ‘Black Dinner’ due to its dark appearance. It’s a common homemade chicken stew made using spices and some black achiote paste.  It’s usually served with tortillas and boiled eggs.

Meat pies

Wiki: Alpha

Wiki: Alpha

Meat pies are a throwback to when Belize was a British colony. Light flaky pastry is filled with minced beef and gravy. Most top it with some of Belize’s famous hot sauce. They’re perfectly sized for mid-meal snack and can often be found on the carts of mobile street vendors.

Tamales

Flickr: ohocheese

Flickr: ohocheese

Tamales differ somewhat from their Mexican counterparts. Here, plantain leaves are used instead of traditional corn husks. Recipes vary depending on what part of the country you’re in, but are often served with cull, a thick gravy made from chicken stock. Mostly found inland, though they are occasionally found on the islands.

Want to try Belize food for real? Get in touch with our Belize travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans or see our example tours here.

Authentic Mexican carne asado taco recipe

Tacos are synonymous with Mexico. This classic recipe for carne asado (barbequed meat) tacos is one of the best we’ve tried. Cold Corona beer works perfectly as an accompaniment to this spicy street food.

Ingredients:

10 tortillas
500g skirt steak, cut into thin slices
4 chilies, chopped finely
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp ground cloves
Oil
3 tomatoes
2 large onion, chopped finely
2 handful of coriander, chopped finely
4 limes, 3 cut into wedges and 1 juiced
Oil
Seasoning to taste

Method:

Take a blender and add 2 of the chopped chilies, 2 chopped garlic, vinegar, ½ of the chopped onions, 1 teaspoon of cumin, the ground cloves, seasoning and a little olive oil to bind everything together. Blend into a paste.

Put the steak slices into a mixing bowl and add the blended paste. Mix well together, cover with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Put the tomatoes, ½ chopped onion, 2 of the chopped chilies, the rest of the garlic, 1 teaspoon of cumin, a handful of coriander, juiced lime, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and seasoning. Mix well together, cover in cling film and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.

If possible, spark up the barbeque. Once the coals have greyed, place the slices of steak on and cook for a couple of minutes on both sides. If you don’t have a barbeque, heat a griddle pan to a high heat and cook the steak for a few minutes on both sides.

Heat a frying pan and heat each tortilla until warm. To serve, put a tortilla on a plate, top with some of the steak, coriander, some chopped white onion and a little of the sauce. Squeeze some lime juice and serve with extra lima wedges.

Want to try carne asado tacos in Mexico? Get in touch with our Mexico travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans or see our example tours here.

Brazilian condensed milk cake (bolo de leite condensado) recipe

Cake is big in Brazil. It’s can be eaten throughout the day, even at breakfast. This Brazilian condensed milk cake is light, moist, fluffy and the perfect accompaniment to a coffee. With few ingredients, it’s simple to make and can easily be adapted with nuts, lemon, chocolate, coconut and fruit to make a more complex cake. Typically, the cake is baked in a circular or ringed baking tray, but if you don’t have one, any loaf tin will do.

Ingredients:

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
400ml full fat milk
50ml butter
250g plain flour
125g white sugar
1tbs baking powder
Icing sugar for dusting
Lemon zest
Salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Beat the eggs and sugar until they form a paste. Melt the butter for a few seconds in the microwave until soft. Beat the butter into the eggs and sugar. Add the condensed milk and full fat milk and beat. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and then mix into a smooth batter. Zest a whole lemon and add to the mixture.

Take a round cake tin and rub all over with butter. Pour the batter into the tin and place into the oven for around 45 minutes. To ensure the cake is cooked, put a small knife or skewer into the cake which should come out clean. The top should golden brown and to have risen. Leave the cake to cool in the tin and then remove and leave on a metal rack. Once cooled, dust with icing sugar all over. The cake should keep for 5 days in a sealed tin.

To eat the cake in Brazil, contact one of our travel experts on +(0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

7 Latin American cocktails you have to try

Latin American food, particularly Peruvian is having its time in the limelight. The rich ingredients from the Andes and Amazon are the dream of chefs worldwide. Those ingredients also make excellent cocktails. Here’s a list of some old classics, along with some you may not have heard of before.

Pisco Sour, Peru

Let’s start with the classic. The Pisco sour is the national drink of both Chile and Peru, and the its origins are hotly contested. The recipe differs slightly between the two countries, but as most believe it was invented in the 1920s by an American bartender in Lima, we’ll stick with the Peruvian recipe. This recipe was well known and liked by Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles.

Ingredients:

1 egg white
70ml Pisco
20ml sugar syrup
25ml lemon juice

Method:

Place all the liquids into a cocktail shaker and mix vigorously into a foam begins to appear on top.  Pour into a low-ball glass and garnish with a slice on lime.

Canelazo, Ecuador

Flickr: fabulousfabs

Flickr: fabulousfabs

This traditional Ecuadorian cocktail is also popular in Colombia and uses a local firewater called aguardiente. It’s an unusual cocktail as it’s served hot to stay warm in the cold Andes. Typically, its served around Christmas, but there’s no reason not to try making this drink anytime during the winter season. For a little fruitiness, add some orange or lemon slices.

Ingredients:

200ml water
1 cinnamon stick
50ml sugar
30ml aguardiente

Method:

Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and heat on a low heat for around 10 minutes. Ensure that the liquid doesn’t boil and that the sugar is totally dissolved. Serve in a glass mug and garnish with a little orange slice.

Michelada, Mexico

Flickr: calitexican

Flickr: calitexican

This seriously refreshing cocktail mixes one of Mexico’s most popular ingredients, the chilli, with beer and tomato juice to form something like a Bloody Mary. The name originates from the phrase mi chela helada, literally translating to my cold beer. Mexicans drink michelada in the morning to cure hangovers.

Ingredients:

100ml light beer, cold
100ml tomato juice
20ml lime juice
Hot sauce
Soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Salt

Method:

Pour a little water into a small dish and salt into a second dish. Turn over a high ball glass, and dip the rim first into the water and then the salt. Carefully pour the tomato juice into the glass. Add the lime juice, and a dash of soy sauce, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Top up with cold beer and ice. Stir gently and serve garnished with a slice of lime.

Jote, Chile

Flickr: Kok Chih

Flickr: Kok Chih

While this might sound revolting, give it a try – it’s surprisingly delicious. A combination of red wine and coca cola, the name jote comes from a breed of vulture that lives in the Chilean Andes and has black and red feathers. There is no need to use expensive red wine for this cocktail.

Ingredients:

150ml red wine
150ml coca cola

Method:

Simply mix the two drinks in a high ball glass along with plenty of ice and a slice of orange.

Piña Colada, Puerto Rico

Flickr: Elsie Hui

Flickr: Elsie Hui

An iconic cocktail and one whose origins are also contested. Many different versions exist and plenty of bars and restaurants claim to have invented the cocktail. Most believe its origins lie at the luxury Caribe Hilton where it was invented by bartender Ramon Marrero Perez. In Puerto Rico, 10th July is National Piña Colada day. The coconut cream adds a beautiful luxurious finish to this delicious drink.

Ingredients:

70ml light rum
50ml coconut cream
50ml pineapple juice
1tsp sugar
Handful of ice
Pineapple chunks

Method:

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a slinger glass and garnish with some pineapple chunks.

Cuba Libre, Cuba

Flickr: Jon B

Flickr: Jon B

The Cuba Libre (Free Cuba) was invented during the Spanish-American War in the early part of the 20th century. Legend says that Captain Russell walked into a bar and ordered a glass of rum with lime. Being thirsty, he separately ordered a coke with ice and mixed the two together. The drink was so good he ordered a round for his troops and toasted to free Cuba.

Ingredients:

70ml light rum
140ml coca cola
½ lime juice

Method:

Simply mix the rum, coke and lime juice together in a tumbler along with plenty of ice. Garnish with a couple of lime wedges and serve.

Caipirinha, Brazil

We simply can’t do a list of Latin American cocktails without mentioning Brazil’s Caipirinha. Its main ingredient is cachaça, a liquor made from sugar cane. The drink was invented in the early 20th century and included garlic and honey to cure Spanish Flu. Those ingredients were later removed and the drink became a popular cocktail.

Ingredients:

70ml cachaça
1 lime, cut into wedges
1tsb sugar
Ice

Method:

Add the limes to a high-ball glass and used a muddle to pound. Add the sugar, rum and plenty of ice. Garnish with a slice of lime.

To try any of these cocktails in Latin America, contact one of our travel experts on +(0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

Brazilian acarajé recipe

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Flickr: ManoelNetto

These fried pea balls are commonly found on the streets of Brazil’s northern Bahia state. They are also used in religious offerings to the gods in the Candomblé religion. Though these are now thought of as typically Brazilian, they dish was brought by the slaves of West Africa. Still to these day, similar snacks are found in Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Gambia, Togo and Sierra Leone.

Serves: 20 acarajé
Time: 1 hour
Ingredients

Acarajé balls

½ kg onions
½ kg black eyed peas, drained from can
Vegetable oil for frying
Seasoning

Filling

100g cashews
100g peanuts
1 large onion, finely chopped
250g dried prawns
½ kg bread, day old stale bread works best
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 thumb of ginger, finely chopped
1 ltr coconut milk
1 tomato, chopped
1 handful of coriander, finely chopped
Vegetable oil
Seasoning

Method

Take the dried shrimps and soak them in water.

Add the peas, onions and seasoning and blend into a rough paste. Remove and set aside.

Add the shrimps to the blender along with the nuts and bread and wizz for a minute or so.

Heat a little oil in a saucepan and cook off the ginger, garlic, onions until soft, usually around five minutes or so. Add the rest of the ingredient except the coriander and cook for about half an hour, seasoning to taste. At the end, mix in the chopped coriander.

Take a very large saucepan (or turn on a fryer if you have one) and heat oil. Take the pea and onion mix and form into balls. Drop these into the hot oil in batches, cooking for about 5 minutes. Once they are golden brown, remove from the oil and lay on kitchen towel to soak up excess grease and cool a little.

Cut across the centre of each cooked ball and fill with the vatapá mix, some extra chopped tomatoes, some spicy sauce if you have it and coriander. Serve immediately.

How to experience Latin America in London

The Latin American community in London is thriving with an estimating population of around 200,000. This has created a wealth of Latin American culture, food and music in the capital. Don’t have the budget to travel to Latin America? Want a taste of Latin American culture before you travel? Yearning for an empanada or caiprinha? Here’s the best places to experience Latin America without having to travel.

Food & Drink

Ceviche

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Peruvian cuisine has been hailed as one of the world’s finest and there aren’t many places that do it better than Martin Morales’ Ceviche in Soho. Unsurprisingly, this tiny restaurant in the West End serves up some of the best ceviche (white fish marinated in citrus juice) and does a mean pisco sour. Find out more here.

La Bodeguita

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In the heart of the Latin American community in South London lies La Bodeguita in the Elephant & Castle shopping centre. The large restaurant creates simple and hearty Colombian fare. Not a place to vegetarians, the meat heavy menu is often accompanied by Latin American music and cold beer. Find out more here.

Gaucho

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Nowhere in London quite encompasses the food of Latin America quite like Gaucho. This small chain knows how to source, choose and cook a steak and serves it with a range of Latin American crowd pleasers: empanadas, cheesy breads and dulce de leche pancakes. Find out more here.

Tequila Fest

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Tequila is perhaps Latin American’s most iconic drink and is growing in popularity in the UK. While most will remember shots of cheap tequila, some will be unaware of the staggering variety of artisan tequilas and mezcals. The Truman Brewery in the East End’s Brick Lane hosts Tequila Fest where plenty of them can be tried along with mouthwatering Mexican food. Find out more here.

Film & Theatre

London Latin American Film Festival

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Now in its 26th year, this independent film festival was founded by Eva Tarr-Kirkhope and her late husband Tony Kirkhope with the aim of opening up Latin American culture to the capital. Eva kindly covers the cost of the festival meaning screenings are completely free. Find out more here.

CASA Latin American Theatre

CASA Latin American Theatre Festival was created in 2007 by Daniel Goldman as a place to showcase Latin American cinema, music, visual arts and literature. Their mission is to engage with the Latin American community through theatre and nurture and support Latin American theatre artists. Find out more here.

Online shopping

Cool Chile

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Love to cook Mexican food? There is not better importer than Cool Chile. Started back in 1993 by Dodie Miller, Cool Chile offers a spectacular array of products direct from Mexico including dried chillies, herbs, masa harina, cacao nibs, achiote and mole. Find out more here.

La Casa de Jack

Europe’s largest importer and distributor of South American chilled and frozen foods and beverages since 2001. Shoppers can buy just about anything Latin America including exotic fruits, pastries and groceries. They also own La Chatica Café in Elephant & Castle. Find out more here.

Music

Cubano

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Nestled down behind Waterloo Station in South London, Cubano is a thriving little Latin American bar serving up sounds of Cuba and Latin America. Throughout the week, the bar hosts live Colombian bands, Argentine guitarists, Cuban salsa and DJs. The bar knows how to make excellent Cuba Libres. Find out more here.

Barrio Soho

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Using Latin American culture as inspiration, Barrio Soho has been influenced by a variety of cities throughout the continent. Throughout the week, Barrio Soho hosts a variety of Latin American DJs and live music events. Try the Roots Brazil night for excellent Brazilian music, food and cocktails. Find out more here.

Culture

Latinos in London

Latinos in London has been one of London’s premier event listing sources since its inception in 2006. Covering everything  Latin American including entertainment, music, culture, film, literature, education, politics, gastronomy, community & employment. Find out more here.

¡Vamos!

¡Vamos! is one of the best places to discover Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese events in the capital. With detailed listings of exhibitions, films, nightlife, festivals and restaurants throughout London. Particularly good for summer listings. Look out for the ¡Vamos! pocket guide, available for free in Latin venues. Find out more here.

Culture

Canning House

Canning House celebrates Latin American and works tirelessly to promote awareness of the languages, culture and history of Lain America, Spain and Portugal in London. Throughout the year the institution offers a series of lectures by historians, writers and cultural figures as well as language courses. There are membership options available.

To start planning your tour to Latin America get in touch with one of our specialists on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or send us an email here. Take a look at our tour suggestions here.

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