Calling all foodies. More travellers are picking their holiday spots based on gastronomy than ever before. Latin America boasts some of the world’s culinary capitals, such as Lima. The Peruvian capital is at the epicentre of Peru’s thriving food scene. Whether it’s the diverse landscapes or the varied people and cultures, Latin America is doing something right when it comes to cuisine. If you don’t know your completo from your choripan, you’ve come to the right place. From years of Latin American food exploration, we’ve compiled a handy list of the gastronomic hotspots.
Mexico City, Mexico
While Oaxaca is often tipped as the centre of Mexico’s most complex food, they’re pipped to the post by the metropolis of Mexico City. Its streets are brimming with foods from all corners of this magnificent country. The sights and smells are almost intoxicating and can’t fail to get you salivating. While not all street food is equal, it’s hard to find one that’s bad. Grab a pew at any humble taco stand and tuck into tortillas topped with juicy grilled meat, queso blanco and spicy salsas. If you’ve got an accompanying cold beer, all the better.
When you look around online, you’ll find eager bloggers waxing lyrical about Cartagena’s colourful streets and people, and it’s true that this coastal city is a little gem. However, few mention how good the food is here. It’s teeming with good restaurants serving up fresh seafood and cafes knocking out humble (but delicious fare), but it’s the street food where the city really shines. Wander into almost any plaza or cobbled street and you’ll find vendors plying everything from cornbread arepas and grilled meats over coal to Colombia-style ceviche.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazilian food is fusion food, a lip-smacking blend of Italian, African and indigenous. Expert hearty stews, pasta dishes, seafood soups and crispy salgados. Rio’s Carioca’s know how to live the good life, with weekends spent on the sun-drenched sand, cooling off in the ocean and pauses to munch on tasty treats. Try one of the waterfront restaurants, bag a cheap street food snack or indulge in some fine dining. The Marvellous City has got you covered. For a healthy start sample exotic tropical fruits, fresh or blended into a ‘vitamina’ (smoothie).
Lima has carved out a spot as one of the gastronomy centres of Latin America. No small part down to 9 entries in the 50 Best Restaurants. It’s not all fine dining and innovative gastronomy. At its heart is the humble fare which helped inspire its more lavish counterparts. The food has influences coming from Asia, Europe and the Moors, and its ancient civilizations. Together a bounty of fine produce coming from the mountains, desert coast and rainforest. No wonder that it’s achieved global recognition today.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Another culinary heavyweight, the capital of Argentina has got an impressive list of entries in the 50 Best. As you enjoy the food, you’ll taste its Italian roots – rich pasta dishes, breaded milanesa and long list of creamy cheeses. Yet the undisputed champion of Argentine cuisine is beef and they know how to cook it. Forget vegetables or dainty salads, slabs of the best beef on the continent char-grilled are the order of the day. Breakfasts are also a treat, with buttery pastries washed down with plenty of milky coffee.
São Paulo, Brazil
Sao Paulo is still crowned as Brazil’s top foodie hotspot. In part due to the successful restaurants like Alex Atala’s D.O.M. He uses Amazonian ingredients to produce new dishes. Italian immigrants also brought European techniques which rubbed off with today’s Brazilian cuisine. With the highest population of Japanese of any city outside Tokyo, good sushi is not hard to find.
Are you ready to explore Latin America’s culinary heavyweights? Want to head off with our guides to discover the best hidden street eats or let us book you an exclusive table in one of the capital’s top restaurants? Get in touch with one of our Latin America experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.