Have you been searching for some delicious and reliable recipes to try when travelling around Central or Latin America – read on! Food is a necessity to all of us, but only a passion to some. One of the best parts of travelling is the opportunity of trying and discovering new foods. Some of which were completely unknown to your palate previously – like nopales in Mexico. A cactus leaf used as a staple ingredient in salads and salsas. It took a while to get used to seeing a mound of cactus leaves in the vegetable aisle in the supermarkets.
Whilst travelling you will, no doubt, be trying new delicious flavours in the street, in restaurants or at road side stops. Sometimes and more often than not, you will want to use that kitchen in the hostel. So prepare to start making a list of recipes to cook when travelling. Maybe because you are in a city and eating out is actually pretty expensive (in Latin American terms). That supermarket will start to look more and more appealing if you want to stretch those pesos even further. If you are an organised soul, then you can even cook enough for leftovers for lunch the next day – ideal for long bus rides or days out.
But What Do I Cook?!?!
Of course, sometimes the hardest thing is knowing what to create with the food that is available to you in Latin American supermarkets. So here are some recipes to try when travelling, tried and tested first hand in this area of the world. Some became a go to recipe, some dull and boring and others that gave me intolerances!
1. Bean Chilli and Rice
- Canned beans (black, red, chickpeas)
- Couple fresh tomatoes
- Passata (or some kind of tomato sauce)
- Chilli Powder
Rice is of course a staple ingredient so you will have no trouble finding this in the supermarket. Cooking veggie is sometimes a lot easier and cheaper in Latin America. It depends on how long you are staying in one hostel I suppose. However, you can’t go wrong or accidentally poison yourself with veggies. Save the meat for when you go out and indulge in local delicacies. Carrots are a great addition to this bean chilli, gives some texture amongst the beans. Find some passata and fresh tomatoes if you can for the sauce. Lastly the chilli! Buy a little bag of Aji and use to to your taste. Plus you can easily take it to your next hostel.
2. Refried Beans, Scrambled Eggs and Boiled Potatoes
- Refriend Beans
One for Mexico really due to the refried black beans (one of my favourites) these are just delicious and I need to go back to discover how to cook them myself from scratch. In the meantime, you can buy pre made packets in the supermarket. I know you Mexicans will be cringing in your seats if you read this – I’m sorry! Eggs are easy to find anywhere as are potatoes. Add any type of vegetables if you wish.
3. Porridge Oats
Now this one is debatable for me, I wondered whether to add it or not but sometimes it is hard to find breakfast food if the hostel doesn’t include it. Buy a HUGE tub of porridge oats, cheap, just add milk and flavouring if needed and most importantly they are very transportable. We brought a tub in Belize and they lasted us for about one and a half weeks between two of us. The downside is that I became intolerant to oats, quite badly…
SO! Hence this other breakfast option.
4. Toast, Scrambled Eggs, Avocado and Hot Pepper Sauce.
Oh yes, more eggs. When I first went to Colombia 4 years ago I had the misfortune to be served eggs every morning and after the 10 day trip I was on with work, I didn’t and couldn’t face another egg, even when I got home. However, they are staple ingredient so get used to them!
A fancy breakfast, but a cheap one to make in Central America. Providing you with carbs, protein and them good fats and fibre. Along with a few drops of Belizean hot pepper sauce – oo la la!
5. Rice, Tuna, Sweetcorn and Avocado
This is a great lunch recipe, again including that avocado – using similar ingredients. Perfecting your rice is important when travelling for getting those essential carbs or of course you could just add more vegetables. Tuna is a great source of protein and very easy to find in supermarkets. Add some sweetcorn for that crunch amongst those soft textures of avocado and tuna.
There are countless, well maybe not countless, recipes to try when travelling, it’s all about experimenting and trying new flavours. Take what you try on the street or in restaurants and give it a go yourself. The worst part will be putting up with a hostel’s awful cooking equipment (rather lack of equipment) or not finding any communal olive oil. That open rooftop kitchen you thought was so cute in the morning, isn’t when stormy winds consistently blow out your gas or you may be lucky enough to find a perfectly fitted hostel kitchen – haha dream on!
Plus – if you take Spanish lessons in Central America and decided to go to a homestay too then this is the perfect opportunity to get a true taste of the local food, freshly cooked for you. Some you may love, some you may be happy never to try again.
Enjoy, safe travels