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Below are some of the most enjoyable food we had on our trip. It includes everything from expensive restaurants to street food.

     • North America           • Central America           • South America     


Food in Central America

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Barbacoa de Chivo, Mex Highway 200, (GPS N16 49.178 W99 41.257), Guerrero, [Mexico]

Barbacoa de chivo was a roadside stop on Mexican highway 200 just outside Acapulco. If you like
goat, this is a real treat, specially with consommé. The barbecue is serves as tacos and the consommé comes in a cup to slurp up. A related food, barbacoa de borrega (year old lamb) awaits us but we haven’t tried it yet.

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Los Agachados, Mercado 20 Noviembre, Oaxaca, Oaxaca [Mexico]

“The gates of Hell” in the market 20 Noviembre (opp. Benito Juarez market) where you select your own aged beef, pork or chorizo at the butcher, get it barbecued and served with salads at the grill and source tortillas and drinks from yet another two vendors. Miraculously all this come together as one fabulous meal.

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Alegria de Angelis, Etla, Oaxaca [Mexico]

“Why would you want Italian food in Oaxaca, the city with the “Like Water for Chocolate molés? Its because Alessandro is an Italian from Bologna and can make proper Spaghetti Bolognese if you are hankering for it. But there’s more to it than that. Alessandro and his Korean wife, Gya, run a restaurant outside Oaxaca, in Etla, where they have an organic farm. (They sell these vegetables, along with amazing breads at El Pochote, the organic market in Oaxaca). The site is beautiful, open countryside surrounded by hills, a pond to swim in and a wonderful 4 course Italian meal. Its an experience not to miss.

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Susanna Trilling’s cooking school Etla, Oaxaca [Mexico]

I have an extensive write-up about our experience. Its definitely a food experience.

Tacos de cabeza, Corner of Los Libres and Abasolo, Oaxaca, Oaxaca, [Mexico]

This cart is parked at a street corner and was swamped with people from 9am in the morning till the afternoon. Served with consommé, these tacos were particularly rich. (On a side note, these tacos are particularly well displayed in the town of Tehuantepec, where many such carts line the central plaza; bovine skulls prominently displayed. However they lacked in richness what they made up in display).

La Biznaga, Oaxaca, Oaxaca, [Mexico]

Recommended to us by one of our Spanish teachers as a good place to hang that plays nice music. The setting is in an open courtyard which is really nice in the evenings in a hot climate like that in Oaxaca. The menu is “Oaxacan fusion”. We discovered mezcal from the “Union of Palenqueros” at the Biznaga. And yes, their music selection was interesting.

Blue Marlin, Calle 62 near 57, Merida, [Mexico]

Amazing seafood. Great ceviches and caracoles (conch). There is no nameplate on the restaurant, but it can be recognized by the blue awning. It does have an air-conditioned room next to the counter style dining space, but I prefer the latter. If you like Swan’s Oyster Depot on Polk Street in San Francisco, this is for you.

Epicure deli, 6 Avenida Norte No. 35 – A, Antigua [Guatemala]

Yum – Stay at the Posada La Merced and get rotisserie chicken and fine foods from this deli. You can augment this by chicken cooked in molé that you bought in Oaxaca and have a wonderful candlelight dinner in the company of your co-travelers. (Candles are provided by the hotel).

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Santo Domingo, 3a Calle Oriente No. 28 “A”, Antigua [Guatemala]

A perfectly restored monastery, museum and hotel, Santo Domingo also boasts the best restaurant in Antigua. Food is western fusion and plentiful. Sometimes dishes are a tad complicated and the wine list is a bit lacking, however, it makes for a wonderful ending to a day spent wandering amongst the beautiful ruins.

El Zaquin, behind the cathedral in the main square, Granada, [Nicaragua]

A wonderful grill. We had the ribs which were perfectly cooked. Nice service and a serviceable wine list.

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Flor de Liz, Liberia [Costa Rica]

This restaurant has just opened. It is a family run place and offers quite complex and delicious food, especially for a small town like Liberia. We had involtini (eggplant roled with prosciutto and mozzarella) for starters and for the main course, an especially nice sea bass cooked in garlic and white wine. They also have a decent wine list.

Madame Chang’s, Av. 5A and Calle Uruguay, Panama City [Panama]

An excellent Chinese option in Panama City, specially after days of rice, beans and meat. Our starter was clams in a sherry black bean sauce. Simply amazing. They had used a variety of baby clams that had thin shells with a tiny morsel of delectable flesh within. The main course was a local fish called Robalo, steamed with ginger, green onions and soy sauce. Carved tableside by the waiter, it was perfectly cooked and very fresh. The light seasoning and careful handling suited the light flavor and meaty texture.
The second time we went back it was good but not outstanding – potstickers were ho hum and the crab with ginger and green onions was good but not amazing. It depends a bit on what you order.

Tropical juices, [Central and South America]

Juices made with tropical fruits are amazing and a must try in the tropical countries. It is wonderful to discover new fruit, guayabana, lulo, tomates de arbol, curuva, chiku sapote, mamey, the list goes on. The weirdest (but good) fruit juice we tried was noni in Mexico, which smelt of ripe cheese. Other refreshing drinks are made from rice and maize, definitely worth a try.