South America is known to have cuisines and foods that define their culture with each region having created their own traditional and native dishes. The invasion of Europeans in the early times paved the way for adaptation and modification of traditional South American traditional cooking techniques to the European style.
Despite the invasion of other nations, South Americans have preserved most of their culinary culture with their traditional snacks and street foods which eventually became popular all over the world. Even without the incorporation of European-style cooking, local favorites where introduced and gained popularity in big cities that also lead to serving of local treats on trendy restaurants and high end diners all over the region. North Americans also became fans to local Native American foods. Latin flavors were fused with global trends to create more delicate and delicious cuisines.
South America is also known for having a big number of street food vendors, having one in each street corner in the region. While some are brought to other regions and countries, here you can find the most traditional Native American treats you’ll ever find in the neighboring nations.
Colombian Arepa. Also known as the South American corn cake, this native pancake-like bread is stuffed with different kinds of meat or vegetable, depending on the region. Arepa’s dough is made of ground corn, salt, and water and with a wide variety of fillings to choose from. This is a popular dish not only in Colombia but also in Venezuela wherein restaurants already made Arepa a part of their menus. In Colombia, they are made more bite-sized and are topped with cheese or spread with butter. Sometimes they are stuffed with an egg and deep fried.
Brazilian Acaraje. Also found in Nigeria, this Brazilian Black-eyed Pea fritter is a popular snack in this City, especially for the beach bums. This little fritter is usually served, split in half, and then filled with spicy pastes made from shrimp, cashew nuts, and palm oil. The traditional ingredient in Acaraje is dried shrimp but because of its strong flavor, they came up with a mild version of the filling by using fresh shrimp and caramelized onions as alternatives.
Mexican Quesadillas. Often compared to Tacos, quesadillas are being ventured in the street food world but remain a staple local appetizer in restaurants and other places. This very cheesy dish is a perfect quick grab for those who are hyperactive (like me), making life easy and simple. Quesadillas are cooked on a comal (traditional cookware for making tortillas in South America), while the fried ones keep the outer texture golden and crispy. Normally stuffed with cheese, cooked meat, vegetables, and oh yes, more cheese; they are also becoming a trend for the health buffs, substituting chicken for the typical local cooked meat.
Salvadorian Pupusa. This traditional Salvadorian dish is similar to South America’s Arepa, the only difference is while Arepa is made out of ordinary corn dough, Pupusa uses nixtamal, a corn dough that undergoes a preparation process called nixtamilization (a process that involves an alkaline solution) before cooking. This helps in peeling the grain and allows preservation of its nutrients. This popular snack is made flat, sliced open, and is filled with a usual mixture of cheese (normally soft cheese), cooked ground pork with a pasty consistency and is usually served with traditional coleslaw called curtido.
Chilean Empanada. This famous snack has been known and continues to be popular all over the world. Empanadas are stuffed bread or pasty baked goodies that are often served as snacks or starters for parties. It is filled with various meat, vegetables and fruits and after which the dough or patty is folded and sealed on the edges to contain the richness of the stuffing while it is baked. Empanadas are served hot with a golden and crispy outer texture with warm and soft fillings. As it is known world-wide, more varieties of empanadas are created depending on the available ingredient in the region. Famous choices are beef, pork, and chicken with a variety of vegetables and sometimes cheese fillings.
Argentinean Choripan. A coastal area in Buenos Aires is home to a big number of street food vendors and foodies. One of the local favorites is a sandwich called choripan, named after its two main ingredients which are Chorizo and Pan (Spanish for bread). Chorizo is a combination of meat and pork, a mixture of flavors in the sausage itself. You may add sauces to your sausage. A popular kind is Chimichurri, a marinade mix of minced garlic, finely minced parsley, and olive or vegetable oil and includes other condiments such as oregano, hot pepper varieties to add flavor and spice. From afar, this street food can make your mouth water, from its aroma down to the smokey flavor of the grilled sausage. This seems to be popular not only in Argentina but all over the world, more popularly sold at sports arenas in baseball and football games.
Ecuadorian Humitas. Similar to Mexican Tamales, Humitas is one of the more traditional street food in Latin America today. This popular snack is made of fresh ground corn with eggs and onion and varieties of spices, depending on each region and tradition. It is then mixed and wrapped in corn husks then tied with a thread or twine to seal all flavors and to preserve its freshness upon serving. Ecuadorian Humitas can either be sweet or salty and may contain cheese for added flavor.
Peruvian Salchipapas. This famous street food will surely make your eyes feast and your stomach roar in madness. Salchipapas are made of thinly sliced beef hotdogs or sausage with thickly sliced French Fries, mixed in a single platter or paper cone and served with various sauces and coleslaw as side dish. One of the staple sauces includes a combination of chili peppers, ketchup and mayonnaise. Amarillo pepper is often used for sauces as it appears to be an important and staple in Peruvian cooking. This will totally spice up your day, the Peruvian way.