Suggestions for typical Latin dishes?
I'm helping with an event at work celebrating the foods of Central and South America. I'd appreciate any input on typical/traditional dishes that should be a must on a menu like this. In particular, we're a little light on Central American/Caribbean dishes. Also, any insight into the differences between certain dishes in various countries, e.g. arepas, empanadas and ceviches (and which ones you prefer)? Thanks very much!
'The Book of Latin American Cooking' by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz is a good reference on cooking in this region. In a number of cases she presents one country's version of a dish, followed by descriptions of the variations in other countries.
This post may be too late for the event your planning, but if it's not, I think roast pork, tamales and beans are must haves.
When I was in Honduras...well, Utila, they were very big on fried plantains. They also cut their chicken up, breaded it in coarse corn meal, and deep fried it. This all happened over an open flame on the beach. Very delicious. Red beans and rice was a staple for the locals as well...as was conch soup. Lots of baracuda too.