My First Blog

In my work as a Chef in Latin America I have encountered many foreign visitors who are curious about the ingredients in the food they eat here. I am always delighted to talk about our native ingredients, so much that some of my visitor friends suggested I write on the subject of Latin American cooking ingredients. Such writing my friends told me, would be useful not only to foreign travelers in Latin America, but also to the large number of foreigners living in the region, either because they are working or retiring.

Very often these expatriates encounter a vegetables and fruits vendor on a road or visit public market or even a modern supermarket and they are bewildered by the variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, meat, poultry and seafood that are on display, some of which may look familiar while others appear exotic and some really strange.

The purpose of this Blog is to help foreigners in Latin America learn about the typical ingredients found throughout our region, to describe each ingredient in words and images, its taste, its color and shape; to relate local ingredients to ones they may know in their own country; to know their nutrients and most important how to consume them, for this I will provide many simple recipes.

Latin America is a very extensive region occupied by many countries with different traditions and often different names for the same ingredient; I will use the scientific name, the most common English name and as many local names as possible indicating for each name the country of usage.

I hope foreigners traveling or living in Latin America will find my writing useful. I will write once a week on a different ingredient, starting with the most common. My first ingredient will Yucca which is omnipresent en every stand, shop or market in Latin America.

I hope you enjoy my Blog and send me your comments. Chef Juan


  1. Great idea, i love the local markets, especially the san mateo mercado in david near the bambu hostel i always send our guests there for fresh fruits and vegetables..
    david panama

  2. It is a good thing for visitors to look around open markets, to see the local produce and products. In David there are 3 markets, the public market currently close for remodeling, the San Mateo market, problably the most accesible and there is other near the Inmigration Office, which I think is the best, the fruits and produce are always fresh and good looking, lots of variety and you can haggle over the price.

  3. I love it. A great idea. We love all the fresh fruits and veg., but find myself saying what is it or how do I cook it correctly.

  4. Best of luck with the blog. I know a lot of people (Panamanians included!) that would appreciate learning about new variations on traditional products. Who knew you could eat chayote raw in salads?!

  5. Wonderful idea! I have been writing about tropical fruits and vegetables for many years (4 years of monthly columns in "Caribbean Compass" and a few other magazines for cruising sailors.) I'll look forward to reading your blog. Mary

  6. Mangos are healthy, and I agree there's many health benefits that comes from this wonderful fruit! This summer I'm going to try a Mexican and Tex Mex, Quick, Salsa recipe!

  7. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

    Meat Seafood Disply