The 7 Myths Of Latin Food

By: Jordan Lopez

If you’ve ever sat at a Latin restaurant and been surprised to not see tacos on their menu, I can tell you from first hand experience that you’re not alone. In Canada, we’ve become familiar with the stigma that anyone who lives south of Trump’s (ridiculous) wall has a diet that consists of enchiladas, tacos and burritos. Although these 3 items are the basis to my diet on Saturday nights after 1AM, these “staples” have been stereotypically blanketed across Central & South America.

Stay with me on this blog post as I explore the 7 myths about Latin cooking and familiarize some of the lesser-known components of Latino recipes.

1. Latin Food = Mexican Food

This is probably the biggest sin of them all! Far too often we assume Latin recipes use 4 pounds of cheese and just have salsa all over everything. Latin food has a broader scale of cuisine ranging from cream-soaked sponge cake to romaine & mango salad with avocado-infused dressing.  That probably made you a little hungry, but stay with me!

2. Latin Cocktails Are Only Made With Tequila

Although this one is debatable, tequila cocktails aren’t always best paired with a modern Latin dish such as a hamachi-based ceviche or a Chaufa. If you ever get the opportunity to visit a restaurant in the coastal nations of Peru or Argentina, you’ll pleasantly see a collection of great wines and Pisco cocktails on their drink menu.

3. There’s No Gluten-Free Options

Authentic Latino food is rich in all-natural ingredients and has plenty of options for people with celiac disease and other dietary restrictions. A good ceviche is always a great choice when going out with friends who have a gluten intolerance.

4. It’s Greasy & Always Fried

If you’ve ever walked down Augusta Avenue in Toronto’s Kensington Market then you’ve seen the food stands pumping out pupusas & empanadas to the masses who walk by; these are probably the most popular Latin eats in Canada because they’re quick and easy. Because of this, most people assume the cooking methods are carried over into every dish. Fortunately for all you health buffs, Latin cuisine expands far beyond fried dough. Next time you’re at a Latin restaurant, ask if they have Arroz con Pollo; a perfect balance of chicken, spices & rice!

5. Authentic Latin Ingredients Are Hard To Find

Have you’ve ever tried to cook a recipe or make a cocktail that contained ingredients that you’ve never heard of? Major food distributors like Loblaws and Longos are making efforts to offer a wider range of produce and ingredients to their consumers that wrap around the globe. If you still can’t find the ingredients you’re looking for, search for a local Latino grocer such as Perola’s in Toronto’s Kensington Market.

6. Churros Are The Only Dessert

Churros are really good. Really, really good. But they’re not the only sweet to put on your plate after a meal. You’ve only experienced true happiness once you’ve had sponge cake with milk and cream topped of with Papaya. Desserts such as the Tres Leches Cake will have you waiting outside your local Latino restaurant just waiting for them to open!

7.  All Latin Dishes Have Cilantro

This one is actually true…especially if you eat in Chef Steve Gonzalez’s kitchen 🙂