Street food is a unique culinary adventure that provides a captivating glimpse into the very essence of a city’s culture. In Panama City, where tradition meets innovation and flavors enchant the taste buds, embarking on a street food adventure is a must for any traveler with a passion for food. From bustling markets to humble roadside stalls, the vibrant city of Panama has an array of delectable snacks waiting to be savored. In this article, we will discuss the best snacks in Panama City.
Best Snacks in Panama City
Panama City has a rich culture and traditions. You cannot forget the local street food experience in the Panama streets. Most tourist prefer international cuisines while traveling to a new place, but the taste of street foods provide the best experience to immerse yourself in the culture and tradition. Panama is one of them, which is the best country to try food and drinks.
In the undersection, we have briefly discussed the snack spots and best snacks to enjoy locally. Check out below:
The Best Street Food Spots in Panama City
There are many spots that offer culinary experience in Panama: some spots are mentioned below:
Mercado de Mariscos (Seafood Market)
Nestled along the picturesque waterfront, the Mercado de Mariscos is a seafood lover’s haven. Here, you’ll find an array of fresh catches transformed into delectable ceviche, fried fish, and seafood cocktails. The market’s vibrant atmosphere and ocean views make it a must-visit for both foodies and sightseers.
Location: Avenida Balboa, Panama City
Casco Viejo (Old Town)
The historic Casco Viejo district is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also a treasure trove of street food delights. Stroll through the charming cobblestone streets and discover vendors selling empanadas, tamales, and other Panamanian favorites. Don’t forget to try a refreshing raspado (shaved ice) as you explore this historic gem.
Location: Casco Viejo, Panama City
Cinta Costera (Coastal Beltway)
The Cinta Costera is more than just a scenic route along the waterfront; it’s a hub of street food vendors offering a variety of snacks. From grilled meats and plantains to sweet treats like bunuelos (fried dough balls), this strip provides the perfect setting for an evening stroll with a side of street food.
Location: Avenida Balboa, Panama City
San Felipe Fish Market
If you’re a seafood aficionado, the San Felipe Fish Market is a hidden gem. Located in the historic San Felipe neighborhood, this market is where locals and chefs source their seafood. Join the locals in savoring freshly fried fish or ceviche, and soak in the authentic atmosphere of this local hotspot.
Location: San Felipe, Panama City
Plaza de la Independencia (Independence Square)
Food vendors offering a delightful mix of traditional Panamanian snacks surround Plaza de la Independencia, at the heart of Casco Viejo. Whether you’re in the mood for carimañolas, bollos, or savory empanadas, you’ll find them all here, often accompanied by live music and local festivities.
- Location: Casco Viejo, Panama City
Street Food Trucks
Food vendors offering a delightful mix of traditional Panamanian snacks surround Plaza de la Independencia, at the heart of Casco Viejo. These mobile kitchens serve up gourmet burgers, fusion tacos, artisanal ice cream, and more all over the city. Keep an eye out for these colorful trucks to experience innovative street food creations.
Location: Various locations throughout the city
Must-Try Panamanian Street Snacks
Here are mentioned below the best street snacks:
Empanadas are flaky pastries filled with various ingredients, such as ground beef, chicken, cheese, or vegetables. These are special deep-fried to golden perfection.
Empanadas are a beloved snack throughout Panama. The combination of crispy dough and flavorful fillings makes them irresistible. Be sure to try the classic beef empanada, but don’t hesitate to explore other fillings for a diverse taste experience.
People fill parcels of masa (corn dough) with seasoned meats, vegetables, or even fruits to make tamales. Local shopkeepers wrap them in banana leaves or corn husks and steam them to perfection.
People in Panama often enjoy tamales as a culinary tradition during special occasions. The blend of flavors and textures in each tamal is a delightful surprise, making it a must-try street snack. Don’t forget to try the tamal de olla, a Panamanian favorite.
Ceviche is a refreshing dish made with fresh seafood, typically fish or shrimp, marinated in lime or bitter orange juice, and mixed with onions, cilantro, and bell peppers.
Panama City is close to the ocean, so you can enjoy really fresh ceviche. The tangy sauce makes the seafood taste even better, giving you a tasty treat, especially on a hot day.
Carimañolas are yuca (cassava) fritters stuffed with seasoned ground meat and deep-fried to a golden brown. Panamanian food stallers often serve them with a side of ají sauce for extra flavor.
These yuca-based snacks are both crispy and soft, offering a delightful contrast of textures. The savory filling and the kick of the ají sauce make carimañolas a beloved street food treat.
Raspados in Panama are like fancy snow cones. To make them, people shave ice super finely and add colorful syrups, sweet milk, and sometimes fruit syrups on top.
Panama City’s tropical climate makes raspados a popular choice for staying cool. These colorful, sweet concoctions are not only refreshing but also a fun and colorful way to enjoy a sweet treat.
Bollos are parcels of seasoned corn dough, usually filled with ingredients like cheese, sausage, or chicken. People wrap them in banana leaves and either boil or steam them.
Bollos are a unique and wholesome snack that reflects Panama’s Indigenous heritage. The aroma of the banana leaves infuses the dough with a delightful earthy flavor, making them a delightful street food option.
Yuca fries are thick-cut yuca sticks deep-fried to a golden crisp. The local shopkeeper serves these with a side of garlic sauce or aji to their customer.
Yuca fries offer a satisfying crunch and a subtly sweet flavor. They are the perfect accompaniment to many Panamanian dishes and a must-try for anyone exploring the street food scene.
Street food in Panama is the best way to taste traditional cuisine at a cheap rate. You can find many food spots in the city. The taste of the snacks leaves awe-inspiring impacts. Whether you’re a seafood lover, a fan of fried treats, or someone with a sweet tooth, there’s a street food delicacy waiting for you on the bustling streets and charming plazas of this vibrant city. Try to eat at local stalls to immerse yourself in cultural cuisine.