During Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans from September 15th to October 15th, Hispanic individuals in the United States have the opportunity to celebrate our rich culture and acknowledge the remarkable contributions, history, and accomplishments of Hispanic and Latino Americans.
In our Hispanic communities, food is the glue that holds everything together. So it’s not a surprise that during this month, our cuisine gets special recognition too! It’s how we show love, express our culture, and pass down our traditions. Generations have perfected so many culinary masterpieces. They have crafted recipes that are near and dear to our hearts and form the foundation of our heritage.
Popular Latin American Dishes
Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic dishes!
There are many variations of this flavorful corn dough cuisine. In Nicaragua, they call it a Nacatamale – it contains rice, olives, and typically pork.
Most notable of all these variations are the Mexican Tamales. These delicious corn doughs are encased in various fillings, then it’s wrapped in corn husks and steamed. Tamales have been a staple in Mexican and Central American cuisine for centuries.
Notoriously known as a dish coming from the coast of Spain, paella is a saffron rice dish cooked with various ingredients such as seafood, chicken, rabbit, and vegetables. It’s a meal that brings people together around a large paella pan.
Many Latin American countries, especially those along the coastlines, serve this delicious fresh seafood dish. Ceviche is often considered one of Peru’s national dishes. This meal consists of raw seafood (fish or shrimp) marinated in citrus juices for hours. Then it’s mixed together with raw onions, cilantro, and chili peppers for a burst of flavor of salty flavor, and served with sweet potatoes or fried plantain.
This popular and beloved snack or appetizer is a staple in Cuban cuisine. It consists of small, round-shaped breaded dough, deep-fried to a golden brown perfection. They are made with mashed potatoes mixed with ingredients like cheese and herbs.
This flavorful dish is made from rice and black beans cooked together with various seasonings. The name “Gallo Pinto” translates to “spotted rooster” in Spanish, which refers to the speckled appearance of the dish when the rice and beans are cooked together. They are served for breakfast with scrambled eggs, cheese, and tortillas.
We asked the Latino Student Union (LSU) Executive Board about their favorite Latin Cuisine:
Giselle, LSU President : “Tacos Dorados de papa. Some people call them flautas de papa.”
Maria, LSU Fundraiser: “My favorite food is Cuban cuisine called “Congri con Vaca Frita y Maduros”. This plate brings together rice and black beans, served with pan-fried beef and caramelized fried plantains.”
Vannesa, LSU Secretary: “Mole Poblano, originating from the city of Puebla, Mexico, is a complex culinary masterpiece crafted from a blend of ingredients like chocolate, chili peppers, and spices, and typically enriched with nuts or seeds. Accompanied by its Chile sauce, Mole is traditionally paired with chicken. Throughout my life, Mole has held a special place in my heart as an all-time favorite.
It’s a dish that has become synonymous with the warm and welcoming atmosphere of my abuelita’s kitchen. Growing up, she lovingly cared for my cousins and me while our parents ventured off to work in the mornings.
Mole was our abuelita’s signature dish, the centerpiece for the table bringing us all together, often prompting playful battles over seating arrangements. Mole, for me, is not just a culinary masterpiece, it is also a cherished link to the comforting memories of my childhood.”
Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness about the diverse and vibrant Hispanic and Latino communities in the United States. For more information on the Latino Student Union, visit our page.