Panamanian cuisine is both unique and rich. As a land bridge between two continents, Panama possesses an unusual variety of tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs that are used in native cooking. Panamanian cuisine is a unique mix of African, Spanish, Native American cooking and dishes, reflecting its diverse population. Typical foods are mildly flavored, without the pungency of some of Panama's Latin American and Caribbean neighbors. Common ingredients are maize, rice, wheat flour, plantains, yuca (cassava), beef, chicken, pork and seafood.
Many Panamanian dishes are made out of corn. The preparation is different to that of other Latin American corn dishes (such as corn tortillas and arepas), given that the kernel is first cooked in water and then ground in order to obtain a dough (as opposed to using corn flour to obtain the dough). Fresh corn is also used in some dishes.
Some of the main specialties are:
Tortillas: These can be around ten to twelve inches in diameter (these are always cooked on a griddle), or smaller, around four inches (most of the time these are fried).
Bollos: corn dough wrapped in corn husk or plantain leaves and boiled. There are two main varieties: fresh corn bollos (bollos de maíz nuevo) and dry corn bollos. The dry corn type is sometimes flavored with butter, corn, or stuffed with beef, which is called bollo "preñado".
Torrejitas de maíz: a fresh corn fritter.
Tortilla Changa: Thick tortilla made out of fresh corn.
Sorrel (Sorrel is a drink containing sorrel sepals, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, sugar, water, and a splash of rum)
Fresh fruit juices (licuados or jugos naturales): pineapple, passionfruit, papaya, orange, tree tomato, etc. are prepared by blending fresh fruit and straining; typically heavily sweetened and optionally with condensed milk added