Vegan Mofo 10: Panama / Panamanian Potato Salad

We’re into the last week of Vegan Mofo, and I’ve got quite a few countries I want to cover this week!  My theme is ‘Places I’ve Been’ and I’m picking various countries I’ve been to and making a regional dish I either ate there or wished I’d eaten there.

 

Today’s post is about Panama.  Oh, Panama…I’m not really sure how I ended up going to Panama City.  It was a cheap flight from Costa Rica and I thought I might as well see another part of Central America while I was there.  Panama City ended up being my least favourite place I’ve ever travelled.  I’ve travelled to many cities by myself, but Panama was the only one where I felt unsafe.  Everywhere I turned there seemed to be people warning me against going anywhere on my own — “don’t walk down that road to the old part of town, you’ll end up in an area overrun with drug lords and get shot.”  “Don’t take a taxi downtown, the driver might assault you.”  So in the end I barely left my hostel for the few days I was there — I only went to the supermarket to buy food and came back to the hostel, which was in turn overrun by creepy middle-aged men who incessantly hit on me while I tried to check my emails in the common areas.  My final night there, we even heard gunshots   As a result, I had a strange experience of Panama City.  It was such a contrast to Costa Rica, where I stayed in a beautiful B&B in the mountains, and to Santiago, Chile, where I went after that (more on that in another post soon).

My main view was of the barbed wire around the compound:

Although I did at least make one friend! :)

 

Because I ended up cooking in the hostel each day, I didn’t get to experience Panamanian cuisine, sadly.  I mostly ate burritos!  However I recently came across this intriguing pink potato salad, which is apparently popular party fare in Panama, so I decided to veganise it and try it.  The pink is from the beetroot in it.  I ended up buying some vacuum-packed beetroot I found in Tesco — I’d never seen beetroot packed like that before (I think it may be common here though) and it turned out it was precooked.  Because I wasn’t cooking it with the potatoes and carrots (as directed in the recipe) I just added a bit of the juice from the vacuum pack to the salad to give it the pink colour.  It ended up being tasty, although not the most photogenic dish!

Ensalada de Papas / Panamanian Potato Salad

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 beetroot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large handful parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil the diced potatoes.  When they are about halfway cooked, add the carrots and beetroot and cook until you can pierce them easily with a fork.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the parsley, celery, onion, garlic, mayonnaise and mustard.  Add the cooked potatoes, carrots and beetroot and mix everything together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

6 thoughts on “Vegan Mofo 10: Panama / Panamanian Potato Salad

  1. Joey

    That’s such a shame – we were there for about a week, and we didn’t experience any badness (although there definitely were some ropey areas of the city, as you’d expect). I don’t remember much about the food though – we were backpacking, so a lot of what we ate was homemade too! I remember finding some Amy’s vegan burritos and soy milk and getting very excited!

    Reply
    1. Caitlin Post author

      I think perhaps the problem was I was staying in a ropey area. I just chose the wrong hostel! That’s great about Amy’s burritos being available there.

      Reply
  2. Kate

    look at that cute kitty! surely your little friend could come with you and claw anyone that got in your way? We all know little cats are lions on the inside!

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Vegan Mofo 11: Chile / Cheese Empanadas | The Vegan Word

  4. Lou

    I’m really sorry you had that experience in Panama. As in any country there are some areas that are more dangerous but overall this city is safer than others in the region.
    If you ever decide to come to Panama and give it a second chance I’d love to maybe show you around, there are many vegan friendly options and very nice places as well where you can enjoy nature.

    Reply

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