Friday, June 22, 2012

Ceviche in Panama City

The disparities of Panama City are hard to miss. The juxtaposition of colorful, crumbling buildings and soaring skyscrapers housing expatriate retirees is gloomy reminder that development can be cruel and unforgiving. Walk in this city for too long and you will be drenched in sweat and scorched by the sun, but be sure to take a moment to let the hovering vultures lead you to the Mercado de Mariscos, where a real treat awaits.

Panama City's bustling seafood market is home to peddlers of the fresh catch of the day from the Pacific and the Caribbean. Your nose will guide you quickly past stall upon stall of gifts from the sea. Right upstairs there is a cheap restaurant recommended by many, and outside along the side of the market are numerous stalls with big glass jars full of ceviche: chopped seafood of your choice cooked only by means of the addition of citrus juice. Light and fresh, these small cups of goodness are cheap and will cool you down quickly.
Corvina (sea bass) is popular, but I went with camarones. Variations are different by region and country, but at Ceviches Benedicion you will find a simple mix of meat, onions and lemon juice in your cup. The complimenting flavors create a coup in your mouth, protesting against the beads of sweat you have shed on the journey to the market. Crackers add some salt to the picture.

I got home yesterday. The biggest food event I think I missed here was the announcement of a new Taco Bell menu, which doesn't even look that appealing to me. Where's the cheese? Is this just a new name for the Fresca Menu? I had Taco Bell in a mall in Panama City (you gotta try the international branches!) Not that good.

Anything else I missed? 


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