Hispanic Culture: Food & Traditions

Instructor: Raychelle Heath

Raychelle has a BA in Spanish and an MFA in Writing. She has studied in Puerto Rico and currently lives in Mexico. She has taught Spanish in various settings.

Hispanic countries are rich in culture and have gifted the world with some delicious foods and recognizable traditions. This lesson will explore the culture of a few Hispanic countries through their foods and traditions.

Let's Explore Hispanic Food and Traditions

Hispanic people have gifted the world with some amazing cultural traditions and foods. From the humble taco (TAH-koh) to the complicated steps of a well-executed flamenco (flah-MAIN-koh), Hispanic culture is ripe with interesting food and traditions.

Please note that not all words will have a direct translation into English.

Let's explore!

¿Vamos a Comer!

The flavors of Hispanic food have captivated many people the world over. Some important components to Hispanic food are:

  • tomate (toh-MAH-tay) = tomato: Necesitamos tomate para hacer la salsa. (We need tomato to make the sauce.)
  • cebolla (say-BOH-yah) = onion: Cebolla cruda es un ingrediente en pico de gallo. (Raw onion is an ingredient in pico de gallo.)
  • ajo (AH-ho) = garlic: El ajo da mucha sabor a la comida. (Garlic gives a lot of flavor to food.)
  • cilantro (see-LAHN-troh) = cilantro: ¿Compraste el cilantro para la sopa? (Did you buy the cilantro for the soup?)
  • limón (lee-MONE) = lime: Cuando comemos siempre ponemos sal, pimienta, y limón en la mesa. (When we eat we always put salt, pepper, and lime on the table.)
  • chile (CHEE-lay) = chilli: El chile puede ser dulce o muy picante. (Chile can be sweet or very spicy.)
  • frijoles (free-HO-lays) = beans: Los frijoles son una buena fuente de proteina. (Beans are a good source of protein.)
  • comino (koh-ME-noh) = cumin: Usamos comino para dar sabor a los frijoles. (We use cumin to add flavor to beans.)
  • arroz (ah-ROSE) = rice: Se puede utilizar el arroz para comida salada o postres. (One can use rice for savory food or desserts.)
  • coco (Koh-koh) = coconut: El agua e coco es muy refrescante. (Coconut water is very refreshing.)
  • aguacate (ah-wah-KAH-tay) = avocado: El ingrediente principal del guacamole es el aguacate. (The key ingredient in guacamole is avocado.)
  • maíz (mah-EES) = corn: Mucha comida Mexicana ocupa tortillas de maíz. (A lot of Mexican food uses corn tortillas.)

When these key ingredients come together, they give us some delicious dishes, such as:

  • Tacos (TAH-kohs)

Translation: A Mexican food that is known around the world is the taco.

  • Mofongo (moh-FONG-oh)

Translation: Mofongo is a dish made from mashed fried plantain, garlic, and pork.

  • Arepas (ah-RAY-pahs)

Translation: An arepa is an important food in South America.

  • Arroz con Leche (ah-ROSE-kone-LAY-chay) = rice pudding:

Translation: Rice pudding is a common dessert in various Hispanic countries.
arroz con leche

  • Empanadas (im-pah-NAH-dahs)

Translation: One can find empanadas in Bolivia, Paraguay, and Mexico.

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