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Food of Latin American origin is becoming increasingly popular around the world.
Food of Latin American origin is becoming increasingly popular around the world. Photo: Stock Image

Four popular Latin American foods in the United States

Latin American food has conquered the heart of the United States.

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Latin American food can have many ingredients in common, and we can even have similar versions of the same dish in different countries. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we have a list of the four dishes  (among the enormous variety that exists) that have conquered palates in the United States: tamales, arepas, tacos and ceviche,  

The United States has a population of more than 50 million with Latin American roots. Most of them are of Mexican and Central American origin, causing their gastronomy to have a great influence in North America. According to The Latino Roots of American Food by writer Jeffrey M. Pilcher "more recent immigration has introduced a wider variety of recipes from all parts of Latin America." 

Mid.-century migration as a result of crises in Latin America — the Cuban Revolution, dictatorships of the Southern Cone in the 1970s, and the Central American civil wars of the 1980s — have been largely responsible for introducing "new types of restaurant cuisine as Latin American food processors began to carve out a niche in domestic markets," Pilcher says.

Here are five of the most popular and favorite Latin American dishes among Americans: 

1. According to TasteAtlas' "Top 100 MOST POPULAR DISHES in the world," tacos are the most popular Latin American food worldwide, and the U.S. is no stranger. Traditional versions include seasoned meat wrapped in a fresh, handmade tortilla and not much else beyond a choice of salsa and the optional green garnish.

2. Ceviche is Peru's signature dish, and now known worldwide, consisting of slices of raw fish and/or seafood seasoned with salt, onion, cilantro and spice, and then marinated in lime juice. 

3. Tamales is a dish that can be found throughout Latin America. It starts with a corn dough, seasoned and then filled, almost always, with a sofrito of minced meat and then is cooked in boiling water. From Mexico to Chile, almost every country has its own version.  

4. The Arepa is a dish shared by Venezuenlans and Colombians. Both prepare it in a different way, but the basic ingredients are the same. It is a flat "bread" made of corn or precooked corn flour, depending on where, and can be stuffed or topped with the rest of the ingredients.

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