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Latin American Foods to Eat Before You Die

Make room on your bucket list for these 10 Latin American foods to eat before you die—lucky for you, no passport required! We've included the recipes to make each dish yourself right at home!

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1. Dorilocos from Mexico

Photograph by Miss Mochi's Adventures

Are you ready for the ultimate snack food? Dorilocos (aka Crazy Doritos), which were originally made with Tostitos tortilla chips and called Tostilocos, are available on city streets throughout Mexico. A vendor will cut open a bag of nacho cheese-flavored Doritos and spoon in everything from grated carrots, jicama, and diced cucumber, to Japanese-style peanuts and gummy worms, then top that with chamoy, fresh lime juice, and hot sauce. Is your mouth watering imagining the combinations of spicy, salty, sweet and sour?

Make your own Dorilocos: Recipe in English, Video recipe in Spanish

2. Cuchuflíes from Chile

Photograph by Jeannette Kaplun

What's not to love about these sweet Chilean treats? A thin batter is cooked on a flat griddle, and then rolled into a wafer-like tube while still warm; when cooled the tube is then filled with manjar (aka dulce de leche) and often dipped in chocolate.

Make your own cuchuflíes: Recipe in Spanish

3. Shuco from Guatemala

Photograph by Jose Wolff

This Guatemalan hot dog is a meat lover's dream come true. A shuco comes with a combination of meats that vary depending on the vendor and could include hot dog (salchicha), ham or salami, longaniza, chorizo, bacon, and beef, as well as other meats. The toppings for a shuco can be just as plentiful: guacamol (Guatemalan avocado sauce), boiled cabbage, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce are common condiments.

Watch this video (in Spanish) to see how they're prepared, then make your own shuco!

4. Quesitos from Puerto Rico

Photograph by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

You're going to want a hot cup of coffee to go with this one. Quesitos are a Puerto Rican treat that are a perfect balance between sweet and savory. The flaky puff pastry outside is filled with sweetened vanilla-flavored cream cheese, brushed with egg whites, and then dusted with a sprinkling of sugar before being baked to a golden brown.

Make your own quesitos: Recipe in English

5. Espumillas from Ecuador

Photograph by Layla Pujol

Many a tourist in Ecuador has wondered why the piles of ice cream on tables at the market aren't melting, only to discover it isn't ice cream after all. Espumilla (which means "foam"), may look like ice cream because it’s often served in ice cream cones and topped with sprinkles and a drizzle of blackberry syrup, but no need to keep it cold; espumillas are actually meringue cream, naturally flavored with fruit pulp!

Make your own espumillas: Recipe in English

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6. Mixto (Cuban sandwich) from Cuba

Photograph by Joel Sowers

Known as a "mixto" in Cuba, but better known as a "Cuban sandwich" in Miami and beyond, the simplicity of its ingredients—sliced ham, roast pork, a citrus-based marinade called mojo, dill pickles, mustard, and Swiss cheese—are layered in buttered baguette-style Cuban bread, and then pressed. Served warm and sliced diagonally, if you deviate from this and try to add tomato or lettuce, be aware that some will consider it sacrilege.

Make your own Cuban sandwich: Recipe in English

7. Salchipapas from Peru

Photograph by Morena Escardo

If you speak Spanish, you can take a pretty good guess at what salchipapas are even if you've never heard of them before. "Salchi" is short for salchicha (or hot dog), and "papas" are french fries, so salchipapas are exactly what you think they are: sliced, stir-fried hot dogs and french fries, served along with your choice of dipping sauces. A popular Peruvian street food, salchipapas also make a quick (albeit somewhat nutritionally challenged) weeknight meal you can easily make at home.

Make your own salchipaps: Recipe in English

8. Pupusas from El Salvador

Photograph by Chris Goldberg

Put that fork down! El Salvador's national food, the humble but delicious pupusa, is best eaten with your hands. Corn masa patties are stuffed with gooey cheese for pupusas de queso; other varieties include combinations of cheese with beans, pork, and vegetables such as zucchini or an edible flower bud called loroco. Accompanied by a tangy cabbage slaw known as curtido, and mild salsa, pupusas are fast becoming a popular food the United States.

Make your own pupusas: Recipe in English

9. Empanadas from Argentina

Photograph by Beatrice Murch

Argentina is known for so many amazing dishes that it's hard to narrow it down, but empanadas have enough variety within their own category that you could probably eat these little hand pies for the rest of your life and never get bored. Fillings range from savory to sweet, and include everything from beef, chicken, ham, or fish, to hard-boiled eggs, raisins, spinach, onions, peas, potatoes and olives.

Make your own empanadas: Recipe in English

10. Pizza a la Portuguesa from Brazil

Photograph by Denise Browning

Wait, pizza from Brazil? Sure, why not? Pizza was introduced to Brazil by Italian immigrants, and from there it took on a life of its own, mixing with Portuguese ingredients such as smoky-tasting chouriço sausage. Add sliced hard-boiled eggs, ripe tomatoes, black olives, fresh oregano and a few other ingredients for a pizza like none you've ever had before.

Make your own pizza a la Portuguesa: Recipe in English

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