In the Iguazu region, the culture is a combination of Brazilian, Argentine and Paraguayan cultures. This exotic mix of nationalities is heavily demonstrated is in the local cuisine. If you take a trip to Iguazu Falls, these are the five dishes you’ll have to try!
CHIPA GUAZU: A salty corn pie using corn on the cob, onion, eggs and cheese. The name chipa is used for several dishes that also contain corn flour, but this type of chipa is eaten with mate cocido (mate in a tea bag) or as a side dish. The word guazu in the Guarani language means grande (it’s the biggest kind of chipa) and was extremely important as it was used to feed people in the Triple Alliance War (1856).
CHIPA: Similar to the first kind of chipa, but instead using manioc starch instead of corn flour. This recipe was originally from the indigenous Guaranies, but with the arrival of the Jesuits they added some new ingredients such as eggs and cheese (they used to prepare it only with water). This is perfect for breakfast or for accompanying mate (but then again, isn’t everything?). This type of chipa is very popular in Paraguay, Argentina (Corrientes, Misiones, Formosa, etc) and in Brazil, where it’s called pao de queijo (cheese bread).
SOPA PARAGUAYA: This salty sponge cake is quite caloric due to the usage of corn flour (thinner than polenta), fried onions, eggs, milk, cheese and corn oil. The Guaranies cooked them wrapped in banana leaves and placing them straight into the hot coals. Nowadays, of course, the oven is used instead.
MANDIOCA OR YUCA: This is actually a root of a plant, containing special minerals and proteins due to its contact with the soil. Because of this, it’s been the base of both the Guaranies’ diet as well as other indigenous populations from South America. You can try it simply boiled or, if that’s too healthy for you, fried. Yuca is often used to replace potatoes: in salads, gnocchi, or even as a side dish.
DORADO, BOGA, SURUBI O PACU: Try one (or all) of these four kinds of fish from the Parana River and lower Iguazu River on your trip to Iguazu Falls. In the restaurants they’re prepared grilled, fried or baked, and can also be used as empanadas filling! Yummy!
Written by Constanza Mainero