Defining what American cuisine is like in general terms is not an easy task, since from North America to South America great changes can be observed in the culinary tradition of each region. While the north stands out above all the Mexican cuisineIn South and Central America, the consumption of native products and the Spanish influence after the conquest of America, African and ancestral American, is common.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Article Index

Typical foods and ingredients of the countries of America

North America

Many are those who prefer to make a distinction between the cuisines of North America, South America, and Central America. This is so because, in reality, the culinary techniques and even the ingredients used vary greatly not only between subcontinents, but also by country.



To speak of native American foods is to speak of a great diversity of food, culinary techniques and cultural influences.

Starting with North America, we can distinguish between Gastronomy of Canada and the United States, and Mexican Kitchen, the latter considered one of the most important and coveted in the world.

The famous tex-mex cuisine It is one of the most internationally recognized culinary traditions whose origin is located in North America. Tex-Mex dishes respond to a fusion between American and Mexican style.

From Mexico, dishes such as the famous totopos stand out, better known internationally as nachos. These little corn tortillas are usually covered in a wide variety of ingredients, including sour cream, hot chili peppers, melted cheese, etc.

The quesadillas, burritos, fajitas, tacos and Enchiladas they are probably the most famous dishes whose origin is located in Mexico. Sauces such as mole or chamoy also attract attention due to the fusion of ingredients they include.

There is no traditional US cuisine as such, although it is possible to speak of a series of ingredients already used by Native American peoples, existing since before colonization, such as potatoes, beans or corn.

Like American cuisine, culinary customs of Canada They arise from the fusion between those of England, Scotland and France, although you can also find several typical dishes that come from Asia and the Caribbean.

South America

The indigenous foods of South America are heavily influenced by Amerindian, African, Spanish and even Italian customs. For its part, Argentina is highly influenced by the gastronomy of Italia, so dishes like canchera pizza or ravioli are very typical.

You can also taste numerous dishes of Hispanic origin, such as meatballs, tripe and alfajores, among many others.

Within South America, one can distinguish between three gastronomic regions:

  • Andean region: in this area there is a great indigenous influence. For this reason, corn and potatoes are the two most used ingredients. The typical foods of Peru and Colombia stand out, as well as the ecuadorian gastronomy. Dishes such as locro or humitas are popular in the different countries that make up this region (Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, northwestern Argentina and Chile).
  • Tropical region: includes the coastal areas and the low and interior lands of the south of the subcontinent, present in Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Venezuela and French Guiana. Here the use of native fruits of the forests and tropical fields stands out, such as guava, papaya or mango. Sweet potato, cassava and corn are some of the most used ingredients.
  • Pampas region: It is about the kitchens of the Argentine and Uruguayan plains. For its part, this area of ​​Argentina is highly influenced by the gastronomy of Italia, so dishes like canchera pizza or ravioli are very typical. You can also taste numerous dishes of Hispanic origin, such as meatballs, tripe and alfajores, among many others.

Also noteworthy is the coastal gastronomy of South America, where the seafood are the main products of marine origin.

The coastal area is located in the South American tropical region and one of the star dishes for which seafood is used is the famous ceviche (also written cebiche, seviche o sebiche).



PeruFor its part, it is considered one of the most important countries in the world in gastronomic terms.

There are many experts who affirm the existence of hundreds of different dishes of Peruvian origin. Its main ingredients are chili, seafood and meat.

Cassava and plantain are also two of the most popular plant-based ingredients in virtually all Latin American countries.

Companies that indigenous communities from the Amazon are major consumers of these and other tubers. Fish, bush animals, yams and pijuayo (known as chontaduro in Colombia) are very important ingredients for these peoples.

Central America

Products such as corn, sweet potato, potatoes or avocado are present in almost all the typical dishes of this subcontinent.

El fried plantain is another of its strengths. In summary, the gastronomy of Central America is a fusion of the indigenous, Spanish and African cuisine brought to America.

The star ingredient is corn, known as corn in some South American countries.

Its consumption in Central America dates back to the time of the Aztecs and Mayans, approximately 10.000 years ago. It is usually eaten with or alone, as in the case of the typical pupusas of El Salvador, which are tortillas similar to the Mexican ones but somewhat thicker.

The most typical foods are those listed below:

  • Corn
  • Chayote
  • Pumpkin
  • Potatoes
  • Custard apple
  • Chili peppers
  • Avocado
  • Mamey
  • Guava
  • Pineapple
  • Beans
  • Cacao

One of the best kept secrets of Central American cuisine is the use of many spices different on their plates. The essentials are bay leaf, oregano, cumin, chili powder, ground or whole garlic, and loroco (a typical herb from El Salvador and Guatemala).

On the other hand, Central American cuisine is highly influenced by the Spanish, although there are also dishes that are very reminiscent of the Mexican and African styles.

The Spanish legacy can be seen in the consumption of pork and all its derivatives, such as blood sausages and sausages, among others.

El rooster chick It is considered the national dish of Costa Rica, although they are also typical in other Latin American countries. It consists of combining beans with chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic. It is usually eaten for breakfast, accompanied by fried eggs, rice, cheese or even custard.

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