This interview is on a close friend that I’ve known for a very long time; eight years to be exact. Her name is Nadya Mendoza and she is from Panama City, Panama. My Name is Rene Gallardo and I conducted this interview over the phone in the evening.
1. Who is the best cook in your extended family? Why?
A. The best cook in my extended family is my tia Floras, because she had like a crio style of cooking. She was very influence by a Caribbean style in each dish that was very delicioso. It was particularly good because it was a different style of Panamanian food than the traditional. Coconut rice with porotos (type of black beans with fried fish and deep-fried plantains)
2. What was your Favorite meal growing up?
A. Woooooooooo!!!! My favorite meal growing up was turkey neck and deep fried chicken hearts. They would sell this at the fast food joints in panama which would cost seventy five cents. It was a cluster of joy if you ask me! Carimanolas was and still is a dish a truly enjoy eating every time I go to panama.
3. What is your favorite drink to go with your favorite dish?
A. Chicheme was a drink in Panama that i could possibly drink with anything but more with Carimanolas. It is made out of corn and when served chilled, it is super refreshing. A lot of famous people go to Panama to drink this popular drink.
4. What was the first time you had food outside your culture?
A. When I first starting going to restaurants at age fourteen I tried Mexican food. But till this day, I am not to fawn of Mexican food because I find that Mexican food does not incorporate enough seasonings that could potentially make it taste better. I find that Panamanian food is a lot more creative when it comes to the variety of dishes and styles. So when I eat other dishes they are not as nearly comparable only because Panamanian food comes from a variety of mixed cultures.
5. What is your current favorite restaurant? Where is it located? What is your favorite dish there?
A. My favorite restaurant at the moment is… sushi. Sake 2 Me is a sushi place that serves exceptionally fresh sushi and also have a variety of rolls that are very appealing. I like sushi because I am a huge fan of Japanese food and sake 2 me in Ontario California provides those plates, such as the Soft shell crab roll, Philadelphia, and sashimi rolls.
6. Why do you think Mexican food is so popular?
A. I believe Mexican food is so popular because mexicans represent a large portion of our population in California, and bring their particular styles of cuisines from Mexico.
7. What is your favorite Mexican dish?
A. Chile Rellenos are clearly one of the best dishes I personally like. If they are cooked right, the Chile and the cheese is literally my favorite part of the dish when they hot and ready, with the cheese dripping and steaming.
8. What is your favorite Mexican restaurant?
A. The bufadora is the only Mexican restaurant that I would go out of my way, as far as traveling, to get fish tacos. Besides la Bufadora, I would not travel far to eat Mexican Restaurant. They have the best cooked fish that is topped with the perfect squeeze of lemon.
9. How do you like tacos?
A. El pastor tacos on flower tortillas are the best when they are surrounded with everything and the spiciest hot sauce that they possibly have. Since a lot of places do not carry good hot sauce, I personally carry my own hot sauce called V’elidas. It is a native hot sauce from Panama that is made out of habanero chiles.