Panama City’s bustling seafood market is home to peddlers of the fresh catch of the day from the Pacific and the Caribbean.
By Elspeth Velten
The disparities of Panama City are hard to miss. The juxtaposition of colorful, crumbling buildings and soaring skyscrapers housing expatriate retirees is gloomy reminder that development can be cruel and unforgiving.
Walk in this city for too long and you will be drenched in sweat and scorched by the sun, but be sure to take a moment to let the hovering vultures lead you to the Mercado de Mariscos, where a real treat awaits.
Panama City’s bustling seafood market is home to peddlers of the fresh catch of the day from the Pacific and the Caribbean. Your nose will guide you quickly past stall upon stall of gifts from the sea. Right upstairs there is a cheap restaurant recommended by many, and outside along the side of the market are numerous stalls with big glass jars full of ceviche: chopped seafood of your choice cooked only by means of the addition of citrus juice. Light and fresh, these small cups of goodness are cheap and will cool you down quickly.
Corvina (sea bass) is popular, but I went with camarones. Variations are different by region and country, but at Ceviches Bendicion you will find a simple mix of meat, onions and lemon juice in your cup. The complimenting flavors create a coup in your mouth, protesting against the beads of sweat you have shed on the journey to the market. Crackers add just the right amount of salt to the picture. For cheap seafood, this is el lugar mejor.
Elspeth is a contributing writer at Honest Cooking. She is based in New York, but her love for food and travel continues to lead to adventures all around the globe. Elspeth regularly shares her experiences on her food blog, To Stay or to Go? Her happy place is among green curries and fruit smoothies in Thailand.