Being a landlocked country fish commands a premium, and popular fish dishes are often reserved for special occasions. With its thick white meat and few bones, surub is the most sought after fish. Fish is usually prepared one of three ways:
Caldo depescado A thin fish chowder with vegetables.
Milanesa de pescado Breaded and fried fillets.
Chupi’n A casserole baked with onions and tomatoes and topped with cheese.
Despite the prevalence of animal products, Paraguay’s cuisine does have several standard dishes that are vegetarian – however, most Paraguayans will do their best to provide meat to visitors. They may be surprised and amused to find out you want to eat vegetarian foods generally considered too humble to be served to foreigners. Some readily accessible vegetarian options include:
Porotos Beans (or kumanda in Guarani) are often served as salad (ensalada de porotos), tossed with oil, hardboiled eggs, and parsley, or a soup (caldo de porotos). Lima beans (porotos de manteca) are also popular and often turned into a stew with rice and tomatoes.
Huevos Eggs are easy to come by as most rural Paraguayans have their own chickens. The chickens are fed table scraps resulting in eggs with a rich flavor and deep orange yolk (free range eggs are known as huevos caseros ). Eggs can be cooked with another vegetarian staple, mandioca, to make mandi ‘o chyryry or eaten plain. Sunny side up eggs (huevo frito) are particularly delicious, perhaps because they are prepared in hot oil. If you are not picky about the “meatiness” of cooking surfaces, you can request an egg sandwich from a lomito stand. When requesting your lomito sin carne, be sure to specify that you don’t want ham either (sin jamon).
Mani High in protein, peanuts are readily available throughout the country and make up several traditional snack and desserts (see Peanuts).
Emapandas Larger empanada chains such as Don Vito have a variety of vegetable and cheese empanadas including corn (choclo), onion (cebolla), kale (acelga) and heart of palm (palmito). Tortillas In Paraguay, tortillas are actually fritters and not Mexican-style corn tortillas. Batter usually includes cheese and a leafy green such as kale.
Tartas Vegetable tartas (quiches) are another good option, usually made with spinach, kale, or zucchini.
Arroz quesu White rice cooked with queso Paraguay is a popular side dish.
Tallarin Another tasty option if you are okay with simply removing meat from a dish. Though the dish is simple (thick yellow noodles with red sauce) it is Paraguay’s number one comfort food.
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