A really popular choice for many first time TEFL teachers; South America undoubtedly has a huge variety of tasty food. From a cultural mix of Mediterranean influence in Argentina, through to the world famous ceviche (raw fish) in Peru, there really is something for everyone. Here are 5 cusines you must try in South America on your TEFLing adventure.
Starting in the North
If you’re thinking of teaching English in South America then a great place to start is at the North of the continent in Colombia. Colombian cuisine varies regionally and is influenced by indigenous, Spanish, African, Arab and some Asian influences; not to mention, if you’re a coffee enthusiast (definitely not me!), Colombian coffee is well-known for its high quality.
Colombia doesn’t have a national dish as such although seafood and fish dishes are part of the coastal cuisine with fried red snapper being a favourite of the locals.
In Brazil there are three top TEFL destinations; Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia, where you can find some mouth-watering food.
Top three dishes that can’t be missed in Rio de Janeiro:
1. Churrasco: A dish that can be made with up to ten kinds of meat from chicken to alligator accompanied with traditional Brazilian rice or a fresh, colourful salad.
2. Sopa Leão Veloso: A seafood broth with shrimp heads, served with onions, tomato and saffron.
3. Ambrosia de Melão: A refreshing dessert of assorted fruits complemented by shredded coconut and melon.
We arrive at Peru where the culture is predominantly rooted in Amerindian and Spanish tradition. Peru’s diverse climate allows the growth of various plants and animals which are great for cooking; and for those of you who’re interested in cooking whilst you’re teaching English in South America, there’s a famous Peruvian dish called Ceviche which is a very popular lime marinated seafood dish which is also really easy to make (bonus!).
Down to the south of the continent you’ll find Argentina. The demand for trained TEFL teachers is always constant in this beautiful country, especially in the capital of Buenos Aires known for its European influence, so if you’re missing home comforts or simply just fancy a good old pizza this is where you want to be. On the other hand if you need to unwind after a hard day teaching why not try some of the very famous locally produced wines.
For those of you with a sweet tooth you should relish the traditional “alfajor” which is a crunchy biscuit covered and filled with smooth milk caramel (absolutely delightful if I say so myself!).
Our final stop on our culinary tour of South America is Ecuador. TEFL teacher, Alix fondly recalls her time teaching English in Ecuador and offers her advice on what to expect living there as a TEFL teacher:
‘It’s exciting, enticing and at times exasperating. Go for as long as you can. Take care of bad drivers and gas cylinders that leak and dodgy electrics and bad water. Travel as much as you can and have as many adventures as possible. Do not flaunt your wealth or your innocence; but do not be put off by other peoples’ bad stories or negative attitudes. I’ve been there 3 times and yes, something crazy will always happen to you, but that’s how the best memories are made.’
Yeah, yeah but what’s the food like? Meat, meat, carbs and carbs. Ecuadorians love their pork, chicken, beef and sorry, guinea pig, served in a variety of ways but is usually accompanied by rice. Yum!
Thinking about teaching English in South America? Or are you already there? What’s your favourite cuisine and what tips do you have for someone thinking about teaching there?
Photo’s Sourced – www.flickr.com/photos/schmaeche/