Plantains: A Trip Around Latin America

Latin America Plantain Blog


September 15th marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States – which means for the next month, Latin culture is celebrated and revered all over the country in a multitude of industries. From the arts and history, to technology and the sciences, contributions from those of Hispanic heritage are appreciated especially during this month.


Whatever time of the year it is, one thing is certain: food brings people together. And with a rise in the Hispanic population in the United States, nothing brings people together more than sharing traditional Hispanic food such as Mexican tortas, Cuban media noches or Venezuelan arepas.


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One of the most beloved Latin staple foods, the plantain, is considered the 10th most important food crop in the world. It is produced and eaten globally, and is everywhere from Central and South America to the Caribbean, as well as all over Central Africa and Asia.


Because the plantain is so widely produced and eaten, it is natural that it is known by many names. In Latin America specifically, it is referred to differently depending on the country it is in. We’ve taken a trip around Latin America to show you what this fruit is called from country to country, along with some typical dishes using the plantain.




Plantains in North & Central America Graphic



Known as: Plátano Macho

Featured dish: Mole


Chef Juan Carlos - Plantain Mole-jpgYellowtail with Plantain Mole featuring Big Banana® Sweet Plantains


“In Central and Southern Mexico, especially in Puebla and Oaxaca, plantains are an integral part of the mole known as manchamanteles, or “tablecloth stainer.” This dish can be made with different fruits, according to the region and season, but always contains plantains.”


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Known as: Plátano

Featured dish: Rellenitos de Plátano


GuatemalaRellenitos de Plátano via Youtube


Rellenitos de Plátano are a typical Guatemalan dessert made with a ripe plantain outer layer, filled with pureed beans, chocolate, sugar and cinnamon. Fry them on both sides and sprinkle with sugar and you have yourself a delicious stuffed plantain fritter.



Known as: Tajadas

Featured dish: Desayuno Tipico



Eggs, Pureed Black Beans, Queso Blanco, Avocado, and Sweet Plantains with a side of Flour Tortillas


Costa Rica

Known as: Plátano

Featured dish: Gallo Pinto


Costa Rica

Gallo Pinto (Rice and Beans) with Queso Blanco (White Cheese), Eggs and Ripe Plantains


A desayuno tipico (typical breakfast) in Costa Rica consists of ripe plantain slices on the side of rice, beans and white cheese.



Known as: Plátano (Ripe Plantains); Tajadas (Green Plantains)

Featured dish: Tajadas de Queso



Green Plantain Strips topped with Fried Cheese


An amazing side dish to Nicaraguan fritanga!



Known as: Plátano (Ripe Plantain); Chifles (Green Plantain Chips)

Featured dish: Tigrillo



“A quite popular breakfast on the coast of Ecuador is tigrillo, a fried green plantain scramble with buttery eggs and crumbled cheese. The origins of this dish started in coastal towns in the southern region, like Zaruma.”


El Salvador

Known as: Plátano

Featured dish: Salvadoran Plátano Empanadas


El Salvador


Ripe Plantain outer layer with a sweet (condensed milk and sugar) or savory (bean) filling.



Known as: Patacones

Featured dish: Patacones side (Fried Green Plantain)



Tio Jorge® Fried Green Plantain


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Plantains in North & Central America Graphic-2


Known as: Tajadas (Ripe Plantain); Patacones (Green Plantain)

Featured dish: Bandeja Paisa



Medellin’s famous dish, Bandeja Paisa: Churrasco, Sausage, Chicharron (Pork Belly), Rice, Beans, Arepa, Avocado, Fried Egg and Sweet Plantain


Colombia is the biggest producer of plantains in the world. There, the plantain is eaten both ripe and green almost daily.



Known as: Tajadas

Featured Dish: Pabellon Criollo



Pabellon Criollo: White Rice, Black Beans, Shredded Beef and Ripe Plantains


Considered the “national dish of Venezuela”, this typical meal consists of several Latin staples. Add a side of arepa (or better yet, stuff the Pabellon Criollo ingredients inside of one) and you’re golden.



Known as: Tajadas (Ripe Plantain); Patacones (Green Plantain)

Featured dish: Chapo



Peruvian Chapo


This plantain drink hails from the Amazonian edges of Peru, where very ripe plantains (tajadas) are mashed and mixed with cinnamon and honey to create this energizing morning hot drink.



Known as: Tajadas

Featured dish: Majadito



Majadito is a Bolivian recipe consisting of rice, dried meat, chopped onions, and tomatoes. This dish is credited as originating in the city of Santa Cruz and is considered to be one of the national dishes of Bolivia.



Plantains in North & Central America Graphic-3
Fun Fact: The name Tostones comes from the word Tostón, which was the name of the Spanish currency used during the colonial period.


Puerto Rico

Known as: Plátano Maduro (Ripe Plantain); Tostones (Green Plantain)

Featured Dish: Mofongo


Plantain Mofongo H

Mashed green plantain with chunks of pork belly or pork skin (chicharron) is a very common dish in Puerto Rico.



Known as: Plátano Maduro (Ripe Plantain); Tostones (Green Plantain)

Featured Dish: Cuban Sandwich with a side of Plantains



Cuban Sandwich with a side of Plantains


You won’t have trouble finding Cuban sandwiches in Miami either!


Dominican Republic

Known as: Plátano Maduro (Ripe Plantain); Tostones (Green Plantain)

Featured Dish: Mangú



Dominican Mangú (mashed plantain) served with Egg, Meat and Cheese, and usually topped with Red Onions


Mangú is made from mashing boiled green plantain.



A Plantain by Any Other Name Would Taste as Sweet 

As you can tell, plantains have proven to be an essential part of Latin America’s rich culture and cuisine. Although it may be known as different names throughout the Americas and the Caribbean, it is equally important and traditional to a variety of countries, so much so that it is eaten at every stage of ripeness.




Traditionally, plantains must be peeled, sliced, and cooked prior to consuming. But Big Banana® Ripe Plantain products and Tio Jorge® Green Plantain products are available pre-cut and pre-cooked! 


Here at MIC Food® we are helping chefs, restaurants, industrial kitchens, retail brands, delis, and others in the food industry rethink their menus and increase appeal among ethnic and mainstream consumers alike. We provide variety of tropical fruits and vegetables that come peeled and cut, ready-to-heat and serve, saving you hours of prep time so you can focus on what matters the most: making every meal memorable. 


Ready to try our plantains? Contact our sales team and request samples today. Or Ask Our Chef about how you can incorporate plantains into your menu.