Succulent Ceviche in Panama City

In the last seven weeks I’ve had Ceviche on Managua’s Malecón, in San José’s traditional market, and for two straight days now in Panama City’s Mercado de Mariscos.

From inadvertently Ceviche-Hopping along half of Central America’s isthmus, I feel that I’m rapidly becoming a Ceviche connoisseur.

Ceviche was invented in either Ecuador or Perú, where now, like most coastal areas of Latin America, this semi-raw and savory delight is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Since I’ve now dubbed myself a true aficionado, I’ll make the claim that the Ceviche of the ‘Mercado de Mariscos’ in Panama City is the freshest and tastiest anywhere, at least where I’ve been. The former sentence is causing my body to crave this epicurean medley.  I can’t wait to return to this classic market that encompassess day-to-day life for so many, while remaining a new and astonishing experience for me.

This heaping Mixed Seafood Ceviche cost $2. 

While looking for a spot to eat one of my three Styrofoam cups that was heaping with mixed marine meat, I met a humble, tattooed and God-fearing local man.  He was waiting for someone to pick-up the shark that he’d caught that day. He had an extra plastic-container-flipped-upside-down-turned-chair.

Looking up into the sky, the weather-beaten fisherman said:

Thank God for this beautiful day, and for these seats.”

I then said to him:

The Ceviche is so fresh.”

He wasn’t the first local to agree as ‘fresco’ is the magic word when speaking of Ceviche here. Besides looking, smelling and tasting terrific, Ceviche is apparently an elixir too.

I have 11 children. I eat three or four of those cups every day. Ceviche helps me to procreate, as does God.”

There was absolutely no imitation crab in this Ceviche. I’ve never tasted crab this succulent. A small but heaping styrofoam cup cost $3.  

What is Ceviche?

According to Cookthink: Ceviche is a seafood salad popular in Latin America that is made from fresh fish that is marinated in citrus, which cooks the fish without heat.

Health Benefits of Ceviche

As Ceviche can be served with any type of fish or seafood, there are many perks:

● Helps maintain a healthy heart

● Decreases symptoms of Arthritis

Immune system booster

● Eaten when pregnant produces a smarter and healthier kid

● Promotes healthy skin  Look at the Japanese and Koreans who eat a lot of seafood

● Good for your eyes

● Decreases risk of Asthma

● Helps in maintaining strong bones

● Reduces risk of Alzheimers

These are just a few perks that I found. There are many other great benefits to this panacea as well.

Do you know of any? Feel free to comment!

I will leave you with a simple thought:  When something tastes so good and is ridiculously healthy, how can you not want more?

Now I’ll push the publish button, then it’s back to the Mercado de Mariscos.  Up until today, this Market is one of my all-time favorite seafood spots on earth.

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There’s a restaurant located above the Market. It serves Ceviche and many other seafood concotions.  I went only for the Ceviche so stuck to the stands below as they’re two to three times cheaper.

The Mercado de Mariscos is located just beside the Casco Viejo neighborhood.

Any taxi driver will be able to take you there for $1 to $2.50 depending on where in Panama City you are.

TIP: If the taxi driver doesn’t have a meter in his cab, gently negotiate the fare before getting in.


6 responses to this post.

  1. NOEL: I’m sure there’s great Ceviche in Boston, it’s all about using fresh fish. Actually, I don’t remember having a bad Ceviche anywhere. I’ve taken a short Ceviche hiatus now after eating it for four or five straight days. It was that good. I was on a Veggie, Ceviche and ice cream diet in Panama City. Why ice cream? Because $.50 cones were in my face in many areas there. What better way to compliment the Veggie and/or Ceviche dishes!


  2. Posted by Noel Keating on March 21, 2011 at 05:04

    I wonder what you would think about the place in Union Sq. that I have been to with you before, now that you have tasted such great Ceviche in Central America?
    I did laugh reading your comment about the man who claimed it helped father 11 chidren! Sounds like he saw an opportunity to brag about his manhood.


  3. SOMERVILLE: Ceviche is so good. North American seafood salad is cooked traditionally as opposed to in lime juice. I tried that chicken style with the vinegar in Chinatown a couple of years back, at a place that is no longer in business. It’s OK, but I prefer chicken warm. Actually, nowadays I only eat chicken when I can’t get seafood and or enough veggies in lieu of.


  4. That sounds so delicious. The only way people ever make seafood salad here is with mayo. It’s interesting about the seafood cooking in the citrus. I was just told that you can cook chicken by marinading it in oil/vinegar; same concept I guess.


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