If you’re looking for an interesting and exotic culinary experience, you should try some Paraguayan food. This South American country has a distinct cuisine that is worth sampling. While the dishes may vary depending on which region of Paraguay you’re in, they all have one thing in common: a love of flavorful herbs and spices. So if you’re up for a new adventure, make sure to add some Paraguayan dishes to your list!
What’s the Food Like in Paraguay?
Paraguayan Food: A Short History
Before Paraguay was colonized by the Spanish, it had no food specifically made for them as a nation. Instead, Paraguayans ate many foods that were also eaten in other parts of Latin America such as corn, beans, and potatoes.
However, one type of food unique to Paraguay is the chipa which is a round bread full of cheese and baked until golden brown.
After being baked it is cut into squares and served with cream on top. This Paraguayan food first came from Spaniards who first explored Paraguay and inspired natives to make their own version of Spanish dishes using local ingredients instead of ingredients that had to be imported.
When Paraguay gained independence there were many wars between different political groups fighting for control of the country. This lack of peace along with involvement in several war efforts exhausted Paraguay because it did not have any way to produce or import food.
Many years later, farming began to grow once again and the production of agricultural goods increased so much that by 1870 all regions of Paraguay had food specifically created for them.
The use of cassava also became popular during this time frame because it was so easy and simple to make and could last a long time without spoiling allowing people to stock up on supplies in case they ran out and couldn’t buy more food.
Today there are still many traditional foods eaten in Paraguay such as chipa, sopa paraguaya (a cornbread soup), and empanadas (meat pies).
Some Of The Most Popular And Traditional Paraguayan Food
Paraguayan food is not really different from other Latin American countries. Paraguayans are very proud of their typical dishes, but also enjoy international cuisine.
One feature that sets Paraguayan food apart from other national cuisines is the use of ingredients such as meat, manioc, vegetables, fruits, and maize, which add to the distinct flavor and taste of traditional Paraguayan dishes.
If you get a chance to visit this South American country, here’s a list of 20 Paraguay foods you should try:
Empanadas are baked or fried dough balls stuffed with meat and vegetables and seem to originate in Spain and Portugal. They’re eaten all over Latin America and can be spicy or sweet The ones sold in Paraguay tend to be spicy, so be sure to check whether they’re hot enough for you before buying one.
2) Sopa Paraguaya
Called ‘Paraguayan soup’ in English because of its similarities with other Latin American soups like mondongo or sancocho. It’s made with beef tripe.
If you don’t know what tripe is, it’s the stomach lining of a cow and can be cooked in different ways depending on the country where it’s prepared, but sopa paraguaya uses lemon juice and spices like cumin, which make it quite unique.
According to local legend (and many foreigners who’ve tried it), this Paraguayan food helps relieve hangovers after a night of partying!
This one is for your sweet tooth – sopa paraguaya consists of Manjar Blanco (similar to dulce de leche), cream, cheese, and cornflour. It’s usually served in bars or restaurants with completos (hotdogs).
Chipa is a light-baked bread that looks like a muffin and has a soft texture. This Paraguayan food is similar to Portuguese Pao de queijo or Greek tiropita, which you can find in Paraguay as well. The dough for chipa is made of cassava starch (which is very different from regular flour), eggs, cheese, and butter.
4) Asado al disco
This dish consists of beef tenderloin cooked on a metal disc (called ‘discos’ or ‘sudados’) with various pieces of vegetables such as potatoes and corn cobs. These discs were once used by farmers to press together cut squares of beef to make Asado or Carne desmechada, a shredded beef dish.
Cazuela is a light broth with a variety of vegetables, typically carrots and cabbage, sometimes corn, beans, or peas. The most famous cazuela dish is locro con Caney or ‘corn cow’ – but since that’s not really difficult to find in other Latin American countries, here’s another version: locro de papa aka potato soup! Locro is typically served during Paraguayan festivities such as patron saints’ days and is usually made with fresh cream.
This meat stew is the most popular Paraguayan food, it is consists of thin slices of pork marinated in garlic and black pepper, scallions, and ginger root. It’s often served with a side of chipa or mbeju.
Similar to chipahuaco, Mbeju is a meat stew that consists of thin slices of beef marinated in spices, black pepper, and garlic. It’s usually served with side dishes like mandioca or rice on holidays or special occasions.
8) Chipa guazu / Chipa so’o
This dish comes from the Guairá department – an eastern Paraguayan region where you’ll find lots of forests and waterways. Their chipas are similar to chipahuacos but bigger and have fillings such as beans, cheese, eggs, cornmeal mush (gofio), cream cheese, or even fresh cheese! The vegetarian version is called ‘chipa so’o’.
9) Pastel mandi’o
Another Guairá specialty, pastel Mandino is a meat pie that consists of ground beef or chicken, spices, and vegetables like potatoes or carrots. It’s similar to Brazilian empanadas, where the mixture is stuffed between two layers of dough before being baked.
10) Asado al palo / Pescado al palo
This barbecued meat dish consists of thin slices of beef marinated in garlic and served with pepper sauce. The term ‘al palo’ means ‘on a stick’, but unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can eat it like kebab!
11) Mju de choclo (sweetcorn cake)
As the name implies, this sweetcorn cake is made with corn instead of flour. It’s very similar to Colombian arepas de choclo but can be eaten at any time of day since Paraguayans eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s also great for making empanadas!
12) Trigo escaldado / Arvejas guisadas (scalded wheat / stewed peas)
Paraguayan foods often combine meat with vegetables, especially corn and peas – Trigo escaldado is a simple dish consisting of boiled wheat grains served with boiled or fried corn kernels while arvejas guisadas are cooked peas in a tomato sauce seasoned with salt, garlic, and cloves.
13) Arroz con Leche
Although this Paraguay food may look Italian, it’s actually Paraguayan! It’s made by cooking rice with milk and cinnamon until all the liquid has been absorbed. The final result is a creamy ‘Arroz con Leche that tastes like an awesome rice pudding – try it out at Asuncion’s Mercado 4!
14) Chipa al horno / Chorizo encebollado (baked chipa / sausages & onions)
This common Paraguayan dish consists of baked chipas or chorizos served with onions, typically during big parties or special occasions.
15) Mandioca frita
Mandioca is thinly sliced and deep-fried, served with any of the above dishes. This is one of the very attractive Paraguay foods.
Salchipapa is similar to chipahuaco but instead of thin slices of beef, it’s made with deep-fried hot dogs or sausages! It can be eaten at any time of day and usually comes in a sandwich.
17) Churrasco al plato / Arroz con trucha (grilled steak / trout rice)
These two dishes are commonly found at Paraguayan parrillas – churrasco is thin slices of meat grilled over an open fire while Arroz con trucha consists of cooked rice mixed with pieces or whole boiled trout. The best place for this kind of cuisine is in Villa Morra, just outside of Asuncion!
No Paraguayan food list would be complete without mentioning these two delicious snacks! The first one consists of deep-fried pieces of pastry similar to Venezuelan arepas while yaparacuas are smaller deep-fried pastries filled with Manjar Blanco. They’re both great accompaniments to a cup of tea or coffee!
19) Tabla de fiambres / Locro
Finally, no meal is complete without something to drink – Paraguayans love their tereré (a type of infusion made with cold water), Mate tea, and horchata. The best accompaniments for food are locro, a fruit juice made from the Brazilian palm fruit, or tabla de fiambres which consists of cured meats like salami and ham! Try all these delicious dishes at Asuncion’s Mercado 4 if you’re ever in Paraguay.
1. What does Paraguay eat for breakfast?
Breakfast in Paraguay usually Cocido, which is a type of mate that has been cooked with sugar and milk, is a common breakfast. It also includes bread and butter, as well as coffee and pastries.
2. What is a traditional dessert in Paraguay?
One of Paraguay’s most common desserts is dulce de leche, which consists of milk and sugar boiled down to a caramel-like consistency. This custard-like spread can be used as an ingredient in other dishes, such as ñembo ñembo (a cake made with dulce de leche), or eaten by itself.
Other deserts similar to dulce de leche are manjar blanco, which is more solid, and cuajada con membrillo, a combination of cuajada (a soft cheese made from fresh or soured milk) with quince jam.
3. What are some traditional Paraguayan appetizers?
Popular Paraguayan appetizers include empanadas fritas (fried, baked, or boiled empanadas), chipa (a bread made with cheese, milk, and corn), and humitas (similar to an enchilada).
4. What is the national dish of Paraguay?
The national Paraguay food is chipa guasu (approximate translation: big chipa), a large baked cornbread made with queso Paraguay (a type of cheese), onions, tomatoes, and oil.
5. What are some Paraguayan street foods?
Paraguay’s most common street food is mondongo, which are beef stomachs boiled down in a tomato-based soup. The dish can also include plantains, yucca, carrots, peas, and corn.
Other common street foods in Paraguay include fiambre (a salad consisting of cured meats), tortillas de manta ray (a type of flour tortilla filled with meat or cheese), sopa paraguaya (similar to chicken pot pie), and pan de yuca (a bread made with fresh coconut and cornflour).
Final Thoughts of Paraguay Food
Paraguay has a diverse and delicious food scene, including many dishes that are unique to this country. If you’re looking for something new and exciting in the world of cuisine or just want some recommendations on where to start your culinary adventure, we’ve got 19 amazing foods from Paraguay here for you! Check them out above.