The Most Common Food in South America

South America is a continent full of different cultures, each with its own set of traditional dishes. However, when it comes to identifying the most common food in South America, there is one dish that stands out from the rest – rice and beans.

The Origins of Rice and Beans

The origins of rice and beans can be traced back to Africa, but it has become a staple in many South American countries. The dish is known by different names, for example, Gallo pinto, Arroz con Frijoles, Moros y Cristianos, among others.

Preparation of Rice and Beans

Although the recipe varies by region and country, the basic preparation of rice and beans remains the same. To prepare the dish, you need to cook rice with beans and spices like cumin, garlic, and chili pepper until the mixture is fluffy and deeply flavored. Depending on the region, the dish can be served with meat, plantains, yucca, or salad.

Why Is Rice and Beans So Common in South America?

One reason for the dish’s popularity could be attributed to its affordability and nutritional value. Rice and beans are inexpensive, readily available, easy to prepare, and a good source of protein, vitamins, and fiber.

Another significant influence on the popularity of rice and beans in South America is history. During the colonial era, the African slaves brought as laborers to South America introduced this culinary tradition. Over time, the dish has evolved into a symbol of cultural identity and national pride.

Variations of Rice and Beans Around South America

Although rice and beans may be the most common dish in South America, it comes with different variations. In Brazil, for instance, the dish is known as Feijoada and is made with black beans and various meats like sausages, beef, and pork.

In Venezuela, the dish is called Pabellón Criollo, and it’s served with shredded beef, plantains, and cheese. The Colombian version, known as bandeja paisa, has rice, beans, chorizo, avocado, and fried eggs. Peruvian rice and beans are called Tacu-Tacu and can be served with seafood, meat, or vegetables on top.


Rice and beans are a staple food of South America, enjoyed by millions of people. It’s an affordable and nutritious dish that has become a symbol of cultural identity and national pride. This culinary tradition shows that the food we eat not only sustains us but also tells the story of our society and history.

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