When two single Jewish women travel in Panama City for a much needed vacation, they can expect to be wined and dined every single evening. And when there are enough good kosher restaurants, over a half dozen, you can bet that these two single girls were happy to oblige. Our friend’s parents alerted the neighborhood of our arrival and every night, there would be a knock at the door and gentleman would sweep us away to a different restaurant. Unfortunately, none of these gentlemen was memorable enough.
But the food was.
One restaurant in particular,Darna, under the creative eye of AyeletVahnish Gal, was worth two trips and a visit to Ayelet’s nearby café that nearly cost us our flight home. My favorite dish was the Corvina Ceviche. Ceviche is made by “cooking fish” in the acid of citrus juice, typically lime juice. I first tried ceviche in medical school when my Venezuelan classmate wanted to share with us some of her favorite foods. In Venezuela, she explained, ceviche is traditionally made with scallops, but she replaced them with a white fish for me. I was fascinated by the idea of cooking fish in the acid of citrus juice and since then, I have many variations with salmon and tuna. But the ceviche at Darna was the first authentic ceviche I had tasted in a long time. Ayelet explained that Panamanian Ceviche differs from other South American ceviches in using more onion and adding celery to the mix for crunch. Ayelet shared her recipe with me and I modified it to accommodate ingredients found in the US. Enjoy!