As I reflect on my time in Panama, the first thing that comes to mind is?corvina!!  Corvina, or sea bass as we call it in English, seems to be linked to all of my favorite moments that I had outside of the medical center.  At our official welcome lunch at the causeway I enjoyed corvina in a creole sauce with rice. It was a beautiful day and we were right across from the water at arestaurant called Pencas.  Not only was this my first time eating corvina, it was my first time at the causeway where people can enjoy bike riding, restaurants and shopping.

My next corvina encounter occurred the next night when three of us decided to try a Peruvian restaurant near the hotel called Machu Picchu.  There were many delicious looking items on the menu but I quickly became attracted to a dish that consisted of corvina in a Peruvian sauce that was topped with shrimp and came with a side of rice.  This was my first exposure to Peruvian food and it was a good one.  In addition to the food being really good, our waiter was really great and was very entertained by the fact that were from Los Angeles.

After dinner at the Peruvian restaurant, it only took a few days for my third meeting with corvina to take place.  This time it happened at the very popular and very busy fish market in Panama City.  A group of us had been waiting all week to have the chance to go to the fish market and eat some ceviche and freshly caught fish for lunch and today was the day. We enjoyed two types of ceviche; shrimp and a combination type that included octopus, squid and shrimp as well. To follow up the ceviche we had—that’s right you guessed it—corvina!  We all dug in on fried filets of freshly caught corvina with a side of plantains. Our group then decided to walk back to the hotel where we got to seedifferent parts of the city on our way back.

Three days after my afternoon at the fish market, I enjoyed a fried filet of corvina at arestaurant within walking distance of hotel. Three of us ventured out that evening and decided to try a new restaurant called Costa Azul.  Costa Azulhad your typical Panamanian foods, which of course included fried corvina.  It had been several days since I had lastenjoyed corvina, and I couldn’t resist the chance to try another restaurant’s version of my new favorite fish.

My last encounter with corvina was also my favorite; we were at the fish market once again but this time it was forgone of our last meals in Panama.  We tried a new spot and everything seemed to be even better than the last time we were at the fish market. This was also the time where I decided to live dangerously and order the whole fish. Ok, well what really happened was I wanted to try a different fish and when I ordered the waitress told me no, and then told me what my order was going to be and that was that.  My order turned out to be a whole fried corvina with plantains (I got to choose the plantains).  The entire meal was delicious and set the tone for a great day to follow.  We left the fish market and Jaido, our driver, took us to a place where local crafts are sold so we could buy gifts for our families and friends.  After that we went to ride bikes along the causeway.  The bikes were four person bikes and we rode them to an area where we stopped for froyo and smoothies before riding back.  After the bikes, we went back to the hotel and got ready for our goodbye dinner where we enjoyed traditional Panamanian food and folk dancing. Like I said it was a great day, and of course it would not have been complete if it did not involve a meal of my beloved corvina.


About the MPH Panama Practicum

A group of University of Southern California graduate students are researching public health in Panama City, Panama, for a two-week international practicum, organized by the USC Master of Public Health (MPH) program. This post was excerpted from panama.usc.eduView all posts in this series »