by J. Robertson Miller, 2023
Panamá City is multicultural. Throughout the year various groups hold festivals to showcase their foods and cultures.
In March, the Greek community held its fiesta at the Greek Orthodox Church. It was a fundraiser so there was a small entrance fee. Everything was decorated in the traditional blue and white colors.
A band was performing on the stage. Later there was dancing. The big thing was the food. Greece is known for delicious pastries and cookies. Informative labels sat in front of each variety. The name was clearly written then a listing of ingredients. This is helpful for people with dietary restrictions, allergies or just curious.
Another table offered salads and two more long tables held the hot foods. They smelled so good. I wanted to try them all but there were too many. Again, helpful signs listed choices available. The prices were reasonable.
Servers, behind each table, wore matching blue shirts. People were lined up at each table ordering, others studied the menu signs trying to decide. You pay with tickets purchased at a separate booth. This speeds up the lines as the servers don’t have to handle cash and make change.
I chose the moussaka and spanikopita. Both delicious. We went into the dining room. It seemed crowded but we found space after looking around for a bit. You could also eat outside if you wished, closer to the stage, listening to the music.
After we ate, we walked around to see the crafts that were for sale. There was jewelry, hand bags, T-shirts, souvenirs and much more. Deli Gourmet, a chain of stores in the city, had a display of imported Greek products.
As we left, we saw they had a raffle on a beautiful black mountain bike. We bought a ticket but we were not lucky that day. Oh, well, maybe next year.
I’ve put this fiesta on my calendar for next year. It is a fun way to learn a bit about another culture. Also, those fresh golden triangles of baklava – got to get more of them.