Chicheme: A Traditional Sweet Corn Panamanian Drink

Many say on a hot day there is nothing better a good Panamanian chicheme. Chicheme is a sweet drink made with corn and milk. Locals say chicheme is thirst-quenching because it is typically served ice cold. Chicheme is also popular among visitors, as it is one of those special treats found only in Panama. A cup of Chicheme can be enjoyed for less than 50 cents. If you are looking for the tastiest chicheme in Panama, your best bet is to head to Chorrera, which is said to be the home of the popular drink. Inside the bustling town, one fonda is said to have had mastered the recipe. Next to the Chorrera bomberos (firefighters), a small fonda called “Chichemito,” draws a crowd daily. Chichemito, is also known as Las Abejas (the bees) because of the swarms of people lining up for fresh pollo asado, arroz and chicheme.  

If you are passing through Capira, “Queso Chela” is another place that brews great Chicheme.
If you are feeling adventurous, try cooking up a batch at home! Here is what you will need:

-    ¼ lb of corn
-    sugar to taste
-    4 cinnamon sticks
-    2 spoons of ground nutmeg
-    3 cups of evaporated milk
-    1 tablespoon of cornstarch
-    vanilla to taste


Wash corn and boil it with the cinnamon sticks. Once the corn becomes soft remove it from the heat and add nutmeg, vanilla, sugar and diluted cornstarch. Stir well, refrigerate until cold. Serve over ice.