Panamanian Fair salad (Ensalada de Feria)


Today’s recipe is a classic in Panama. The name says it all; there is no folk festival or fair in Panama without a good Ensalada de Feria, as it is called there.

When I posted the German salad recipe, I said I had to show you our Panamanian potato salad. And although it has been over a year since then, better late than never, so here it is. The perfect recipe for the summer:  fresh and colorful. The ideal side dish for a BBQ.

You can make it the day before or in the morning and keep it in the fridge until everybody is gather around the table ready to enjoy those ribs or burgers or no matter what, it is THAT good…!


  • 1 kg Russet potatoes. Around 6 small, peeled and cut into medium pieces
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into medium pieces
  • 3 beetroots (boiled or roasted) cut into medium pieces. You can also use canned beetroots
  • 3 hardboiled eggs, cut into quarters or smaller pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
  • Green peas for garnish (optional)



Cover potatoes and carrots with salted water and cook over medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes or until tender, don’t overcook.

In my home, my mother, my aunt and my grandmother used to cook the potatoes and carrots unpeeled and whole. Then, when they were cooked and cold, they peeled and diced them and mixed everything for the salad. This is another one of those images that are stick to me. They also sometimes added apple instead of celery. And that’s a version worth trying too.

When everything is cooked and chopped, place in a big bowl potatoes, carrots, beets and eggs. In another bowl mix the onion, celery, mayonnaise, evaporated milk, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Then incorporate this mixture to the potatoes, mixing gently so that the potatoes do not break.

Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 4 hours at least (overnight is even better). It is convenient to stir it from time to time for the flavors to intermingle and the salad to turn a more dark pink.


Fun facts:

Did you know that the potato was originally believed to have been domesticated

independently in multiple locations, but later genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species proved a single origin for potatoes in the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia, where they were domesticated 7,000–10,000 years ago?

And that it is said that Antoine-Augustin de Parmentier succeeded in introducing the potato into de French diet through the interception of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette? How? By making the potato fashionable!

Parmentier offers a bunch of potato flowers to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Louis XVI put the flowers in his buttonhole and the whole Court followed his example.
Parmentier offers a bunch of potato flowers to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Louis XVI put the flowers in his buttonhole and the whole Court followed his example.

19 Replies to “Panamanian Fair salad (Ensalada de Feria)”

  1. Am smiling about this world of ours: take the carrots out of this and add some smoked ham and diced herring and you get ‘rosolje’ or ‘rosolnik’, the most famous ‘Russian’ salad. eaten all over Northern and North-Eastern Europe as well as all of the Russias . . . Even here in Australia no E European would have friends over without this one going on the table 🙂 !

    1. It is a small world… And that even before Internet! Hehe!
      I hope you’ll try our version of your rosolje and let me know what you think 😉
      Thanks a lot for your comment!

        1. We have a similar salad in Puerto Rico…following Eha’s comments, we have ensalada rusa, or Russian salad, which is the white version. Then we have the pink one, similar to this beautiful Panamanian version, which we call ensalada rosa…

          1. Toda nuestra comida es muy similar al final. Pero aún así nos gusta darle nuestro toque y llamarlas Panameñas, Boricuas, Españolas, Rusas… Todas especiales.
            Muchas gracias por tu comentario Natalia, últimamente no he sido la mejor colega bloguera del mundo 😉

  2. This sounds tasty, Giovanna. Love switching apple for carrot, as well as including beetroot. Not only do you get a fantastic color but a bit of crunch, too. 🙂

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