In preparation for a day visit to my aunts farm for horseback riding, swimming in the river and having a picnic my dear aunt woke me up early with delicious smells of arroz con guandu, gallina de patio (free range chicken cooked in traditional tomato based sauce), and fried platano maduro (fried sweet plantains)! Normally when I visit Chiriqui I try to sleep in as late as possible and just relax, but this particular Sunday I just could not stay put. When I rolled out of bed and wandered to the kitchen I was stricken with the site of the giant pots of food ready for our day. Then I noticed my aunt was wrapping the food in giant palm leaves! I asked, "Tia que es eso?" and she explained that it was a mono...uh what a monkey?....at this point I she furthered explained that that was the name for the traditional Panamanian way to wrap food in a palm leaf called bijao. When finished it looks like a giant tamale. At this point I was like wow! This is totally awesome because you have your food container and plate all in one! It's eco-friendly! Biodegradable! Hours later when we arrived by the riverside and set-up our picnic the food was still warm and just perfect.
How to make mono aka Panamanian Eco-Friendly Lunchbox
a) first take clean palm leaf or bijao b) fill with food c) wrap like a burrito-fold sides in first then top and bottom d) tie with some string