A small but mighty Indigenous community in Panama has set the Guinness World Record for the largest patacón in the world. After six months of coordinating and planning, the Emberá community in Ipetí, Panama fried a 245-pound, 11.2-foot wide patacón. To put that in perspective, that equates to about a year’s worth of tostones for Sunday breakfast and is equivalent to the weight of about 40 bricks.
According to CNN, the volunteers who banded together to make this happen wish to use this historic moment to celebrate the Emberá community’s rich culture and Panamanian cuisine.
“We no longer want to be in the statistic of vulnerability,” Sara Omi, community leader, told CNN. “We are rich in knowledge and that’s what we’re demonstrating here today.”
The task was all but an easy one. For starters, it took at least 1,200 plantains and about 330.2 gallons of oil to produce this beauty. Plus, because there is no tostonera large enough to facilitate the flattening process (yet), the mass was spread across the steel mold, which laid atop a large plantain leaf sheet – an ode to the Panamanian tamale – by hand.
All in all, it was a huge team effort of more than 100 people. Some peeled and chopped the plantains while others ground it, and a brave group worked in synchrony to get the beast in the boiling oil with no damages.
They attempted the record on October 16, which also marked World Food Day. Once the large patacón was successfully made, and the Guinness representative confirmed it had exceeded the weight and measure of the previous record by about 11 pounds, everyone celebrated and ate away.
“We want to make an impact not just in Panama but around the world to [encourage people] to learn about the Indigenous communities that have been made invisible with time…,” said Sabrina Naimark, who initiated the project. “This is an opportunity to reconnect.”