All over the world, “topping out” or finishing the roof on a new building is a cause for celebration – and Panama is no exception. Here, the folks have put their unique spin on things with a party called a mondongada. It’s a “thank you” to the workers that’s centered around a type of tripe stew called mondongo (Texas peeps, think menudo without the chili peppers).

Our good friends Holly and Scott Carter are building a beautiful house on a mountainside overlooking Boquete, and – lucky us – they invited us to their mondongada last weekend. This is a country where the people love tripe so much they’ve created a party around it, and what a party it was! The focus was on the 10 or so construction workers that are making Holly and Scott’s dream a reality, and they had the time of their lives. The cerveza flowed, the music blared, and we danced our culos off. Seriously, some of these Panamanian kids can bailar (dance).

So how was the mondongo? Wellll . . . it came from one of Boquete’s best Panamanian restaurants and the broth and veggies were delicious, but honestly, the tripe itself was pretty rubbery and I just couldn’t get past what I was eating. Hey, give me some credit; I tried it! Ever the excellent host, Scott had also prepared some of his fantastic lasagna and smoked pulled pork, so there was no way any of us were going away hungry.

Holly is a fellow blogger, and here’s her take on the party. In fact, Holly’s entire blog is a great view into the trials, tribulations, and rewards of building a home in Panama.

So much fun! The pictures tell the tale . . .

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