Makan Latino shares the recipes Latin ladies love

Hungry? You will be by the time you finish reading this post.

According to Mariana Spinelli, an active member of the Latin Women’s Association of Malaysia: “Behind every recipe, there is a woman willing to share her secrets; her way of captivating and indulging through a dish”.

With the Association’s launch of their fabulous cookbook, Makan Latino, we are given a backstage pass directly into the kitchens of their members and the recipes they have accumulated from their home countries plus favorites from their travels around the world.

Readers are in for a treat – literally. From Brazilian prawns in pumpkin and Spanish Empanadas to Malaysian beef rendang, Makan Latino shares the closely held culinary secrets of their members with us. Frankly, if this book doesn’t have you running to the supermarket for ingredients nothing will.

Flavours from across the world

Makan Latino (literally translated as Eat Latino) is a compilation of 200 recipes shared over the past 15 years through cooking classes conducted by the members of the Association. The contributors’ love of cooking is apparent in every recipe and Mariana hopes that Makan Latino will be “enjoyed and spread around; so that every flavour, every aroma, will evoke in your guests, your family and you, the land, family and traditions which the Latin Women’s Association of Malaysia gathers and promotes, with dedication and care, from our home away from home here in Malaysia”.

makan latino latin cook book - Happy Go KL

The recipes provide insight into the dishes that Latin families enjoy every day at home and during celebrations, on casual and special occasions. Some recipes have been passed down through the generations, others celebrate more recent experiences cooking for friends and family here in Malaysia.

“The book includes some traditional Malaysian dishes as a homage to our host country and to showcase the cultural exchange that the Association supports between Malaysia and Latin American countries,” Mariana says.

It seems highly appropriate that in a country where the question “have you eaten?” is an everyday greeting, that the Association is keen to share their culture’s passion for food with the Malaysian community as a collaborative experience. In fact, the entire project has been a great example of collaboration with students from the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) providing the design and translation skills needed to bring the book from concept to the kitchen.

ISKL’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Spanish literature teacher, Ana Gayoso described it as wonderful opportunity for her students currently undertaking the IB diploma to put their skills into practice in a real-life commercial setting.

“We have 30 students taking Spanish Language and Arts and IB Spanish A which is the literature component of the bilingual IB. It’s so important for students to practice using the language in different settings. Translating the recipes written by the Latin women representing so many different Spanish speaking countries created a truly authentic experience for our students and helped build their confidence in what is typically a heritage language for them – in other words a language which is integral to their upbringing but not necessarily a language they have complete fluency in,” explains Ana. It was also an invaluable opportunity for ISKL’s art students to help with the book’s design and layout and highly rewarding to see the final product on sale.

latin ladies cookbook - Happy Go KL

Try the recipes with Chef Martha and support an important cause

For contributors, students and the Association’s production team alike, there has been the added bonus of knowing their work is contributing to an important cause;  all proceeds raised from book sales go towards supporting the education of 180 refugee children at Fugee School in Kuala Lumpur.

To help raise funds for this fantastic cause ISKL is holding an exclusive cooking class led by legendary Latina Chef Martha from Martha’s Kitchen. The class will take place at ISKL’s Ampang Hilir campus on Thursday, April 25th, and promises to be a fun and food filled morning. The registration fee will cover ingredients, a copy of Makan Latino and proceeds will be donated to Fugee School. Numbers are limited to 20 and the registration closes on April 18th. To register or find out more click here. Non ISKL community members are welcome to attend!

If you can’t attend the cooking class and want a reminder of the wonderfully diverse expatriate community we all enjoy here in Malaysia then Makan Latino is the perfect solution. 15 years of cooking classes distilled into one book and sold with Latino love in aid of a worthy cause – the perfect recipe for a great cookbook. Makan Latino can be purchased online here.


Latin Women’s Association of Malaysia is a non-profit organization that promotes activities and events to help integrate the Ibero American community in Malaysia while supporting those who are in need.  For more information visit:

This post is sponsored by ISKL.

About ISKL

Established in 1965, The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) has become known as a center of excellence in the world of international education. ISKL is a co-educational private, not-for-profit school responsible for the learning journey of over 1,600 students aged 3-18 from over 60 countries at its state-of-the-art campus in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

ISKL offers a robust international curriculum which combines leading North American educational frameworks with global best practice.  The curriculum recognizes that students are on a lifelong learning journey and is driven by ISKL’s mission to challenge each student to “Be All You Are” and develop the attitudes, skills, knowledge, and understanding to become a highly successful, spirited, socially responsible global citizen.

ISKL is an IB World School and has been authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to provide the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) since 1989. In addition to the full IBDP, students also have the option of combining individual IB, Advanced Placement and High School Diploma courses to create a customized program tailored to their abilities, interests, and aspirations. The flexibility of ISKL’s academic program creates global opportunities; last academic year over 160 graduating students representing 48 different nationalities received acceptances over 400 universities in 26 countries spanning 5 continents!

ISKL is also accredited internationally through the Council of International Schools (CIS), and in the United States through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). ISKL has a strong focus on service and sustainability across its divisions and is a member of  the Eco-Schools organization and the Green Schools Alliance.

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