Thursday, March 22, 2012

Colombia's Food Fare - What to Eat and not to miss!

I know, I know... It's been such a looong time since my last post! But trust me, I bring some great culinary adventures and a great New Year full of more exciting recipes to share with you... and so I hope you will forgive my absence. Apart from the December Holidays, which I will talk about in my next post, I was in my home country, Colombia, for about 5 weeks. My trip was work related, but nevertheless, it allowed me to dig into the food stuffs that while being away you may at times remember with a bit of nostalgia. This post then, will be dedicated to what to eat whilst in Colombia and the stuff you can't leave the country without trying. You can print this and use it as a checklist...

What to Eat while in Colombia:
- Fruits: The great thing about a tropical country is that there is a lot of fresh produce you can get year round and the variety is just staggering. The abundance of fruit causes it to be included in our daily diets extensively and even our sweets take on the exotic flavours of our fruit, so do not miss any dessert including local fruits or simply try the juices or a Colombian fruit Salad (Also try Salpicon and Cholado), where one bite will be more surprising than the next! The fruits you probably haven't heard of are: Guanabana, Curuba, Pitahaya, Feijoa, Tomate de Arbol, Lulo, Maracuya, Mamoncillo, Mangostino, Tamarindo, Guama, Zapote, Borojo, Badea, Chirimoya, Granadilla (not the same as in SA).
- Typical meals: I will be the first to admit that our typical foods are not the healthiest, but in many cases I find the flavours and combinations are just so unique, that they're worth trying. Now, some of our typical foodfare is so well put together that I think they deserve international recognition. Thus let me break it up in two groups:
  • Typical Adventorous: Fritanga Bogotana (Chunchulla, Morcilla, Longaniza...), Bandeja Paisa (Chorizo, Red Kidney Beans with pork feet, rice, fried egg, arepa, chicharron, carne en polvo, etc), Mondongo (Beef Belly soup), Tamal Tolimense (chicken, pork and beef cooked with rice and maize puree inside a plantain leaf), Colombian Hot Dog, Maiz Desgranado, Patacon con todo, Arepa con todo, Pinchos de Mollejas/Corazones (Kebabs made with chicken hearts and/or giblets), Empanadas (meat or chicken filling wrapped with a maize dough and deep fried), BuƱuelos (deep fried corn flour and fresh salty cheese balls).
  • Typical Gourmet: Carne a la llanera (when you try this, get there before 11 am and ask for Entreverado), Lechona (Whole Pork deboned and stuffed with its own meat, rice, yellow peas and spices, the look might deceive you but, at least according to me, it is one of the best pork dishes in the world), Ajiaco SantafereƱo, Sancocho de Gallina o Pescado, Envueltos de Mazorca y de Arroz (steamed ground white maize with cheese wrapped in a mielie leaf), Chicharron, Arepa con Queso y Arepa de Choclo, Arroz con coco (coconut rice), Pan de Yuca / Pandebono (Baked goodness made with Cassava flour and salty cheese, sometimes filled with Guava paste).
My advice, if you ever go to my country, try it all and don't ask too many questions as some foods are better tasted than described! 

Love, iSa

NOTE: I didn't take much pictures on my trip, so all pics in this page are sourced through Google Images (not my property).

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