My Culinary Trip to Colombia – Part 1

Being Colombian, I figured what better way to continue to enrich the lives of us foodies, than to dedicate a whole section (split in 3 parts) on the uniqueness of Colombian food.

It’s been more than two weeks since I have been back and I already miss the smell of fried goodness, the taste of toasty plantains and of course, the aroma of our own coffee. In Part 1, I am sharing with you traditional Colombian meals from restaurants around the city of Bogota and even little no-name hideouts in the outskirts. Let’s start by describing some of the basics of our food, what we are known for and what makes up most of our daily meals…Arepas.

Culinary Trip to Colombia Part 3

On the roads outside the north side of Bogota, we found a small and cute family-owned store that has a very unique way of making Arepas. The uniqueness comes, as you can see above, from the way in which they cook them. This family created their own baking and grilling machine by adding a “rotisserie” style wheel, closer to the fire, with a customized flat structure that supports the Arepas, yet rotate the dish in which they sit. This makes the process of making them not only more efficient, but also tastier.

Arepas are corn or white flour paties, which can be grilled, baked or fried and sometimes come with a filing. There are however over 10 different kinds of arepa in Colombia. All over the country, regions have their own version of it; and at times, the dish changes in sweetness, flavour, consistency, size or way of cooking. Like the egg arepa for example, which is deep-fried corn dough with a single raw egg inside that is cooked by the frying process. Or the arepa paisa, a very large and flat white maize arepa without salt but accompanied with meat or butter on top, typically found in Antioquia, the land of Pablo Escobar (oh yes, I said it). The arepas on this post are arepa boyacense, aside from being from the region where I was born, this arepa is my favourite of them all. The arepa boyacense is usually filled with white fresh cheese.

Speaking of breakfast, why not show you what a traditional breakfast entitles for most Colombians.

Culinary Trip to Colombia Part 1

Hot Chocolate, scrambled eggs with tomato and onion, white arepa, cheese and envuelto is what makes breakfast for most of us. The eggs might throw you off as these are scrambled with onion and tomato, which in North America is rare. But I invite you to try them, they are delicious. Now the envuleto is the key here. Once again, we speak of corn. Envueltos are corn cakes prepared in the corn’s husk and steamed or baked until cooked. They are, in mind, the best accompaniment to a breakfast, a tradition and a delicacy.

This is what an envuleto looks like once you open the husk…

Culinary Trip to Colombia Part 1

Now on to lunch time. A staple in Colombia, the Ajiaco is a soup based out of potatoes. It typically contains pieces of chicken, large chunks of corn on the cob and various kinds of native potatoes. The soup is rich in flavour and its consistency tends to be dense due to the heavy use of potato. Usually accompanied by capers, avocado, white rice and cream, the Ajiaco will change your mind about the way you eat soups, for good.

Culinary Trip to Colombia Part 1

The way you start eating Ajiaco is by adding the cream and capers, to taste, to the soup (I usually skip on the capers) and then adding or sometimes dipping, with your spoon, the accompaniments onto the soup. Its a fun and tasty spin to lunch.

In my mind, there is no better way to end a meal than with a good coffee, and we Colombians know about coffee. Our coffee is very well balanced, with good body and brightness. Its acidity level its usually so bang on, that you won’t need sugar or added milk to drink a cup of the good stuff.

Culinary Trip to Colombia Part 1

And so we end Part 1 with Mr. Juan Valdez.

Until next time Foodies!

Buen Provecho,
Foodies Inked.

Location: Bogota, Colombia
Food: Arepas,  Envueltos, Ajiaco and Colombian Coffee
Venues: Tienda Club Colombia, Carbon de Palo, El Carajillo + hideouts outside the city
Theme: Traditional

One Response to My Culinary Trip to Colombia – Part 1

  1. Sister!! February 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    OMG!!! I just want to go back and eat everything all over again!! now back to my bland coffe and piece of toast ;o(


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