Monday, May 2, 2011

Comida en Colombia

One of the joys of traveling, for me, is to try the local food. Colombian cuisine is largely influenced by the Peruvian and Brazilian tradition so a lot of beef, rice, potatoes, chicken, and fish. They also have a lot of restaurants that offer seafood ceviche and sushi which I love. Parts of Colombia serve guinea pig and roasted ants and they are considered a delicacy. I have yet to try either and not sure I will!

We have been here for a month, five more to go, but have had our share of Colombian food so I thought I would provide a “crash course” in Colombian cuisine.

Arepas are flat, round and made of cornmeal. They are the basic side to almost any Colombian meal. Most arepas are grilled or baked and have melted cheese inside. They are a cross between a thick pancake or a thinner English Muffin. For breakfast, arepas are served either plain or stuffed with scrambled eggs while lunch and dinner arepas have meat and vegetables inside; like a sandwich.
Bandeja Paisa is probably the national dish of Colombia. It is a huge mixture of food that consists of grilled steak, fried pork rind, chorizo sausages, rice and red beans that is then topped with a fried egg and a side of avocado.
Empanadas are a popular snack in Columbia and can be found in most restaurants. They are either fried or baked and filled with beef, chicken and/or cheese as well as with rice or potatoes. Empanadas are usually served with Aji, which is a sauce made of cilantro, green onions, red or black pepper, vinegar, salt and lemon juice. It is very good!!
Aijaco Santafereno is one of my favorite dishes in Bogota. It is a hearty chicken and potato soup that has chunks of chicken, two to three kinds of potatoes, one piece of corn on the cob and an herb called guascas. The herb gives the soup a wonderful flavor. It is usually drizzled with some table cream, and capers and sliced avocados on the side.
Like a lot of South American countries, Parilla cooking is extremely prevalent in Colombia. The cuisine is simple and naturally flavorful, cooked over a large charcoal or wood fired grill.This is by far the best way to have your meat cooked!
Buñuelos are popular ball shaped fritters that are eaten as a snack. It is made with corn starch, small curd white cheese, milk and gets fried until golden brown. They are also a typical Christmas dish in Colombia.
Patacones are green plantains that are flattened and deep fried.
Calentado literally means “heated” and is a traditional Colombian breakfast. It is made with leftover beans and rice from the night before and then served with eggs, chorizo or meat. You will find this dish on almost any Colombian breakfast menu.
Horacio Barbato – All time FAVORITE restaurant in Usaquen
Oliveto Pizzeria – THE BEST brick oven pizza and pasta in Zona G
La Hamburgeseria – great place for live music & food is very good.  Lots of different burgers. Usaquen best location.
Crepes and Waffels - Great crepes and ice cream; all over the city
Patagonia – Argentina Restaurant in Usaquen
Wok – Japanese in Zona G and Zona Rosa
Armadillo – Best tuna steak
Astrid & Gaston – Very pricey but was good in Zona G
Fish Market La Fragata – Great crab cakes and seafood selection.  Best in Zona Rosa
Osaki – Great Japanese in Zona G and Usaquen
Andres Carnes des Res – Best in Chia; once in a lifetime experience. Zona Rosa okay
Mister Ribs – American style restaurant – great steaks
Casa Mexicana – Favorite Mexican place
La Famiglia – High end Italian restaurant in Zona G.  Great top floor bar / lounge area

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