Editor’s Note: Colombian-born, Oklahoma-educated, lover of avocados…sounds like an ES-er! Please welcome our newest contributor, Cyborg.
I know, I know, you’re probably thinking: “There’s more to Colombia than coffee (and drugs and violence)—say whaaa?” to which I say “Damn the media AHH!!” but there is. From a Colombian foodie to you, let me open your mind to a new world of opportunities and deep-fried dreams.
First of all, let me get this off my chest and I’m sorry for what I’m about to do but the world needs to know: America has robbed its people of avocado greatness. Last time I was in Colombia I decided to take photographic proof of what the real deal is so voilà. Buenos dias, avocado the size of my face!
OK, now that I’ve set the record straight, let’s get serious. Here are four can’t-miss Colombia foods.
1. Arepa Rellena
Where do I even start? Imagine a corn patty that you stuff with eggs, cheese, shredded beef, and/or chicken and pretty much anything your heart desires; and then you deep fry it in heavenly oil. The result? Oh Em Gee you wanna call this place your new home. Not convinced? Spread some suero costeno on that puppy and it’s a first class ticket to foodtopia. Suero costeno is the Colombian version of sour cream but it tastes more like cream cheese, which gives it that perfect amount of slight acidity that makes you go NOM!
2. Plantain Platters
Now, on to some serious food for thought. What in the world is better than fried chorizo, spicy guac, thick bacon and meaty chicharrones??? ALL of the above served on a dish made of deep fried plantain is the correct answer!! Yes, this happens and it’s glorious!!!!!
Also, note the bean dip and hot sauce dip on the side cause–duh, who doesn’t wanna dip all of this stuff in hot sauce and beans? Man, if this doesn’t make you wanna book a ticket right meow, I know what will, and the answer is: Ajiaco.
This is one of the things that make me a proud Colombian, because I swear it doesn’t matter what kind of shitty day you’ve had—eat a bowl of this goodness and you’re good to go. It consists of four different kinds of potatoes (!!!) that fall apart and give it a creamy-ish texture, plus shredded chicken, a whole corn on the cob and guasca herbs, which are very aromatic and so hard to find here! Finally, it is typically served with cream, capers and wait for it—yes, you guessed it, giant avocados!! (side note: does anybody agree with me when I say capers don’t get NEARLY enough attention?)
Anyway, so delicious, so nutritious, and it leaves you feeling nothing less than blissful. Bonus: it is usually paired with Refajo which consists of half Kola Champagne-flavored soda and half beer. I know—I love this place too.
4. The Guava-Dulce de Leche-Cheese Quesadilla
So in other words, everything that is right with the world. I like guava as much as the next guy, but I do find it to be overbearing at times. However, the cheese really comes through and saves the day (as usual) and makes this an exquisite combination! I was also surprised to see how well the tortilla tasted with the powdered sugar and nutmeg, and I do recommend toasting it a tiny bit more than you would with a regular quesadilla because the smoky flavor helps tone down the saltiness and it gives it the perfect amount of roastiness. It just works!
Bottom Line: GET.HERE.NOW!