Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Exotic Foods Abound in Colombia
Although "exotic" foods abound in Colombia, the most succulent, flavorful offerings are its locally-made soups. One of the many pleasures of living and teaching English as a foreign language abroad is the opportunity to sample and savor a unique plethora of foods. From chilly Bogotá, Colombia's mountain-located capitol city, through aromatic seafood soups from the Pacific coast to the steaming goodness of Cali, Salsa music capitol of Colombia, here are some of the country's best soups.
Here Are Six Succulent Soups from Colombia
" Sancocho de Gallina
The national dish of Colombia, this hearty soup is made with a whole stewed chicken or rooster including the feet. Added in are yucca, yellow plantain, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and seasonings. It's served with a bed of steaming white rice and fresh slices of locally-grown avocado.
A truly hearty meal in which cubes of tripe are cooked until tender, then added into a stew of vegetables like yucca, yellow plantain, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, peas and seasonings. It's also often served with a bed of steaming white rice. A cold, locally-brewed beer goes well with this too.
As creamy a soup as they get, this specialty of Bogotá is made with tender chicken breast, two varieties of potatoes; small yellow potatoes and white potatoes, yucca and lots of fresh whole milk to give it its characteristic creamy texture and light color. It's served with Guasca (a green, leafy vegetable) and Alcaparras (capers) and is a taste sensation you'll likely never forget.
Another milk-based soup commonly served in Bogotá and environs for breakfast. It is simple with beef broth, milk, and eggs as its main ingredients. Parsley is often sprinkled on top for added color and bouquet.
" Sancocho de Pescado
Along Colombia's Atlantic and Pacific coasts, this full version of the national dish is made with several types of seafood instead of chicken. Fried slices of yellow or green plantain accompany this dish as does white rice cooked in coconut milk instead of water. Sliced fresh avocado, tomato and fried fish are often piled on a platter next to the bowl of soup which is actually more like a stew.
" Caldo de Costillas
The third highest capitol city in the world, Bogotá can get quite chilly mornings and late evenings year-round. For a great chilly morning pick-me-up you can't do better than a bowl of this simple beef broth cooked with white potatoes and a healthy slab of meaty beef rib thrown in, always still on the bone. Bread or arepa (a thick flour tortilla-like bread) on the side help fuel you up for a busy day in Colombia's capitol city. Add a hot cup of Colombia's rich, mild coffee and you're good to go for the day.
If you're feeling adventuresome, then by all means try the "Hormigas Culonas" ants from Santander, the flaky smoked shark called "Tollo", or dip into a stew of Iguana meat. But for me, I'll savor the flavors of these wonderful broths and hearty meals served with rice, fried plantain or a flat, toasted "arepa". Any way you try them, they're all simply delicious. Whether it's "exotic" foods or one of the locally-made traditional soups, your taste buds are in for a treat when you come to Colombia.