For the last entry on Colombia, I’ll cover the main courses. To be honest, this was probably the least exciting part of colombian food, but it was still pretty good, depending where you went.
Lunch was fairly standard fare, though we had a much greater selection in Bogotá than in Cartagena or Santa Marta – there were more cosmopolitan, experimental places (not terribly so, but enough to put a little dazzle in your lunch, rather than the Ecuadorian style meat-rice-potato combo). Lunch usually consisted of juice, soup, and main course. A salad may be included, and dessert could often be had in Bogotá – not so much in the other cities. Also, the non-capital cities tended more towards simpler drinks than fruit juice – soft drinks, water, or a delicious drink made of cane sugar and water whose name I can’t recall at the moment. One constant that kept up the tradition we had found all over – it filled you up!
Dinner was pretty much the same as lunch – a selection of typical, cheap plates. Being that it was near the end of our trip, we were stretching pennies, so we didn’t go in for any of the fancy dishes, always settling for these standard dishes. Still, you got soup, some veggies, a good helping of delicious beans (our favourite part), beans, rice, and french fries. It filled you up. The meat was less than inspiring, but it had been all along, and actually, the Colombians could cook meat decently (we’ve have some pretty bad stuff in some places). They also tended to have liver on the menu, which I really loved. At times, it was even done with tomatoes, a great way to take the edge off if you’re a liver-hater. The flavours blend quite nicely!
We did get one special lunch when we were in Cartegena, on the way back from our mud volcano adventure. Fresh-caught fish with the typical trimmings, only this rice was cooked in coconut milk. We had both been really hoping to have more of this up on the coast, but apparently it’s only in the higher-priced restaurants, because this is the only place we got it. The fish was delicious and the rice was heavenly – each bite tasted like a coconut-flavoured angel. Probably the best rice we ate on the continent.
I’ll finish off with a signature Colombian dish – sancocho. Really, it’s just a soup full of STUFF – meat, vegetables, yuca, and a few spices – but everyone does their own and I always enjoyed it. Another recipe that I’ll post when I get the chance to translate it, although it has a list of ingredients as long as your arm. It’s the kind of thing your grandma always makes because she has an entire day to prepare a soup.
All of it was good though, especially after the disappointment of Ecuador. I’m glad we finished here, in Colombia. It wasn’t quite everything I had hoped it to be, but it was damn close, and it kept me satisfied.