Mar 07

What we talk about when we talk about colombian food: the perennial expat/local discussion

Paul Fowler tries his arepa

I was browsing Facebook last night, as you do, when I stumbled upon this rather comical video featuring the lovely Sofia Vergara and the rather less-than-lovely Gordon Ramsey:

It was interesting for two reasons. Firstly because this is one conversation that comes up all the time between expats and locals: food. Colombians are typically ferociously proud of their local cuisine, whereas those from other countries can be more difficult to convince. Just take a look at Paul and JL’s arepa debate from a previous post, and Paul and Chris struggling to get through some rather un-delicious fried ants. Colombian food can be a divisive issue, although many people, local and foreign alike, don’t really realise it until the discussion is had.

I remember particularly one night discussing with Marcela who had the better cuisine out of Britain and Colombia. It lasted for a fair old time and, needless to say, the argument was not settled. The funny thing is, most Colombians would look at me, like Sofia Vergara does to Gordon Ramsey, and wonder what the hell I’m on about: Colombian food is vastly superior, they would say. That’s down to opinion, of course, but it does make for a fun debate since there are many factors that swing in favour of both cuisines. Just don’t start this debate with a French person.

The other interesting factor is that these rather mundane conversations we have from day to day are now finding their way onto television. Yup, where Colombian food would previously have conjured very little in the global imagination, now at least people are beginning to discuss it on international TV. See Anthony Bourdain in Colombia for more proof. That’s good news, eh? Exactly what Marcela and I were debating over a beer and, ironically, fish and chips in the Britannia (Bogotá) is now the material of guest show hosts on the Jay Leno show. My! How we’re growing!

5 thoughts on “What we talk about when we talk about colombian food: the perennial expat/local discussion

    alvaro on

    P.S.- sancocho del valle beats ajiaco any day of the week


    alvaro on

    No thanks, I’ll take my

    1)flank steak with sofrito and creole sauce, rice with thinly thinly sliced potatoes, that were both boiled in the same pot with oil pinch of salt and long stalk of cebolla larga (scalions I think?), red beans mixed with minced eggs minced pumkin sometimes bacon bits seasoned with triguisar, (cumin,garlic, black pepper) and sofrito (diced tomatoes,onions,scalions,strips of red and green peppers,secret sauce which I will not tell you, garlic cloves,oil, salt, artichoke with color, adobo, and yes the triguisar is part of this),

    2)accompanied with a salad made of lettuce, tomatoes,diced onions, cilantro, teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, pinch of salt, water

    3)served with a side of aji and home made empanadas stuffed with carne guisada (another long list)

    4)with a refreshing jugo made of passion fruit mixed with tomate de arbol, small amount of lemon juice, sugar with either water or milk any day of the week over other foods! = ) Outside of colombian cuisine I’m a big fan of Vietnamese, true Cantonese, and Hunan food.

    I don’t know much about French food but croisants are amazing! and I tried Peruvian food (papa a la huancaina, lomo saltado [which we make something similar],ceviche, but that was nothing out of this world for me. For colombian food is the best. ^_^ … and that is just our Valle Caucano cuisine.


    Beekinga on

    Well I’m of the opinion that nothing beats a good old sunday roast until an ajiaco comes along. Nothing absolutely nothing beats ajiaco ever, not a peruvian causa or yorkshire pudding not even a real lasagna. Not to fond of french cooking so I really wouldn’t sit to discuss anything foodwise with them. Nice entry Paul. Anyway why the f*** is Alpina calling arequipe “dulce de leche”?


    JL on

    “Just don’t start this debate with a French person.” or peruvian 🙂 – JL


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