I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Arepas in Colombia

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Arepas are great for breakfast...when you are not going to be hiking in the middle of the Colombia jungle. Sits in you like a rock

Arepa street cart dude

I was gone for the past two weeks trekking in Colombia and Peru (again) and with trekking, means I will be trying and eating everything that a place has to offer. I did the Ciudad Perdida trek and was stayed in Santa Marta. I do not know much about Colombian food, but one food item that I do know is Arepas and the Arepas are good. Arepas are basically masa cake patty(basic ingrediens is masa harina, water and salt) that get cooked, either griddle/grilled/fried and shoved with cheese or meat, it is similar to a pulpusa in El Salvador/Central America.
I got into Santa Marta late and woke up early the next morning and the night guy at the hotel/hostal i was at Julian was just getting off and leaving. I walked with him as I went to search for the local market (which by the way, is a hectic shitshow, reminds me of the market at the Gambia) and I mentioned I was in search of Arepas because, well corny cakes is my idea of a good breakfast.

He proceeded to lead me to a open door way that lead into an alley/courtyard where there was a bunch of dudes just chilling in lawn chairs and talking. In retrospect, and reading the previous sentence, not smart. But later after the fact that I was indeed not going to get jacked and dealing with the awkward hellos, (lets face it, ain't that many Asians in Santa Marta appearing and wanting an Arepas) there was a husband and woman team frying up Arepas. My newly acquired friends and Julian told me insistently that these were the best, Arepas con huevos in Santa Marta.

These Arepas, were a slight variation from what I have encountered here in the US and other parts of Colombia. the Arepas con huevos is made here by making it really flat and they give it a quick fry that somehow makes i hollow. Next, they nip a small opening, to slide in a raw egg and back into the fryer it goes. the result is something that is unlike kind of Arepa or just egg preparation I have had before. the Egg is light and has a sponge-like texture and the exterior crisp and shatters with each bite. It is greasy awesome goodness and the unfortunate part is, I tried twice to find this place again and never found this random place that had these amazing Arepas con huevos. I did find other Arepas con huevos, but none were like this, and they did not tast that good. Add that to the list of food haunts. the best I can tell you is that it was near the square where the flower market is located by the cemeteryand school.

Best egg Arepa.

It is not to say I did not eat more Arepas, I practically ate them as a meal or like a heavy amuse bouche. Priced at about 1,000 pesos (translates to bout 50 cents US) I could not resist. I was a frequent visitor to the street carts outside the Exito (think Walmart) where there was a dude grilling up Arepas and either filling it with cheese of a slightly spicy shredded chicken mix. These were the more typical ones. Grilled, there is a bit of smokiness to it and you cannot go wrong with some crispy smoky charred spots. In fact, at the last camp we stopped at on the way to Ciudad Perdida, the cook made us Arepas for breakfast and let me make one. By the way, there is no electricity or gas, so cooking, was done via fire. Just do not eat too many of these, they are on the greasy side and with it is like 90+ with humidity and you are hiking up a hill, you start to regret eating that extra Arepa.

Arepa with cheese

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