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

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Street Eats Santa Marta

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Sausage being sold on the street is a sign of a great culture

The meals I had in Santa Marta were all good however; the bulk of my diet in Santa Marta besides eating obscene amounts of ice cream was mainly from street food. Some will think this is horrifying and disgusting and others think of this as being plain awesome. I have certain rules for stuff that I eat on the street and so far, it has kept my stomach out of trouble more or less. There is food found at almost every corner of the street in Santa Marta and even more there is fruit as almost every corner. I was in Colombia for about 8 days. I have never consumed so much fruit in a given period of time. I think I consumed so much fruit that it most likely is the contributing factor of why my legs got destroyed by mosquitoes the one day I decided to wear shorts on the trek. 

Vendors are selling fruits of all kind yet for the more exotic like guyabana or lucuma those you generally have to go to the market. Yet, fruits like, pineapples, mangos, papayas, watermelons and just basic melons, the corner guy will have that for you. The fruit sold, though maybe a lot of fruits that you can see in any supermarket in America are noticeably different when you eat it. The pineapples are dripping with juice that if you do not assume the right eating stance, will be covered in juice like you were making love to the Tropicana girl. The papayas had sweetness to them that I have only tasted when I was in Asia. The fruit was plentiful and cheap and everyone would be eating them throughout the day. For a more dessert feel, some vendors offer condensed milk and sugar, if for some reason you want the extra sugar kick. Smoothie and juice vendors were everywhere, it seemed like anyone with a descent blender was selling juice. Since water of unknown origin was usually added to the smoothies and juices, I rarely took part in drinking them. Fried things after the Jump!!

Malta and a chorizo empanada
Not to say this was a fruit-tarian paradise, there is of course, awesome fried things and miscellaneous meat parts being sold on a stick. A lot of fried things are being sold and empanadas were one of the most popular ones. The empanadas here differ from the ones I have eaten in Peru in which they are fried and lighter on the filling. It is more similar to an oversized dumpling. However, none of the empanadas I have tried here were ever really crisp exterior that you experience when eating a Mexician style empanada. Who knew there were so many empanada styles? 


Empanada con pollo
Another thing that was a slight variation on the typical staple foods was the tamale. Most tamales I have eaten, use masa as the filler, yet this particular beach vendor and others, used rice which reminded me more of a Taiwanese Zong zi. Also that tamale just basically means, “Stuff wrapped in a leaf”. 

The beach tamale had yellow rice and the only piece of meat in it was half a hacked chicken wing. The tamale was a portable version of arroz con pollo, just heavier on the rice part. Nonetheless, it was tasty and the Gatorade bottle hot sauce was great. 

Om Nomz Tamale
I already wrote about Arepas and my love for them, but the ones that were sold in the carts, rather than grill top I was not a big fan of. Though many contained eggs and cheese, two things that assure good eating, the egg filled ones were rubbery and had chalky yolks and the cheese one is what I would imagine eating cement glue is like. To add to that, they were unbelievably greasy and soaked up a lot of oil. Not a winner in my book.  

Arepa con huevos-this one no bueno
Yet, not to say all the fried things were bad, in the market there are bunelos carts which are just fried dough balls but a great snack. They are slightly sweet and have a hint of sourness to it that comes from the use of yucca, depending who you talk too. Light and slightly chewy, they are a great snack.

 Also, hotdogs are quite popular here and you can get a hotdog on a stick. Think of it as a doughy corndog like thing, but they tasted awesome and great drunk food. 

Hotdog on a stick- sadly that is not bacon wrapped around it which I originally thought

slicing up the chorizo

Speaking of meat in tube form, one of my favorite things in Colombia was the chorizo. The chorizo gets a quick reheat on the grill, chopped up and thrown into a bowl with potatoes on the bottom and topped with mayonnaise and ketchup. The chorizo is not for the faint of heart because besides the amazing smokiness and juicy meat, there is a bit of offal bits in there. There is a bit of chewing going on, but you cannot argue that this processed meat; these are some fresh stuffed sausages. 

Great tasting chorizo

There was also a cart selling morcilla, a cart that found outside my hostal, a sign that I chose to stay at the right place. Plus it brought much amusement to the staff that this Chinito was excited to eat morcilla. Any country that has people selling tubed meat is a sign of a good place to go, any place that has blood sausages being sold on the street, means it is a must go place. The morcilla was plump and full of rice. The morcilla had a heavy smokiness to it, which I can assume it was smoked or cooked over open wood but I forgot to inquire. 


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