Yesterday, we took a street food tour of Cartagena. The tour itself wasn’t all that great — let’s just say the guide was not a professional and the food was far too focused on cheese — but the food, oh the food.
We started with some sort of plantain dish. The vendor took green plantains and smashed them. Then, he fried them in some sort of oil. Then, he dipped them in a garlic and spice solution and fried them again. He served them hot with small pieces of some sort of local cheese.
Next, we had unripe guavas with salt, pepper and lime juice. They were surprisingly good, although a bit less salt would have made them even better.
Next stop was for arepas, which are flat breads made with a cornmeal. The first arepa (arepa con queso) was made with a savory cornmeal and filled with another local cheese and then slathered with butter. The big arepas in the photo below are arepa con queso. Just ok. The second arepa (arepa de chocolo) was way better. That one was made with a sweet cornmeal (it tasted quite a bit like corn bread) and mozzarella cheese. The two small arepas in the upper right of the photo are arepas de chocolo. Unfortunately, these are also slathered with butter, but without the extra butter they would have been amazing. I suspect we will stop by and try one without the extra butter…
Then it was off to a vendor selling yet another type of arepa. This one was arepa de huevo and, according to our guide, is pretty much made only in this region of Colombia. This one was made with a yellow cornmeal. The vendor took a lump of cornmeal dough and flattened it into a round patty. The patty was fried in oil and puffed up a bit. The vendor cut it open and cracked an egg into the middle along with some ground beef. Then, the patty went right back into the deep fryer. The yolk didn’t even break. Yum!
The vendor selling arepa de huevo also sold stuffed fried potatoes (called papas something or another). Yes, stuffed fried potatoes. I have no idea how she made them, but they were round balls of potato filled with meat and herbs that were deep fried. She had a bunch of sauces that could be added to the papas. Even better than the arepa de huevo.
Next stop was chicharones with plantains. Fried pork belly! What more do you need to know??
And we weren’t done yet. There were still donuts to be had. These were some kind of sweet bread with just a hint of cheese. I thought they looked prettier than they tasted.
Finally, it was a dish sometimes known as “romeo and juliet.” It was a local cheese and quince paste. I didn’t try this one (I had my fill of cheese), but Robert seemed to like it.
We didn’t check the price of all of these snacks, but most were under a dollar. We also learned that the fruit sellers sell pomelo for under a dollar and picked one up for a snack.
I have a feeling we will be stopping for more snacks during our remaining days in Cartagena….