Latin American Cuisine – A Colombian Breakfast


In this article I will talk about Colombian cuisine, especially the breakfast that is eaten in Medellin, Colombia. You will also learn some useful Spanish words such as how to say egg whites and egg yolks in Spanish.

At least once a month and sometimes twice a month, I will receive an email from a client who wants to know more about the culture of Colombia, especially about the "Paisas", the people of Medellin, in Colombia.

I could go on talking to you about Medellin indefinitely. Most people think of Medellín, Colombia, as the city that was once known to be the most dangerous city in the world (only 20 years ago – during the reign of former billionaire drug trafficker, Pablo Escobar).

But today, Medellin is a metropolis with sprawling tall buildings, good spring weather, friendly people, nightlife (which I love even more than the big cities in the United States like New York, Washington, DC and Atlanta) and, of course, a city with incredibly beautiful women everywhere. But in this email, I will only talk about "el desayuno paisa" (Medellin's breakfast).

By the way, a typical breakfast in Colombia varies from city to city. But it is a typical "desayuno" (breakfast) in Medellín or "desayuno paisa":

1. Huevos con aliños (also called "huevos con hogao")

"Huevos" are eggs. And the "huevos con aliños" consist of "huevos revueltos" (scrambled eggs) with "tomate y cebolla" (tomato and onion).

By the way, when I lived on the coast of Colombia, in a town called Barranquilla, the term they used to refer to scrambled eggs is "huevos pericos".

While we are on the theme of "huevos", here are a few words that English speakers often say badly in Spanish. On more than one occasion, I have heard a native English speaker use a literal translation when referring to "egg whites".

You do NOT call them "los blancos de huevos". And when I started learning Spanish, I called yellow "the yolk of an egg" literally. Here are the good words:

a. Claras de huevo (egg whites – literally "clear from the egg")

b. Yema de huevo (egg yolk)

Back to the typical "desayuno paisa" …

2. Arepa de maíz con mantequilla – Arepa of corn with butter. An arepa is a tortilla made from ground corn dough and is popular in Colombia and Venezuela.

3. Quesito – a very fresh, soft white cheese.

4. Calentao – this is a mixture of the "frijoles" (beans) that are left over from the day before and the "arroz" (rice) that stays from the night before.

5. "Salchicha" (sausage) or "Chorizo" (spicy sausage) or a slice of "Carne Asada" (grilled meat). And the grilled meat can be a choice of "vaca, puerco o pollo" (beef, pork or chicken).

6. Café con leche (Milk coffee) or "chocolate" (hot chocolate) or "jugo" (juice).

In a restaurant, this "desayuno" (breakfast) costs around 6,000 or 7,000 Colombian pesos. About $ 3.00 or US $ 3.50

By the way, this morning, I cooked a "desayuno paisa" typical for me and my "novia" (girlfriend). As usual, I skipped the "arepa" and put a few slices of "pan" (bread) in the "tostador" (toaster) and made the "tostada" (toast).

I think I am one of the few people in Medellín to own a toaster. And as usual, my "novia" did not eat the "tostada" and she cooked an "arepa" for herself on a small "parrilla" (grill) on the "estufa" ( cooker) and covered it with "mantequilla" (butter), then put a few slices of "quesito" (typical fresh cheese from Medellin) on top.

I told him one day that I will cook him a Gringo "desayuno":

Blueberry pancakes or waffles or French toast with turkey bacon. A breakfast which I personally prefer to the "desayuno paisa" every morning. Which explains why at least once a week I go to McDonalds here in the morning to eat pancakes stuffed with "jarabe" (syrup) and "mantequilla" (butter). And don't let me start with how much I lack New York pizza or Philly cheese steak.

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