FOOD BREAK :
Local food & drink from Cartagena de Indias
Fruits & Popsicles:
-Exotic fruits : One of the best pleasures in Cartagena is to taste fresh exotic fruits daily sold and cut by the Palenqueras, these colourfully dressed & iconic women who balance bowls of fruits on their heads through the city streets. A great variety of the tastiest tropical fruits can be tasted in Cartagena, including sweet mango, papaya, pineapple, passion fruit, guava, coconut and bananas.
-Popsicles : The midday tropical heat becomes far more bearable with an artisanal popsicle. La Paletteria’s appealing display case showcases dozens of flavors from lush mango to caramelly arequipe. The best are made with local Colombian fruits like tangy lulo and the zingy passion fruit maracuya. .
Where: Palenqueras stroll the beaches and streets throughout the day in every aera of Cartagena de Indias .
-Refreshing drinks No doubt encouraged by the hot climate, Cartagenians have mastered the refreshing drink. Juice stands abound, armed with mounds of tropical fruits some familiar (bananas, mangoes, papayas), others less so (lulo, curuba, guanabana). You choose your combination and the vendor will blend it for you on the spot, serving it up in a plastic cup so big it’s practically a meal. Other favorites:
-Limonada de coco is a fresh drink made from coconut milk, lime, and condensed milk.
-Avena is made with oats, milk, cinnamon, and sugar, and served ice cold.
–El Asiático is a typical alcoholic drink from Cartagena made with coffee, condensed milk and cognac, with a few drops of Licor 43, a few coffee beans, lemon peel and cinnamon.
Where: Drink stands can be found throughout the city, particularly around the plazas and along the more populated streets.
– Malagana Café , Calle Tripita y Media 31-55 – Getsemani
– Habana Bar, ESQUINA, Cra. 10, Cartagena – Getsemaní
–Empanadas : It’s nearly impossible to stroll through a plaza in Cartagena without passing a street vendor selling empanadas. Even more difficult: getting a whiff of the cornmeal pastry, fried in deep vats of oil, and not buying one on the spot. In the morning, get your egg fix with an empanada con huevo. Later, go for one filled with meat or cheese.
– Arepas is a fierd cake of corn masa stuffed with cheese or soft cooked eggs, Arepas are popular throughout Colombia, but connoisseurs gravitate to Cartagena’s version, which tends to be extra buttery and fluffy. This is an equal-opportunity food: one makes for the perfect mid-day snack, but order a couple and you have a filling meal. Fillings range from gooey cheese to chicken, pork, or beef.
– Jujú is a green Plantain and Cheese crispy balls
Where: One of Cartagena’s most prevalent foods, arepas can be found everywhere from street vendors to casual restaurants. Head to any of Cartagena’s open-air plazas and follow your nose.
Fresh fish & seafood
Red Snapper with Coconut Rice and Plantains On menus, this coastal dish shows up as pargo rojo con arroz de coco y patacon, a mouthful, but it’s worth every bite. The snapper and the plantains are usually fried, and the faint coconut flavor of the rice is the perfect complement.
Where: Club de Pesca Restaurant (57 5 660 5863, Fuerte de Pastellito Manga, Cartagena, www.clubdepesca.com)
Sancocho (stew) : Nearly every culture has a signature stew, and in Colombia, it’s all about sancocho. The hearty dish is traditionally made with hen (gallina), but with the abundance of über-fresh seafood at their fingertips, chefs in Cartagena often swap in fish. The rest of the components are like a greatest hits of local ingredients: plantains, yucca, corn on the cob, and cilantro. Rice and avocado, served on the side, are to be mixed in as you eat.
Where: You can find this all over Cartagena, but La Cocina de Pepina has one of the best versions in town (callejon vargas, getsemani, callejon vargas cll 25 No 9a-06 local 2, Cartagena 130015)
-Ceviche, Seafood reigns supreme in this coastal city, and ceviche is king. You can find the traditional version of the dish — raw fish marinated in citrus juices — but be sure to seek out Cartagena’s take on it, too. Chefs here use cooked shrimp instead of raw, and in place of the standard citrus-juice base, they whip up a tomato-mayo dressing that adds a nice tanginess to the shrimp.
Where: Get the traditional version at any number of cevicherias in town. For inventive takes on the dish, head to El Boliche Cebicheria (Getsemani calle larga #9A-36, Cartagena, Colombia, 57-6604871)