More pics for you animal and food lovers! Lechona is a traditional Colombian dish. Typically you have it for a big fiesta, or you buy it on the street.
So how do you do it? To serve 50 people you need a pig, no older than 1 year, weighing some 25 kilograms. Moreover, you need onion, boiled rice, potatoes and a few other ingredients.
Basically, you empty the pig before stuffing it with the meat etc. Then you put it in an over-average-big oven for a number of hours.
Or you just buy a portion at the street – at this pic from down-town Bogota you’ve got one serving on offer for only 4.000 pesos, 1.40 euros, with soft drink included.
OK, so where did that rooster finally go?
Well, as you may imagine the destiny was rather hot. This photo shows the rooster boiling in a big pot over an open fire in the garden. No stock cubes here – only natural broth! Other important ingredients were potatoes, yucca, plantain and corn on the cob.
From all this we got a considerable amount of an out-of-this-world sancocho – one of the most traditional dishes to be found in Colombia.
By the way: I also have to mention the tamal we had for breakfast. Tamal consists of chopped meat and veggies, folded in a maize dough, then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. It’s served in the banana leaf. Awesome!
Getting a living rooster from the market place and home would have been a minor challenge without professional assistance.
Even harder than ”bringing the bacon home” is the stage from living rooster to a rooster boiling in the big pot. But the experienced lady who helped out in the kitchen took care of it all.
First: find a steady broom shaft. Second: Put the rooster on the ground. Third: Put the broom shaft cross the rooster’s neck and squeeze for a minute or so.
As soon as the rooster has stopped moving, you bring it in to the kitchen and put it in some really hot water for a while. Then it’s peace of cake to pick the feathers off.
On this photo: your own proud blogger presenting the result of the endeavours.
At the Sunday market we bought this elegant, one-year-old 5 kg rooster.
The old lady selling it originally demanded 35.000 pesos, some 13 euros. However, the negotiator in our shopping team was able to press the price considerably, and we got a true bargain: 25.000 pesos, a little less than 10 euros.
Happy about that we could shop the veggies, and then go home starting dinner preparations…
Some weeks ago I visited a village not too far from Bogota. This is one of the food stores where I went shopping.
It’s worthwhile mentioning that the village also holds a supermarket, but even that one is tiny. It seems that the weekly Sunday market is the most important place for food shopping among villagers.
The big news from Colombia this week is that the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that a congressionally approved amendment to permit re-election was constitutional.
Hence president Álvaro Uribe will probably be able to run for a second term, something previously not possible in Colombia. With his approval ratings approaching 80 percent, Mr. Uribe seems likely to win the elections in May of 2006.
New York Times writes: ”In three years as president, Mr. Uribe, a 53-year-old lawyer and technocrat, has been credited with lowering Colombia’s relentless violence by aggressively pushing the country’s once-beleaguered military into taking back territory from two guerrilla organizations.
Colombians have rewarded him with high approval rates, while Wall Street has approved of Mr. Uribe’s fiscal management.”
The bus trip from Villa de Leyva to Bogota offered many ”Kodak moments”. Here’s one of them.
Two men in a Monday afternoon conversation in down-town Chiquinquirá, a town of some 50.000 inhabitants north of Bogotá.
The low motor capacity of the bus, oftentimes resulting in slow speed, was an immense help when taking photos on-the-go. Chiquinquirá, by the way, is the religious capital of Colombia. It’s here that the image of the Virgin of Chiquinquirá, Colombia’s patron saint, is being kept.
Colombia is a country with lots of food production.
Going back to Bogota from last weekend’s trip to Villa de Leyva, I shot some pics from the bus window. The mountaneous landscape provided gorgeous views with lots of black-and-white Holstein cows – giving the Colombians plenty of milk.
Colombians eat a lot of meat, and in the Colombian plains a lot of cattle is being held for that purpose. The meat is of very high quality, but still it can’t compete with the beef from Argentina. Maybe the subtropical climate is the problem?
The combination of mountaneous roads, lack of money for building tunnels and old buses makes sure that bus trips always end up taking longer than you had thought… And just like when going back from Melgar a few weeks ago, the bus broke down in the middle of the road also this time. But after a ”quick fix” we were back on the track within 15 minutes.
It’s easy to forget about the problems that Colombia has to deal with. But sometimes you run into a serious reminder.
Staying in the better parts of Bogotá, and doing excursions to some touristy places, you do not have to worry too much about guerilleros and criminals. But it’s important to be aware of the political situation.
Villa de Leyva probably is one of the calmest places in Colombia. Therefore I was more than surprised when a European citizen that I met there, told me about his five bodyguards!
And yes indeed – outside the building they were strategically placed, five well-built men with earphones and whatever you need to protect a high ranking person working for a big company.
I hope that they made me high-ranking European fellow feel safer. Personally, I took it as a reminder of being precautious. The conclusion, as far as I can understand, is that important people need bodyguards, but that there isn’t any reason for the ordinary tourist to worry as long as one keeps out of troubled areas. Villa de Leyva isn’t one of those.
At last, I offer you this final picture from my Villa de Leyva excursion: one of the many old trucks you see in Colombia. However, this is the only sample of International Harvester that I’ve seen this far. Did they ever sell that truck brand in Europe?
Going back to Villa de Leyva from Ráquira, we made a stop to eat some fritanga, aiming especially for the famous longanisa.
Sutamarchán, a small village, and the surrounding area is known for its delicious longanisa – a sausage made of pork tenderloin. We ordered a fritanga for six people – the taxi driver included.
Fritanga is a popular mix of food, usually sold in road side restaurants and markets as a good-value-for-money dish. It may include chorizo, longanisa, bacon, potatoes, fried banana, corn on the cob, guacamole and more. It’s being served on a tray or big plate, and in this case with toothpicks to eat with.