After an extremely rainy December, we’ve finally been getting some beautiful sunshine lately and last Sunday was no exception so I thought what better way to spend my sunny Sunday afternoon than to chow down on some Santandereano barbecue. Bogota is filled with loads of Asadero (barbecue restaurant) joints and honestly I don’t think I’ve ever been to a bad one. Sure, some places are more expensive than others, or maybe the meat is juicier in one place than the other but overall like pizza, there’s no such thing (that I know of) as bad Colombian asado (barbecue).
As I was stumbling down Carrera 10 with my girlfriend on our way home on that hot and sunny Sunday afternoon, we started discussing lunch options; regular corrientazo, get some food from the market and cook, or go for huge serving of asado. The votes were in and we decided to chow down some Colombian meat at a asado we had seen in our neighbourhood offering up authentic Santander food. We had heard of this place as friends of ours had recommended it and we had gone past there a few times and noticed it was always packed.
When we walked in, the first thing we noticed was the rows of marinated steak being hung out to dry. This is carne oreada, a sun-dried marinated steak almost like jerky except juicier and with a lot more flavour and a typical dish from the Santander region. Yes, we were salivating and we hadn’t even gotten our table yet.
We ordered a mixed plate as it was our first time and we wanted to try a bit of everything. Knowing how gigantic the portions are in Colombia, we got a portion for “one” but not surprising to me, it was more than sufficient for the both of us.
The wait was excruciatingly long as I could hear my stomach rumbling from hunger but it was definitely worth the wait. We got carne oreada, grilled hen, ribs, chorizo, sweet plantain, yuca, baked potato, fries, arepa (Colombian corn cakes) santandereana AND a portion of chanfaina.
I know you’re probably looking at that chanfaina and thinking what the heck is it and why would someone eat it. Chanfaina is a sort of dry stew of all the parts of the animal that aren’t commonly eaten like the liver, heart, kidney, and anything else you might normally discard. Chop it all up and add spices, potatoes and vegetables and you get chanfaina. It looks like a plate of skinless blood sausage. The flavour may be a bit strong for some but I can guarantee it tastes a lot better than it looks.
We washed it all down with a serving of guarapo, a sour-tasting alcoholic drink made from fermented corn. It tasted a bit bitter at first as I was expecting something like lemonade but it grew on me in the end.
Overall, it was a positive experience and we’ll definitely be heading back there soon to try out the rest of the menu. Come join us!