Aaron and I fell in love in Mexico. We fell in love with each other, and we also fell in love with Mexico....the food, the culture, the climate. We initially hoped to go to Mexico, but this did not work out with MCC.
We were warned ahead of time that Colombian food was NOT like Mexican food. But we didn't buy it. I mean, how different could it be?
While other things can remind us of Mexico, we find that we REALLY miss the food.
It has really been hard for us to find food that we get excited about. Colombian food is somewhat flavorful, often salty, but not at all spicy. There is one vendor at the market who sells chilis to me, but I have to look hard to find her. Tortillas are not at all common. They are sold in the grocery store, but are quite expensive. I have yet to find pinto beans.
One thing that is similar to Mexico is that lunch is the main meal of the day, often long and large, while supper is quite small.
So, a typical lunch includes fresh juice, some kind of soup, a big chunk of grilled or fried meat (chicken, pork, beef, fish), rice, potato and/or yucca, and a very small (if any) dessert. The dessert usually involves fruit.
There are a couple of sauces that we like. One is tomato based and served with Arepas (a think corn-based type of bread). Another is called "Picado" and is served with grilled meat. Neither is spicy.
Colombians eat a lot of pizza and pasta, and of course here in Bogota we have been able to find other ethnic foods such as Thai, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Sushi. We have heard of a tequila museum that makes good Mexican food, but we have not been there yet.
We are grateful for the abundance of good fruit, and we are learning to like many things that are served to us. The fresh selection of bread reminds us of Europe. Jen also likes that when you go out to a restaurant for lunch there is often only one of two lunch options, which makes decisions a lot easier. We still long for Mexican cuisine, and the strong flavors that we fell in love with 14 years ago.
One of our favorite restaurants is a Vegetarian restaurant close to work. It is referred to as the "Mennonite cafe" because so many of the MCCers and church folks eat there. The food is always yummy, very abundant, and extremely cheap. We can get the full meal deal for lunch for only $3.50 per person.