Yesterday my Australian friend came back from Colombia; he visited Cali and its surroundings. It is amazing talking to someone from overseas that LOVES your country, especially your city. I have not been back in Colombia for one year, and I am missing almost EVERYTHING, my family of course but apart from the obvious, what I miss the most is the food. Not being able to drink a lulada accompanied by a couple of empanadas in la Avenida Primera or el Parque del Perro is terrifying. I replaced my so precious arepa for bread and poached eggs; I do not drink chocolate from el Km 18; now I drink chai latte that I can find pretty much everywhere.
I found a place here that imports some Colombian food: flour for buñuelos, pandebonos and spices for ajiaco and sancocho, among other products. The 24th of December I tried to make buñuelos, but the taste and shape was so different I could not call them buñuelos but a fake. I tried a second time…to fail again. Third time, the same. I surrender. Two days ago I was thinking about trying to make pandebonos. That same day I went with my boyfriend to a European shop to buy some French cheese; in Australia you can find EVERYTHING from EVERYWHERE except COLOMBIA. Anyway, I found something called ‘cheesy budies’ and believe or not, they taste pretty similar to Pandebonos, so finally I have something easy to make that reminds of my country.
When I was in Colombia I always wanted to eat fancy food in fancy restaurants. I hated when my parents took me to eat the so called almuerzo ejecutivo or corrientazo. Now I wish I had these types of restaurants and food in Australia. Here everything is sophisticated. If you want rice you have either to cook it yourself or go to an Indian restaurant, which I do not like. If you find lentils in a restaurant is in a salad, mixed with beetroot and feta cheese. Nothing is like Colombia. Sometimes, when I have the time and I am a bit nostalgic and melancholic I cook typical Colombian food. It does not taste exactly the same – we do not find papa criolla or arracacha for an ajiaco, or fresh guascas (you can find dry ones in remote places) but everything that reminds us of Colombia tastes like heaven. I do not have any complaints about the food that I cook, except that most of my friends are not Colombian, and they do not ENJOY the meals that I cook. It is very sad to cook something with all your passion and wanting to share it with people you love, and seeing that for them it is just another meal. For us, Colombians, eating a Colombian dish is like going to heaven for a few minutes, and then we wake up down under again. So people, ENJOY what you have over there because one day you are going to miss it or even regret it.