Museli and milk for breakfast? Give me fried pork rind instead!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

"Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a Pauper".

We've all heard the phrase before and are frequently told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But why is that true?

Looking at its name, it should all become a little obvious - you are quite literally breaking the fast you undertake during your nights sleep. I don't know about you, but I rarely go for more than 6 hours without eating. So when I wake up, I'm always pretty hungry! And to all you non-breakfast eaters out there, did you know it's you lot who are more likely to be reaching for the high sugar and fatty snacks mid-morning? So...wake up well, and get your breakfast on!

BidmeadBites strikes lucky - one free breakfast coming my way
I was lucky enough to win myself a free breakfast at La Tiendacita, a well-loved local joint here in Barranquilla which serves only the most typical costeño food. I won through a competition on Instagram, in which I had to name three of my favorite things about my beloved Barranquilla. What did I pick? The people, La Troja (the epitome of the city and my favorite salsa club - check out my post on it here) and of course, the food!

A typical morning meal here in Colombia is not to be taken lightly - and I mean that very literally. That is to say, granola and yogurt it is not. Think meaty, cheesy things, fried pastries and what for us might seem more like lunch or dinner options: rice, meat, even stews are all fair cop for this Colombian morning munch.

La Tiendacita itself is a really cool place, with two different branches within the city. The walls are adorned with local phrases, some of which I shall share with you here,

Tronco de pajarilla - a load of bullshit
Cogela suave - take it easy (the phrase of Barranquilla)
Mi llave - my best friend
Fria - a beer

Your typical Barranquillero slang. Don't go shouting these at your granny though, as a lot of vulgarity is involved!
Ever find yourself on the coast of Colombia, be sure to try some of these out - your cara de gringo will certainly be reassessed! For breakfast, an array of typical bites were on offer. Fritos (think tasty fried pasty-style things) are particularly popular, as arepasempanadas and the delicious cheesy fingers deditos all feature as part of a Colombian breakfast. 

Finger-licking fritos, next to a huge pot of chicharrón
My complimentary breakfast consisted of an enormous portion chicharrón (fried pork rind cooked in its own fat), boiled yucca (a root vegetable), both served with some of the typical costeño condiment suero, which is a bit like sour cream. Served with some corozo juice (a small dark berry, somewhat like a cranberry), I opted for an extra cheesy dedito on the side - as if there wasn't enough food to begin with!

Behold the Barranquilla Breakfast - not for the faint hearted!
This was a breakfast fit for a king. As I stared down at my plate, over-flowing with meat, carb, and its creamy dipping sauce, I started to wonder if the extra dedito hadn't been just a bit ambitious. However, with pork as good as this, with its perfect contrast of the crispy, salty skin against the melt in your mouth soft, flavorsome meat, it was no hard feat to finish it all. I love yucca served like this, with its slightly sweet taste somewhat similar to sweet potato. Dipped into the creamy suero, it was the perfect carby accompaniment. Even the unnecessary dedito was a treat - tangy costeño cheese wrapped in a rich, buttery pastry case.

I enjoyed the wonderful company of the waiters as I plowed through my breakfast, and was entertained with tales of the city while learning more costeño slang. About 45 minutes later, to the sheer disbelief of the waiters, I had consumed every morsel on my plate. Yes, I was full, but actually pleasantly so. However...without over sharing, I'd say fried pork for breakfast isn't the kindest thing on the old digestive track. But it's sure to say I was fueled for the day ahead, and definitely didn't need any form of elevenses.

My 'before' breakfast picture. But believe I ate it all!
Eating at La Tiendacita is more than just the food - it really is a cultural experience. People come here when they want their own taste of home, just like their mum and grandma used to make. However for this inglesa, whose mother and gran cooked more of your typically British roast chicken than Colombian champús (the not so tasty thick drink made from corn, pineapple, and other ingredients, tried on my trip to Cali), it is a chance to further learn about some real Barranquilla's traditions. And if their typical breakfast means it's okay to consume crispy fried pork before 1 pm, I am all game.

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