6 de Octubre, 2015
flying high above the clouds
Nadi, Fiji en route to Auckland, NZ
Last post I was leaving Bolivia via bus on a 2 night journey back to Lima, Peru where we’d stay for a few days visiting our friend Gisela before flying to Colombia.
Gisela, Ryan, and I met for a late meal at a vegan cafe where I was introduced to my first purple corn beer called Cumbres and it was unlike any beer I’ve ever tasted. A perfect mix of hops and sweetness that finished with a malty roast that left me wishing my wallets were deeper. Then I scarfed down a quinoa burger with a side of roasted potatoes as we caught up on our previous months of travel. I didn’t plan to include more Peruvian vegan eats in this post but I couldn’t resist leaving this out and our savory set meal the following day.
Ryan and I also attempted a quick pinterest recipe one evening at our Airbnb. Unfortunately the creamy avocado mushroom alfredo pasta looked better than it tasted.
Our time ended quickly and before we knew it we were saying g’bye to Peru for the second time and hello to our fifth and final country of the trip; Colombia [NOT Columbia as many of us mistake]! We were ready to scour the streets to discover some of the best fruits we’ve ever tasted.
[cervezas at the airport, Ciao Peru]
Bogota was a rainy wash. Many recommended leaving the capital as soon as we arrived, but we wanted to give it a chance. Unfortunately we never got that chance. It rained from the night we arrived until the night we left. And to top it off Ryan fell terribly sick with an insane high fever and scary cold shakes that kept us up through the night. We rarely strayed far from our odd Airbnb/student house and spent most of our time eating falafel in bed with Netflix.
[massive falafel pitas for those rainy days]
Ryan’s family friend, Victor recommended that we get to Cali in order to get the right meds for him to recover [we attempted a local hospital and left after hours wasted in an overcrowded room knowing we’d be there for hours more]. That evening we hopped on an overnight bus to Cali and thankfully by the time we arrived Ryan felt more like himself. We finally had the chance to experience Colombia and best of all with a local. Cali is known as the capital of salsa dancing and famous for the richest cholado, a dessert cup full of up to 10 fruits topped with condensed milk and a wafer. We politely declined the milk portion and happily devoured this Colombian treat.
I’ve snacked on mouthwatering Indian mangoes, sublime South American avocados, wild fruits I still can’t name from Southeast Asia, but nobody can touch Colombia’s fruit game. Many of them that are only grown within the country like Lulo. A sour, grape-like fruit grown on a bush that resembles an orange covered in hairy fuzz. To this day I still crave it. Victor’s wonderful fiancée served us a top-notch Colombian meal where she introduced us to lulo for the first time and I will be forever grateful.
[Ry’s delicious potato/veg soup he made for the house]
[fresh sugar cane juice on the streets downtown Cali]
Bakeries sit at almost every corner in this country and Victor brought us to his neighborhood favorite, Peter Pan where we repeatedly visited for their fresh pan de yuca. In our duration in Colombia we consumed many of these tasty carb loaders only to find out they are usually made with egg or dairy. Whoops.
After muchas gracias to Victor and his family for the outstanding hospitality, we took off for the coffee region where we found a few places worth mentioning like the delicious curries from La Eliana, and the veg burritos from a tiny roadside stand in the small coffee town of Salento.
[flavorful indian spiced veggies on pita]
On the Caribbean coast we feasted on delicious beachside fruit bowls, filling set meals, vegan lasagna and steak and the best veggie kabobs of my life that went down fabulously with a few strong frozen mojitos [truth: Frozen mojitos > regular mojitos]. From a high balcony cafe we tried the restaurants’ famous pumpkin soup with Thai spices that was easily one of the best soups we’ve ever tasted and finished it with a phenomenal falafel and hummus platter.
[crema de maiz // cream of corn con jugo de Guayaba]
[molde de lentejas // lentils loaf, pisto de berenjena // eggplant stirfry, ensalada thailandesa // thai salad]
[best damn soup I’ve ever tasted with a fantastic view]
[bbq veg skewers, easily my favorite meal in all of Colombia]
[if you like mojitos, try em frozen I promise you won’t be disappointed]
We escaped to the jungle one night to experience La Casa Alimento, an Eco-hostel known for its crazy large hammock and peaceful get-away that served meals family-style. We signed up for the veg option and enjoyed garden burgers and veggie tacos.
Hanging in Santa Marta we searched high and low for this hidden vegan set menu joint and indulged in a lovely quinoa soup, a massive plate of mixed veggie portions and a side of what I’d call Colombian samosas.
On our last day spent at Playa Blanca we sipped Coco Locos out of coconuts and sat in front of crystal blue waters while munching on a mediocre rice dish.
As we did throughout the trip, Ryan and I cooked loads of cheap, fresh eats that kept our belly full and happy. Heading to South America I was quite worried about finding good eats in the meat-centric continent, but thanks to heaps of local markets, HappyCow.net, and Ryan’s cooking skills I left South America more than satisfied.
If you’re reading this, thank you! I’m excited to share more Vegan Eats posts from New Zealand and hopefully will be attempting recipes from Ryan and I’s kitchen. Bon Appétit!
That weird vegan chica