I have found my 糉（Zong, or 粽 in simplified Chinese..) in Colombia! But, rather than sticky rice, salty egg yolk, fatty pork and mung beans wrapped in bamboo leaves, a tamal is cornmeal, carrots, boiled egg and chicken in banana leaves. It’s not really the same but it’s the closest that the country would ever come to I guess.. It’s striking how similar food can be, in 2 countries that are so far apart!
Like most national delicacies in this country, you have soooo many kinds of tamales! When I can recite all of them I think I can congratulate myself for having become a Colombian.. You have the Tolimense. They are the tamales from Tolima, a province west of Bogotá. They are also the most revered kind of tamales in this country. Tamales of Cundinamarca, the province of Bogotá, has pumpkin. The ones from Córdoba, a province on the Northern coast, has aubergine (Lebanese influence). Santandereano, from Santander, north of Bogotá, come with chickpeas. The queen of all, tamales from Cauca, is made with tortoise meat! (YUK!) All different, but all delish!! To distinguish all these different tamales, apart from the ingredients used, you can also rely the way the tamal has been wrapped. Some are like a parcel, some like a pocket..
It’s not bad to find a substitute here that tastes different but can fool my brain with its looks!