Tamal = 糉!!

I have found my Zong, or 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!

A Santandereano


  1. […] it simply it’s a cornbread in the shape of a pancake. Like tamales, arepas also come in numerous of different forms, shapes and sizes! They can be as big as a regular […]

  2. […] A young Chinese man opened the door and led me to the first floor. At the top of the stairs lied another cardboard box, almost as if it was placed there to deter outsiders from getting in (dubious..)! It appeared that the Chinese family has converted the house into a warehouse! Each of the rooms was filled with different products. Snacks, sweets, cooking sauces, dried mushroom and kitchen utensils.. Another man was cooking a vegetable shredded pork stir-fry in a wok. A woman with a baby had been wrapping Chinese tamal.. […]

  3. […] in Colombia means only a few things, calentado, tamales, or […]

  4. […] and pan de whatever (ie yuca, bono, almojababa), arepas in 3 styles, 3 types of empanadas, various tamales, 2 types of calentado, omelettes from the egg station, steaks, chorizo and longaniza (a more […]

  5. […] Caribbean presence (fish-bias) and Arabic influence (which includes falafel and aubergine-filled tamles!). The sweet and fluffy coconut rice and round, ball-shaped butifarra sausages certainly make an […]

  6. […] Sunday! Looks like it’s gonna be a nice day! Shall we go to La Candeleria and have tamales and go to the Museum of Central […]

  7. […] all visitors there for the all-encompassing solid Colombian experience, i.e. three kinds of tamales, two calentaos, even costeño arepa huevo and carimañolas (the costal presence is really rare in […]

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