28 September 2017

Two Traditional Colombian Dishes: Lechona and Fritanga

Posted in Blog

Recently, we published a post about weird combinations of foods that you will commonly find in Colombia. Today, we are going to tell you about two foods that may be equally as weird or foreign to you as the ones we previously mentioned, but are just as delicious and traditional: lechona and fritanga.

Lechona in Colombia

Lechona is traditional dish found more in the interior of Colombia than anywhere else, especially in the departments of Tolima (where lechona supposedly originated), Cundinamarca, Boyacá, and Bogotá D.C. It consists of a pig that has been stuffed with rice, onions, potatoes, peas, and spices and has been roasted for several hours until it is tender and ready to eat. Once it is ready, the pork meat is cut into portions and served with the stuffing. Normally, lechona is bought for special occasions or parties where you will have a lot of people gathered such as birthday parties, going away parties, and family get togethers, as one lechona can produce as many as 100 portions. In Bogotá, lechona is so popular that the national newspaper El Tiempo has said the city has a "lechona zone," also known as the "L Zone" of the city where you can find at least thirty five different vendors selling lechona for immediate consumption as well as taking orders for whole lechona purchases. According to El Tiempo, the easiest place to find lechona would be on Caracas Avenue between 27th and 29th street. Here, you'll be able to find single portions of lechona for as little as 5.000 COP (~£2 / $2.5). In Barranquilla, you can find a lechona cart on the corner of 72nd Street with Carrera 45, and in Medellín, you can go to the restaurant Alberto Lechona. While lechona may be difficult to find in other parts of Colombia, you can always ask the locals where a good lechona can be found!

Fritanga in Colombia

Very different from lechona is fritanga. Unlike lechona, fritanga is more a class of food and not necessarily a specific dish. Fritanga refers to a group of mostly fried animal parts including: chunchullo (fried pig or cow intestine), chorizo (sausage), morcilla (blood sausage or black pudding), and chicharrón (pork rinds). These meats normally come accompanied with white arepas (Colombian corn cakes), fried or baked plantain and small fried yellow papas criollas (creole potatoes). While you can find fritanga being sold by street vendors in Bogotá, you can find incredible fritanga at a restaurant called El Tambor, which sits above Bogotá close to la Calera district—you'll have to take a taxi or go by car. You can also find good "gourmet" fritanga at a restaurant called, fittingly, Fritanga Gourmet in the Usaquén area of the city or in the neighborhood la Macarena at a place called Criolla Fritanga Gourmet. If you are in Barranquilla, you can try a place called Doña Chabe as well as street vendors selling fritanga. In contrast to lechona, it should not be hard to find fritanga in any Colombian city you travel to. While the combinations of fried foods may differ between cities, each city will have an assortment of restaurants and street vendors selling this much-loved combination of fried foods.

The Uncover Colombia Team