Urged on by my Colombian student Daniel, I visited the famous Bogotá snack shop La Puerta Falsa, where, he said, the tamales were “awesome.” It’s a tiny shop in the La Candelaria district, and has been open since 1816! The storefront displays a tempting array of candies:
Temporarily ignoring the sweetmeats, I made myself at home at the tiny counter and ordered a Colombian tamale and a chocolate completa. The tamale is a sticky mass of rice, chicken, and veggies cooked inside a banana leaf. (The Chinese have a similar rice-and-meat combination steamed inside a taro leaf.) And it is indeed awesome.
I had the chocolate for dessert. Colombian chocolate is often served with cheese, which I guess some folks actually put into the chocolate to melt. I preferred it on the side, with buttered bread and a bun. It was luscious, not goopy thick like Mexican hot chocolate but rich and spicy:
If you find yourself of good appetite in Bogotá, get yourself to La Puerta Falsa.