It occurs to me that I may have painted a rather negative view of Cali by writing about crazy traffic and knife-wielding pedestrians. Showcasing it as a dangerous city everyone is lucky to escape alive. And also an unfair view of Colombian cuisine in general. But like Colombia in general, Cali has improved much on his reputation from the past, and is safe enough as long as you take precautions. While Colombian food is not my favourite, there are still plenty of things there I loved eating.
One of which being Cholado. A mix of tropical fruits, sweetened condensed milk and shaved ice, it the perfect snack to cool off on a hot Cali day, and full of vitamins. The fruit is fresh, so it’s never quite the same mixture of fruit, and one time they also put cottage cheese in one. I like cottage cheese, but I wasn’t a huge fan of it in the cholado, still delicious though. The only issue is that I don’t know whether it can be described as a food or drink. If memory serves, it comes with a straw and a spoon – I guess it’s both food and drink.
However, I was not a big fan of Cali’s chontaduro. It’s a difficult snack to describe, officially it is a peach palm fruit, which again I don’t know how to describe. It has a moderately hard texture and bitter taste. They add salt and honey to it to improve the flavour, but it’s still hard to eat. And anything that’s difficult to eat with salt and honey just isn’t good food. It’s not just me continuing to dump on Colombian cuisine though, it’s really a Cali thing. Colombians from other cities tend to have the same reaction I did.
I wasn’t told this at the time, but apparently the chontaduro is considered a natural aphrodisiac. Perhaps the Cali locals force it down for that reason until they learn to appreciate the flavour – maybe it also powers their energetic style of salsa dance?
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