Barranquilla is a city with an abundance of healthy snacks. At virtually every corner, you can find something healthy to satisfy your hunger or thirst. But, it can be difficult if you don`t know what to look for or even once you find something, you`re not sure what it is. Here is a guide to help you identify healthy and tasty snacks and drinks on the streets of Barranquilla. Spanish names with italicised English pronunciations are included for each section.
JUGOS (Hu-gos): Fresh, natural Juices
There are many street vendors selling fresh, natural juices, such as orange, lulo, maracuya, and níspero.
Lulo: (Loo-low) Lulo is my favorite juice. Lulo fruit is sour and it is best used in juice mixed with some added sugar. If you’re looking for a sweet-sour flavor, lulo juice will be the right choice!
Maracuya: (Mar-ah-coo-yah) Maracuya is another very refreshing juice, made with fresh maracuya fruit. Maracuya in water is an excellent juice to satisfy thirst!
Níspero: (Nees-pear-oh) Nispero is a very common fruit here in the coast and it is used both as a fruit and in juice. Personally, I stay away from nispero because of its sandy texture, yet you may like it. If you`re looking for a sweet juice, nispero could be an option.
Naranja: (Nah-ran-hah) Naranja is the Spanish word for orange.
The juices are made with water or milk. So make sure you order “en agua” if you want it with water or “en leche” if you would prefer a milkshake.
You will find many street fruit vendors in Barranquilla. They mostly carry giant avocados, mangos, bananas, called guineos (guee-ney-ohs), and papaya.
TUTTI FRUTTI (Tootee-frewtee):
Tutti fruti is my most favourite snack on streets! Tutti fruti is a beautiful dance of little fruit pieces in a sea of watermelon juice! You need to see it to know what I’m talking about! Common fruits in tutti fruti are apple, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, watermelon, melon, and sometimes grapes.
GRILLED AREPA (Ah-re-pah): a fancy cornbread!
Arepas are one of the most traditional food items in Colombia, yet the coast has a unique recipe. If you are hungry, an arepa could be an excellent option to keep you till you find a proper meal. Grilled arepas are found easily on streets and often come with cheese (Queso; “Kay-so“), butter (Mantequilla; “Man-teh-key-ah“) and sometimes they may even offer chicken (Pollo; “Poyo“) in it. You can opt out from these fillings if you don’t want them.
Bollos are unique and can be an acquired taste but they are also fun and tasty. Bollos are made from corn which has been mashed. The mash is mixed with various ingredients, pressed and then wrapped tightly into the corn-stalk leaves. They are already cooked and ready to be eaten. There are several different types of bollos.
Bollo de mazorca (Yellow bollo): Made with yellow corn, this bollo has a sweet taste and often is used as a part of breakfast. But you can also buy a bollo mazorca (mah-zor-kah) as a snack on streets. I`ve done it many times.
Bollo limpio (white bollo): The literal translation of bollo limpio (lim-pee-oh) means clean bollo, but it doesn’t mean the other ones are dirty! It rather refers to the simplicity of this bollo. Bollo limpio is made from white corn and has a neutral taste.
Bollo con queso (Bollo with cheese): This is the combination of white bollo with cheese. If you are looking for a salty bollo, this will be your favourite!
Bollo de angelito (Little angel bollo): This bollo is colourful, sweet and tasty. It has an aroma which comes from its anise seeds. (angelito – “an-hel-ee-toe“)
Bollo de Yuca (Yucca bollo): As the name suggests, this bollo is made from yucca (also known as Casava). It has a chewy texture and is neither sweet nor salty and is often combined with butter or cheese. (Yucca – “you-kah“)
If you’re new to Barranquilla, you’ll find out soon that as a city in a major coffee producing country, Barranquilla is seriously lacking a sufficient number of coffee shops. This is because most people here buy their coffee from local street vendors. Once you know what a portable “coffee shop” looks like, you’ll see them all across the city! (See the picture for a typical portable coffee vendor)
BEWARE: These coffees are extremely hot. They’re served in a tiny plastic cup with no protection for your fingers. There are two types of coffee you can ask for:
Tinto: is essentially black coffee
Café con leche: (Coffee with milk): If you ask for this, be aware that this coffee will contain more milk than coffee. By the time you try to stop the vendor from pouring half a litre of milk in your coffee, it`s almost always too late! Strangely, there is no typical coffee with a little bit of milk. But you can always ask for tinto and then ask for a bit of milk (un poquito de leche) on top.
BOLIS DE FRUTAS (Fruit popsicles)
Bolis (bo-lis) de frutas are essentially natural, frozen fruit juices in a bag. Grab one on the go and enjoy it like a popsicle or drink it as it quickly melts down in the heat of Barranquilla!
NUTS & BARS: There are also numerous small street vendors selling packs of mixed nuts and bars of sesame seeds (called “barra de ajónjoli”, pronounced “ahonholi“). Both are healthy and tasty! Of course they also sell all kinds of candies and chocolates which of course aren’t particularly healthy..
Let us know about your experience with Barranquilla`s street snacks. What is your favourite?
Dr. Rasa Nikanjam, ND, BSc