Tag Archives: culinary delights

Culinary Delights of Durban – The Awesome Bunny Chow

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The food of Durban is as diverse as its demographics. However, as the home of one of South Africa’s largest Indian population, it is hard to escape its unique and delicious version of Indian cuisine.

This cuisine is most typically represented by the Bunny Chow. The Bunny Chow is Indian fast food and quite simply it is a bread loaf filled with curry. Historically this dish was a means of serving up food to Indian workers at a time when the laws of the country did not allow them to be served inside certain restaurant.

This great dish has become somewhat of a staple on menus around Durban and it can be found in nicer restaurants like the Hilton Hotel in Durban CBD and the famous Britannia hotel or the delicious fast food chain Some Like it Hot.

Note – best eaten using your fingers and with a big dash of delicious chutney. Imagebig

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Culinary delights of … Colombia

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Tasty, fresh, varied –  these are all good adjectives for Colombian food. I think it is fair to say that Colombian cuisine is not as developed as say food in Peru – perhaps due to the many decades of civil unrest. However, almost anything grows well somewhere in Colombia and the food and flavours are fresh and tasty with lots of regional dishes to try.

The five dishes below show a good spread of the different treats on offer. However, even in our four weeks, there was so much we did not try. Two weeks on the Caribbean coast made a big impression and the first two dishes here are a testament to that.

1. Fried fish with patacón, rice and salad
A whole fried fish with deep fried plantain, also known as patacón, boiled rice and a small salad of lettuce, onion and tomato is the Carribean staple in Colombia. It is an understatement to say we ate this a lot and it was always delicious. Sea bream was a popular variety of fish however others were on offer including baraccuda. Personally, I could eat this twice a day, and sometimes did. It is especially good to eat while sitting on the beach watching the crisp blue Caribbean sea.

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Our pick: the Caribbean

2. Langoustinos
In the UK we usually turn these things into scampi – I think the Colombians do a much better job. Who can beat eating a bit plate of grilled langoustines while listening to the lapping waves of the ocean.

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Our pick: Playa Blanca near Cartagena

3. Ajiaco
Moving away from the Caribbean to the cuisine of the Andes. This hearty, moresome soup is a favourite of Bogotá residents. It is made from chicken, potatos and containes a piece of corn. The potatoes break down to thicken the soup.

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Our pick: Antigua de Santa Fe, Calle 11, No 6-20

4. Avena and Panedebonos
Avena is an cool oatmeal based drink and panedebonos is a cheese bread. This combination is a popular mid-morning snack across Colombia. The avena is thickened with cornstarch and sweetened with sugar. The panedebonos is made from corn, yucca flour, white cheese and milk.

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Our pick: La Estación del Pandebono, Carrera 7 con 63, Bogotá (thanks to our food tour guide Diana for showing this to us).

5. Colombian sweet treats
There are a wide variety of Colombian sweets on offer and they can be found all over the country. Popular ingredients include dulce de leche, guava jelly and coconut. We have never seen sweets like this anywere else – do not hesistate to try!

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Our pick: Colombia

We were lucky in Bogotá to be given a food tour by Diana Holguin of Bogotá Eats and Drinks. Diana was born in Bogotá and educated in the US and UK. We took her Chapinero food tour to visit a variety of culinary establishments in Bogotá. We strongly recommend trying one of her tours.

Finally, if you find yourself in Cartegena old city on a hot day then seek out these delicious ice lollies:
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Culinary delights of … Peru

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The food is Peru is nothing short of amazing. It is tasty and varied with plenty of regional specialities. There are plenty of traditional favourites including Peru’s own variety of Chinese food – called Chife.  There are also some more unusual options including Guinea Pig – Cuy. Our week spent in a homestay in Cusco meant we tried a lot of local home cooked Andean food, however it was the seafood on the coast that really bowled us away.

It was tough to pick our top choices and there are plenty of delicious choices beyond our list here – tuck in!

1. Cerviche

Cerviche is a delicious dish made from raw fish or seafood which rather than being cooked with heat is ‘cooked’ using acid – typically lemon juice. Mixed with onion, garlic and usually chilli and coriander – this dish is fresh and healthy. It is usually served with boiled sweet potato, boiled corn and fried corn. Once we reached the coast I probably ate cerviche twice a day – I cannot get enough of it. We also had a go at making it with our friends in Lima.

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A delicious plate of cerviche

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Making our own cerviche with our friends Gabriela and Xavier in Lima


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Eating cerviche in Arequipa with our friendly guide Carlitos.


Our picks: everywhere close to the sea (or a river). Lima and Paracas in particular had great cerviche on offer however our first try was near the central market in Arequipa, at number 302 Pierola (pictured above).

2. Adobo

Adobo is a delicious soup made from pork and chilli. It can be found in many chicharronerias which are shops which primarily sell deep fried pork called chiccarron. The soup itself is quite thick (I think thickened with maize) and rich. It is spicy and ours contained a spicy hot rocoto chilli along with some potato and a couple of lumps of tasty pork.

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A tasty bowl of adobo. That big red thing is the rocoto chilli which was nice and spicy,

Our pick: we found great adobo near Qorikancha in Cuscoon Pampa de Castillo. Here we went to a busy chicharroneria with a menu outside with a cartoon pig – however there are many other options on this street.

Chupe de Pescado

This is a tasty kind of fish soup with a rich, creamy and slightly spicy broth. There are many kinds of fish and seafood chupe and other soups – any that we tried were delicious.

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Our first huge bowl of chupe de pescado shortly after arriving on the Peruvian coast in Paracas.


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A great chupe de mariscos at a restaurant we found near the sea in Lima. I wish we could remember the name of the place. This one was served with delicious fried plantain.

Our pick: in Paracas, at the end of the main beach is a line of about 20 small restaurants where we had a great chupe de pescado.

3. Chicharron de mariscos

Chicharron, as mentioned in the adobo section, is deep fried food. It is often pork but chicharron de mariscos is made with mariscos – sea food. Delicious squid, shrimps and scallops, but we were not so keen in the limpet.

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This picture really does not do this delicious plate of fried seafood justice. Tasty with a capital T.

Our pick: again in Paracas we had a great dish at one of the restaurants directly in front of the beach

4. Delicious camarones with garlic

I did say we went a bit mad in seafood in Peru. We had lots of delicious camarones – shrimps. We had this delicious dish of cooked prawns in garlic, it had a real tapas flavour about it.

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This may have been the best bowl of prawns I have ever eaten. Em could barely contain her excitement and she seems to be pinching herself to check she is not dreaming.

Our pick: a really tasty restaurant in Lima called Canta Rana on Genova 101 in Barranco.

5. Picarones and chica morada

Picarones are like Peruvian donuts made from sweet potato (don’t ask me how) and chica morada is a tasty purple drink made from purple maize, pineapple and orange. The two go great together as a sweet treat however chica morada is widely available on its own.

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All these for just 3 people - with lashings of honey.


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We shared these tasty treats and this lovely chica morada with our lovely Spanish teacher in Cusco - Paul. Thanks Paul for this recommendation and the great company.

Our pick: Ruinas restaurant on the corner of Ruinas (street) in Cusco specialises in these delights.

Culinary delights of … Bolivia

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We spent a happy 3 1/2 weeks in Bolivia and I am pleased to say that the food did not disappoint. There are plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and a good variety of meat treats to try. Local staples include corn, quinoa and potato and many meals feature a variety of carbs – it is not unusual to find rice, potato and pasta on one plate. Food in Bolivia is also very cheap when compared to their Argentine neighbours and it is possible to pick up a very filling meal for as little as 12Bs (£1.20, $1.60).

We stayed in the highlands, through Potosí, Sucre, La Paz and Copacabana. There are many regional dishes and I am sure there is also much to sample in the lowlands around Santa Cruz and in the culinary centre of Cochabamba – we did however still enjoy a lot of variety. Here were some of our favourites:

1. Soup, soup and more soup

Bolivian’s love soup and it comes in endless varieties. It is common to have soup before a main dish for both lunch and dinner. A bowl of soup can come cheap at a food stall in the market or at a small local restaurant – as little as 4Bs (£0.4, $0.6) – so it is a great, nutritious cheap eat. Some tasty varieties include sopa de maní (peanut soup) which includes ground peanuts and is a yellow colour and sopa de veduras (vegetable soup) but as a word of warning this is typically made of meat stock and don’t be surprised if there is a piece of meat floating inside.

It is also common to find pasta, quinoa, potatoes or a combination thereof floating happily in the bowl – yum. You may also find a small bowl of slightly spicy chilli sauce accompanying you dish – but forget the bread, we were not served bread with soup except in tourist restaurants where they serve more European varieties.

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Sopa de maní in Sucre market

Our picks: it is impossible to recommend any one place but both the mercardo central (central market) in Sucre and the main market in La Paz had lots of options – or any one of many small local eateries.

2. Traditional Bolivian meals at local restaurants

There are plenty of very filling local dishes to be found as set lunchtime meals including a bowl of soup to start – as little as 12Bs (£1.20, $1.60) or for a tasty dinner, also with a bowl of soup to start. It is not uncommon to find dishes with beef, chorizo sausage, chicken, alpaca and fish along with a healthy pile of vegetables, sauce and trusty combinations of carbohydrates. We don’t recommend any particular dishes because there is a lot to try. Some that we enjoyed were:

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Ground meat with pasta - very filling


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Pique macho - a spicy combo of hotdog, beef and fries


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Majadito - like fried rice with some plantain on the side

Our picks: so many eateries to choose from (see soup above) but if you are looking for something slightly more sanitized then there is a great Bolivian fast food place in La Paz called La Quinta (calle Potosí 1240).

3. Saltenas

Saltenas are basically pockets of pastry with delicious fillings. They are very much like empanadas, which we recommended in Argentina and which are also prevalent in Bolivia) except the pastry is thicker and slightly sweet. Saltenas are baked where empanadas can be both baked or deep fried.

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Saltena and coke


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Inside the saltena - I needed a spoon to eat the filling

Our picks: look for specialist saltena eateries, saltenarias, or try the cafe Wistupiku (recommended to us by a local) on Coroico in La Paz – while there make sure you also dig into a glass of warm api (a spicy purple drink derived from maize) and cool mocochinchi (a peach flavoured drink which you can often find on the street containing a whole peach).

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Em drinking lovely warm api

4. Street food

One thing we loved about Bolivia was that there is so much street food – and we don’t mean food you eat off the street. Don’t hold back, we didn’t – just look for the more popular stalls where the food looks freshest. Some things you can try include:

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Cheesy deep fried thing

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Stall selling chorizo sandwiches

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Tucumana - a deep fried pastry full of delicious stuff

Our picks: keep your eyes open, there is plenty.

5. Chicken and chips

Roast chicken on a spit with a portion of chips is ever so popular with the locals and ever so tasty – served up with a nice potion of spicy sauce. This provides a filling and cheap meal, if not somewhat lacking vegetables. Buy your chicken in 1/4s or 1/2s (or wholes if you are that way inclined).

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Chicken and chips (and some fried plantain)

Our picks: there are loads of places behind the mercardo central in Sucre but we really enjoyed a place called El Pollo Loco on Loa 464.

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El Pollo Loco - the crazy chicken

6. Trout in Copacobana

Lake Titicaca is the worlds largest high altitude lake and fortunately that had the great idea to farm trout there. This means lots of tasty fresh trout is on the menu. Fish is not so prevalent in Bolivia because it is landlocked so this was a nice treat. There are lots of dishes to try with trout and you can also walk around the bay from Copacobana to the floating islands where they farm trout, select your trout and they kill it and cook it in front of you – you cannot get fresher than that.

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Trout pre-cooking (floating island)


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Trout post cooking (floating island)

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Trout with lots of tasty sauce from La Cupúla

Our picks: the floating islands (about 1.5 hour walk from Copacobana), the small canteens along the lake front in Copacobana and for something a little fancier at La Cupúla restaurant which happened also to be the place we stayed.

Some special mentions:
– Chocolate: it is very popular in Bolivia with lots of local chocolatiers – try El Ceibo and the shop Parati (for you) in Sucre.
– Pizza cones: weird and check out the special with cheese, strawberries and chocolate

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Pizza cone

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We didn't try this

– Hot dogs: yum with lots of sauce
– Tasty cafe food in Sucre – lots of homely food, tasty burgers and submarinos (hot chocolate made from real chocolate)

(Chris)

Culinary delights of … Northwest Argentina

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Northwest Argentina is sandwiched in the top corner of Argentina, hemmed in by the Andes and Chile to the west, Bolivia to the north and Paraguay to the East. This positioning has a clear influence on the local food with many dishes unique to this region.

In addition this is Argentina’s second centre for wine production – food and drink is quite firmly order of the day here.

As you might expect, we tried as many different regional dishes as we could pack in and here are some of our favourites.

1. Locro
Locro is a corn based stew which comes in many different varieties and is traditionally eaten in the winter. While locro is corn based you will find various other ingredients thrown in for good measure. We tried a number of other varieties including lamb (whichi had a nice bit of oesophagus) and our favourite which was vegetarian and contained pumpkin, corn, peas, cheese and a tomato sauce – called waschalocro.

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This is standard locro

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Tasty vegetarian locro

Our pick: the waschalocro at the food market in Salta near the intersection of San Martin and Florida streets.

2. Empanadas
Empanadas are folded over savoury pastries which contain a variety of fillings. They are ubiquitos in Argentina and other local countries, however the Northwest regions of Salta and Jujuy are considered to be one of the best places to get them. Here they come in two varieties, deep fried and baked – both are great. Typical fillings include meat (usually beef), chicken, ham and cheese. They are a really cheap meal – typically between 2 and 5 pesos each (less than 1 UK pound) and usually served with a mild chilli sauce.

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Nice lady making empanadas

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Empanada close up

A word of warning – the fillings often contain eggs so if this is not your bag (like Em) then just make sure you ask first.

Our pick: for it’s huge variety you can’t beat the Casa de las Empanada in Cafayate (south of the province). We recommend trying as many as possible and found particularly nice and very cheap ones at a restaurant on the road between Salta and Cafayate.

3. Helado del vino (wine ice cream)
This is a unique delight, apparently first created in the small wine producing town of Cafayate. We found two varities, Torrontés (the locally famous dry white) and Cabernet (a rich red). The ice cream is really a wine sorbet and is deliciously alcoholic – a must try.

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White wine, red wine, mango and tuna (cactus) ice cream

Our pick: Heladaría Miranda in Cafayate is the place where this ice cream was invented and they also do delicious mango and cactus (tuna in Spanish) flavours.

4. Tamales and humitas
These corn based foods are also a local favouite and make a tasty snack or starter. Humitas are made from boiled fresh corn while humitas are made from a corn based dough. They typically contain other tasty morsels such as meat, egg and cheese.

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Tamale made from boiled fresh corn in a corn leaf

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Spot the humita

Our pick: These can be a little hit and miss so shop around and look for local recommendations. We had a nice tamale (and loads of other great food) at La Casona del Molino in Salta.

5. Street food
We saw a lot more street food in this region than any where else we have visited in Argentina. There are many great and cheap options so snack away. Some of our favourites were:

– Milanese sandwich: a thin breadcrumbed piece of beef usually served in crusty bread with a fried egg, slice of ham, fresh tomato and plenty of sauces.

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Chris digging into his milanesa sandwich

– Super poncho: a thin hotdog usually served with loads of different kinds of sauce

– Fire cooked bread: we found lots of this in the small northern towns of Purmamarca and Tilcara. Varieties included plain, cheese and ham & cheese.

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Chris digging into his cheesy bread

And a final word of warning – the bus food is getting worse. Need I say more…
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(Chris)

Culinary Delights of … Buenos Aires

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There is not doubt that Buenos Aires is a culinary centre and there are many tasty morsels to indulge in. Food here is not cheap but it is good value when compared to UK prices. Restaurants and bars are abundant particularly in San Telmo and in Old Palermo (Palermo Viaja) so explore. Warning: poor photogaphy is imminent.

Things we enjoyed :

1. A massive steak: ‘bife de chorizo’ is sirloin and one is enough to share from a restaurant called a ‘parilla’ – don’t expect anything green.

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Our picks: Gran Parilla de Plata & Don Ernestos both in San Telmo

2. Some of the world’s best ice cream – ‘helado’ is ice cream and can be bought from one of the abundant ‘heladelarias’
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Our pick: dulce de leche flavour

3. Sweet juicy mango for breakfast – a mango is simply ‘uno mango’ and one can be bought for about 8 pesos
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Our pick: find one of the abundant fruit sellers

4. Italian food for dinner – BA had a major influx of Italian immigrants in the past and great pizza and pasta is abundant

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Our pick: La Roslia in  San Telmo for it’s amazing pasta

5. Lovely pastries anytime of day – ‘medialunas’ are half moon shaped pastries of multiple varieties and can be bought from a ‘panaderia’. We ate 2 every day for breakfast. The little pot next to it is dulce de leche which Em is not officially addicted to.
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Our pick: try as many different types as you can

6. ‘Menu del Dia’ for lunch – this is the lunch time set menu and is often great value for money including starter, main, dessert and a drink
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Our pick Tilde Restaurant in San Telmo

A few other places we liked were:
– Krakow bar in San Telmo for beer and a burger
– One of the many places where you choose from a buffet and pay per 100g
– Not quite Buenos Aires but free whisky and ‘champagne’ on our bus to Iguazu was fun
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