Wednesday, September 19, 2007

They Eat What! Latin America's Most Exotic Foods - Part 2

They Eat WHAT!

If you’re teaching English as a foreign language abroad, you can expect changes in foods ranging from the simple to the outrageous as we noted in yesterday's part 1 of this series.

So you’re back for more, huh? Well if I didn’t get to you in part one with “treats” from Colombia, Brazil and Mexico you’re gonna just love what you’ll get here in part two of this three-part series. We’re going to travel into the jungles of Colombia and up into the high Andes mountain range in Ecuador to introduce you to some “Eye-opening”, high-flying specialties that’ll make partly-cooked greasy pork liver seem like “Haute Cuisine”. Hungry yet? Tighten up your belts then and let’s continue our culinary tour.

Three-Toed Sloth
Called “Oso Perezoso” (lazy bear) in Spanish, these dense-haired, slow moving creatures live off of jungle foliage and leaves. You would think they’d be easy to catch, but in fact, they can live high up in the trees and be extremely difficult to spot. Cleaning and preparing to cook one takes several hours. Most of time being spent just to remove the coarse, dense hair which is done by dipping the carcass in boiling water and painstakingly scraping or pulling the hair off. The result is worth it though as it has the most delicious meat I’ve ever tasted when cooked in a thick, rich stew. Sloths are kept as pets since they’re actually quite harmless despite having up to four-inch long claws.
In the Cartagena photo above, English as a foreign language teacher Geny Vidal, from the southern Colombia city of Popayan, cuddles someone else’s pet sloth.


Pronounced “bow-fay”, the dried, roasted lungs of a cow are this snack food. Often available at airport restaurants and street food vendors in Colombia, it’s a somewhat acquired taste, but not one that’s unpleasant by any means. Most people simply have to get past the thought of what it is (believe me; you DON’T want to see it before it’s cooked). It’s difficult and time-consuming to prepare. Ready to eat, it’s a dark, unappetizing looking concoction cut into bite-sized cubes for easy munching.

Yup, you read right – Buzzard, is eaten in some towns in the Central Highlands of Ecuador. It’s caught, plucked and thoroughly cleaned (I wouldn’t want THAT job!). The high Andes mountain range runs from Colombia south through to Chile and is home to vast flocks of Condors. Condors are carrion-eating birds. I don’t have to tell you what “carrion” is, do I? The cleaned, prepared bird is normally prepared in soup with seasonings, broth and vegetables like yucca, potato, plantain, celery and carrots.

Cow’s Eye
Ever wonder what happens to the “unwanted” parts of food animals like the reproductive organs? Well in Latin countries, these parts are eaten same as the rest of the animal. Consisting mostly of liquid, cow’s eye is sold fresh, of course. It’s most frequently cooked by being stirred into a hot pot of chocolate and served as a drink or a thick “soup” of sorts. Although it’s relatively common and popular in Colombia, I haven’t taken the plunge yet. Several of my acquaintances say the concoction’s quite tasty.

How would YOU like to try it?

In part one of this three-part series, we traveled through Brazil, Colombia and Mexico to sample ants, piranha and green iguana. In part two you were introduced to sloth, vulture and cow’s eye and lungs. In the final part of this series you’ll meet more exotic foods. From the Pacific coast to the mountain highlands of the Peruvian Andes we’re going to rock you with even more “treats” of Latin America you’ll never forget. Brace yourself for this one. It’s definitely NOT for pansies.
If you’d like to get part three of this series “They Eat What! Latin America’s Most Exotic Foods”, please e-mail me at: . I’ll be waiting.

Bon Appetit!

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, by sending an e-mail with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail:

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