What’s the most exotic fruits & vegetables you have ever tasted? Do you remember the name or where it came from? Luckily for the people that visit Colombia, and specially Bogotá, we have special and unique fruits in almost every corner.
Let’s start by saying that the mountains and our position in the Ecuator line have blessed Colombia with a strategic spot for great weather and amazing fertile land. Given that we don’t have four defined seasons like North America or Europe, the food production depends on the area where is cultivated, so we have the privilege to eat great food all year long.
So, what if we told you that you can find all this variety in one place? All the flavors in one area that offers food, fruits, beans, flowers and even crafts: the Paloquemao market in Bogotá.
In the 20th century the capital didn’t have a big central market where people could find all the food that was needed. In that moment people from different cities came to Bogotá to sell their products on the street or smaller markets.
As part of the urbanistic transformation the city was having, the project of Paloquemao market in Bogotá started, right in the 60’s. It needed private and public funding and was expected to be bigger than it is today.
The name Paloquemao comes from a tree that used to be in the same spot where now stands the market. It was a dry and burnt tree that was a reference point for the locals at the time. The construction of the place started in 1962 and was never completed.
The design was based on markets from Spain and Mexico, and originally it would have sections for the type of food: one for fruits, one for meat and fish, another one for flowers and so on.
Even though only the 70% was built, the market is a reference point for locals and tourists. Whether you want to try fruits or need a special herb, you can always find people who are willing to answer your questions and guide you to the best stalls.
What to expect:
Inside the market there are small restaurants or stalls that have become famous for the food they offer. For example, near the grains, you’ll find Don Javier, an expert on arepas and corn. He makes around 200 to 300 arepas to sell per day!
Now, if we mention arepas we also must mention empanadas. The expert of the empanadas is Don Camilo, who has specialized in “ají”, the Colombian hot sauce. He has created spicy sauces made from fruits and even coffee! Be sure to ask for him when you visit Paloquemao.
About the fruits:
The Colombian markets are special places where wisdom is shared. It is common to go to a market looking for a remedy, a natural cure or advice to find the perfect food.
As part of this, a lot of fruits are believed to have special properties to cure diseases and even cancer. Have you tried any of the following?
This fruit is common for making juices and its famous because people believe is a good source of energy, specially for the men. It is often sold as an aphrodisiac.
You cannot say you have visited Colombia if you leave the country and didn’t learn how to pronounce the name of this fruit.
Often confused with a bad smelling fruit, guanábana is a whole experience. It is huge and majestic in appearance, the inside is black and white, the texture is not for everybody and the taste is unforgettable.
This particular fruit is famous because people believe it cures cancer. It is common to hear testimonies of survivors that attribute their recovery to the guanábana.
This fruit can also be found in India but is originally from south America. It is sweet and odd looking. Nonetheless, it is recommended that people eat the seeds, or rather swallow them.
It is recommended for constipation and less often, for anxiety.
In Paloquemao market you’ll also find flowers and crafts. Keep in mind that Colombia is the second producer of flowers in the world and the number one provider of roses for the US in San Valentine.
Would you like to know more? Visit us and make sure to book a city tour with us!