The Buñuelo & Palo de Queso

I’m not sure how Colombians make it past age 50 with most everything they eat fried in recycled grease. While Americans eat unhealthy food as well, for them it’s not so much the quality of food but the fact that they eat too much. Colombians don’t eat a lot, but they have grease with everything.

BuñeloFirst let me introduce you to the buñuelo. It’s a ball of deep-fried white dough. That’s it. Fried in that recycled yellow grease. If you squeeze it in your hand all the grease comes rushing out and drips onto the ground. Of course it tastes delicious.

Then there is the palo de queso, which is slightly less popular and sold in bakeries. It’s a simple rod of pastry loaded with cheese curd. But is there a way to make that more unhealthy? Yes, by deep frying the bitch in the yellow grease and sell it for a few cents more. The first time I had the extreme palo de queso I felt like I was drinking straight-up grease with all the oil that got stuck in the layer between the bread covering and the cheese filling.

There was another episode with the palo de queso. My Colombian friend took a first bite and, I swear to God, it ejaculated a stream of grease onto his forearm, scalding his skin. The guevon manning the counter gave him a napkin without skipping a beat, telling me that this was common, and my friend shrugged it off. I’m told that more Colombians are hospitalized every year due to hot grease burns than chest pains.

It’s not uncommon for a Colombian to see my lunch (peanuts, avocado, banana, corn pancake), and remark how healthy I am. What they really mean is boring. They’d switch out the banana for a plantain, fry it, smother the pancake (arepa) with cheese and possibly sausage, and toss the avocado on top with dollops of Colombian red mayonnaise. If you come to Colombia to open a health-food store, you will only get business from annoying gringos who carry around handwoven “day bags” bought in either Ecuador, Peru, or Bolivia. Without a deep-fat fryer, your establishment will not win the bellies of the locals and you will have to close shop or turn it into a backpackers hostel.

But the big question is, does this unhealthy diet translate to fat Colombian women? I will share my thoughts on the matter next.