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Harmon Leon

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Burritos of Colombia: They're Tasty But Are They Really Burritos?

Posted: 11/21/2011 2:02 pm

As you know, one of my ongoing pursuits is to eat burritos from around the world and compare their consistency to our beloved San Francisco Mission burritos. Smug ironic detachment usually follows. (See: How Funny Are Australian Burritos?)

To recap, whenever I'm away from San Francisco, the one thing I crave most is a Mission burrito; huge, tasty, and measuring roughly the size of a baby's head. Chomping on a burrito outside of the 415 is usually followed by sad disappointment.

Next up: Colombian Burritos

Currently I'm in Medellin, Colombia -- City of Eternal Spring. Located in the Aburrá Valley, Medellin is a sensational destination filled with breathtaking sights and warm-hearted people.

But do they make a good burrito?

My foray into local Medellin burrito-eating led me to an establishment simply called "Eat Burrito." (The name leaves no discrepancy about what goes on there.) The restaurant boosts: Lo mejor de la cocina clásica mexicana. (The best in Mexican food.) Putting on my best smug ironic detachment hat, I ventured to Eat Burrito and did just that: I ordered a burrito for the purpose of consumption.

The first thing I enjoyed was the price: the burritos went for the equivalent of $3. In places, such as Scotland, a burrito can set you back a good crisp $20 bill. Strangely, the burrito was placed on my tray and served not only in a wrapper but also in a plastic bag; making the local delicacy resemble an unfortunate victim on television's CSI Miami.

Instead of a soft flour tortilla, my Colombian concoction was wrapped in something similar to a crepe; not bad -- just different. The use of white rice was another big artistic departure. But the true disappointment was the girth. Far from the size of a strong midget's forearm, my burrito measured comparable to the length of a ballpoint pen. (See below.)
These burritos were barely larger than your average pig-in-a-blanket. Note: if your burrito measures the size of a ballpoint pen, it's not a meal; it's an appetizer. Here's what an average-sized person looks like when consuming a Colombian burrito.
What's that in her hand? A taco? An empanada! No, that's the Colombian burrito! Size-wise, it's like they took a Mission burrito and put it in a Shrinky Dinks machine. Five of these puppies would be needed to do the same stomach fulfillment as one massive La Cumbre Mission burrito.

To give you an idea of what you'd encounter, here's a view from the eating perspective of a Colombian chicken burrito. Biting in, the first thing my palate noticed was a distinct vinegar taste; again, not bad -- just very different.

Another questionable choice was guacamole and sour cream served in cups on the side. Instead of spreading these condiments throughout the burrito, dipping had to be done with each burrito bite. This presented too much back-and-forth time between burrito and guacamole container. (It also took several taste samples to determine that the sour cream wasn't actually mayonnaise.)
Burrito Conclusion: The crepe-like shell, slight vinegar taste, white rice, and dipping sauces lead me to believe that I was eating more of an offshoot of the "wrap" family, rather than an authentic burrito. The Colombian burrito wasn't a horrific experience -- I just wasn't sure I was actually eating a burrito.
 

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