Food and Drink


Helena Writes…
For the Eco-Traveller

Did you know that disposing of empty plastic water bottles creates enormous environmental problems for developing countries such as San Sombrèro? Consider travelling around with a ceramic gourd, preferable made by local artisans, or lick dew drops from low hanging leaves. Even better still, simply have a large drink before you leave home and thus avoid depleting the community’s precious fresh water resources.

Whilst San Sombrèro may not be the food-lovers ultimate destination, it is possible to eat well – and cheaply – throughout the country. Traditional San Sombrèran food (criollo) takes a range of culinary influences – Spanish, African, indigenous – and basically adds coconut. Fish (pescado) and chicken (pollo) are the most common meats, closely followed by rabbit (rodekil).

In general, San Sombrèrans love their food and nutritionists will rate every dish for not only its energy value and fat content, but also its potential aphrodisiac qualities.

Vegetarians

It’s not easy eating meat-free in San Sombrèro as even simple vegetable dishes will often have meat added to ‘improve’ them. Rice and beans are routinely fried in animal fat or boiled in stock that has had an animal bone or organ added for extra flavour. Even so-called ‘vegetarian’ restaurants will generally include chicken on the menu. If stuck, your best bet is to simply drink bottled water (although avoid Agua Toro as it may contain small amounts of beef stock)

The most common vegetable is the platano viando, a variety of plaintain that is generally steamed until tender, a process that can take up to 15 years.

Quick Tip In restaurants, be wary of ordering a ‘kids meal’ – this will often involve baby goat.

Rotulos de huevos is a typical sweet similar to licorice except it is made out of rubber.

Donkey and mule meat is used extensively – especially as an appetizer. This is known locally as ‘Hee Haw D’oeuvre’

Potaje is a thick oily soup made from black beans, with fried garlic, onion, pepper and chilli. It is generally served before a main course or a colonoscopy.

Warning: While the cost of eating out in San Sombrèro is generally quite low, so too are the hygiene standards, and diners struck by the sudden onset of gastro-intestinal illness during the middle of a meal may find themselves subject to a 10% ‘corkage charge’.