by Juan Diego Velasco (@tatuajefalso)
Supermarkets are everywhere. They are clean, they are quick, they are near to your office and near to your home. But, in the end, they’re all the same around the world and they are boring. Happily, the most important cities in the world have at least a couple of good traditional markets and they’re always a great place to visit.
Bogotá is no exception: there are about 10 different markets distributed across the city and all of them are worthy of a tourist’s look. My favorite one is the Paloquemao Market. Paloquemao is a traditional zone in Bogotá, near to the downtown area, known for being an industrial neighborhood and, of course, for its huge market. The market opens very early in the morning: the earlier you go, the better the products you’ll find.
It’s an incredible show to attend – the arrival of the trucks, that come around 5am, loaded with flowers from different parts of the country. Being Colombia the bio-diverse country that it is, you can imagine the infinity of colors and shapes of these flowers. A good thing to do after watching the flower arrival is to eat a nice breakfast at one of the different places that sell prepared meals around the market. They offer eggs prepared in different ways and accompanied by other ingredients including arepas, rice, meat and even hogao (a largely used sauce, made with minced tomatoes and onions). You also have to give a try to the buñuelos and pandebonos that are baked right there and are always fresh. They’re good with a drink made of oats, vanilla and cinammon, called avena helada. Also you’ll find a wide variety of broths and fruit juices prepared with fresh products bought right there at one of the stands. Personally, I love eating fruits and at Paloquemao they have a lot of them and there’s a lot that anyone, tourist or native, would be glad to discover.
The stands are arranged in a way pretty similar to every market of the world. You’ll find a great selection of fruits, legumes, herbs, spices, eggs, dairy products, meat, chicken, fish, and shell fish at very good prices. You can buy a lot more of products than you would buy in a supermarket, with a lot less money, and you’ll have a lot more fun.