It’s a worldwide phenomenon that an excess of alcohol often causes a need for nourishment. Whether that be in the small hours of the morning, the day after, or even both, Phoebe Hopson has some top tips to quell your night-time cravings and help you find the best drunk food to put you back on your feet.
In many countries, chips (or freedom fries, for our American cousins) are a favourite choice for those stumbling home, with toppings that vary depending where you’re from: people from Quebec like gravy and cheese whereas the Irish opt for curry sauce. While the above may not be on the menu, have no fear as Bogotá has more than enough delicious drunk food options.
Traditionally, changua is a breakfast soup from the Cundinamarca and Boyacá area, but it’s been adopted by some as a late night snack. Consisting of eggs poached in milk, it’s a bit of an acquired taste so maybe don’t try it for the first time if you’re especially fragile. Changua often divides people, but those who love it say it does wonders for your hangover.
Originally finding popularity on New York’s Coney Island the hot dog has been well and truly Colombian-ised. This is the grimiest thing on the bogotano menu to make you salivate in the wee hours of the morning. At this point you don’t care what the meat is as long as it resembles a sausage. The most Colombian version of all is an arepa chorizo which is exactly as it sounds.
The secret to a successful perro caliente is that there are no rules, so layer it up with as many sauces as possible – none of which scientifically proven to help with a hangover, but all delicious. A few examples of the many ways you can have your perro are: perro sencillo (simple dog), choriperro (chorizo), perro suizo (Swiss dog), perro encebollado (with onion), perro ranchero (with egg), perro con pollo (with chicken) etc… Possible extra toppings include pineapple sauce, crisps, quail eggs, cream cheese, patacón, pork scratchings… the sky’s the limit! Perros calientes are typically sold on the street, and rumour has it that there’s a stall in Chapinero where you can get a slab of lasagne to top off your hot dog!
Calentado (simply meaning ‘heated’) was born out of mixing leftovers together, and, like the hot dogs there are no rules. The bogotano version is pasta with potato, paisas like beans and bacon, but you can also have eggs and chorizo. Whatever you want as long as it is salty and fatty.
This greasy American staple isn’t the typical Colombian go-to when you’ve had a few, but it often serves as a last resort when everything else is shut. There are street vendors selling them as well as a couple of late night chains. The most visible of these are the 24-hour El Corrals situated in many major party areas, with gleaming lights that shine like a promised land in the damp streets of Bogotá. It isn’t the cheapest midnight snack, but the array of choices and a warm spot to perch can seduce even the best-intentioned partygoer.
Rice with eggs
Sounds a little boring but don’t turn it down. Unlike an El Corral burger, it won’t burn a hole in your pocket so you only need to feel guilty about the calories. This staple is often found in late night garages.
Don’t turn your nose up at the prospect of soup if you normally opt for something slightly stodgier, this really is Colombia’s gift to the world. Known as the levantamuertos – implying that it brings you back from the dead – this delicious broth can save anyone in a desperate situation. The only tricky thing is working out how to eat a whole potato and either a hunk of meat or fish on the bone floating in a bowl of liquid. No easy feat then you’re in a delicate state. The local tip is to remove both then cut them up, you can put the bits back in the soup if you want!
The Bogotá Post editorial team also suggest that fruit juice is an excellent restorative after a night on the tiles – with the added advantage that it’s easy to get your hands on and there’s plenty of choice. One particularly organised team member also swears by buying pan de yuca before he goes out to soak up the alcohol when he gets home.
Where can you eat at 3am?
Those used to staggering out of the pub and into the curry/kebab/chip shop are likely to be disappointed by the lack of obvious places to eat on the way home. But ask around as many local friends have a favourite 3am drunk food stopping point.
Several people told us that the Bogotá classic is the Caldo Parao all the way out on Calle 161 #18-35. They happily serve caldo or ajiaco until the early hours.
Look out for desayunaderos, 24-hour restaurants where you can find your Colombian food at any time of the day or night. There are plenty in the barrios populares in Bogotá, and in Chapinero the following restaurants are happy to serve you drunk food at any time of the night.
Desayunadero de la 42: Carrera 14 #42-06
Desayunadero Cañon la Chicamocha: Calle 57 #19-5
Desayunadero Tony: Carrera 17 #50-90
Your drunk food choices are more limited further north, with some chain restaurants and even 24-hour supermarkets attracting hungry revellers. For example, the Carulla on Carrera 15 with 116 is open all night.
Be aware that lots of places can be closed on Sunday mornings and bank holidays.