Coconut Street Stalls in the Streets of Bogotá
With all the coconut benefits flying high and low these days, I’m sure you don’t need a recap to know all the goodness its meat and water contain. Coconut is a popular snack in warmer countries as coconut trees are abundant on sunny coastlines.
Although Bogota is not a coastal city, it probably gets imports from other regions of the country, and it just so happens that I’m lucky enough to get a taste of the tropics thanks to a little stall just around the corner of my place. The stand offers coconut in different forms. You can buy just a piece of the meat or the entire coconut with its water, which the seller will gladly de-shell in front of you to take home for a low price of $5,000 pesos.
But I don’t need the coconut, and instead, I am tempted by something else on offer. There are tiny paper bags containing coconut slices dunked in some brown gew. I ask the seller what the dip is, who explains to me that it is nothing less than ‘panela’.
‘Panela’ is sugar in its purest, most natural non-refined state, still preserved with all its vitamins and good good. This is not your western brown sugar you find in your local grocery store. This is made by extracting the juice from the sugarcane which is then heated to evaporate all liquids. What remains is the essence of the juice (unrefined sugar) which is simply set to solidify in blocks.
More than bringing you a dose of sugar, raw sugar cane is a great source of energy. It’s so flavorful and perfumed, Colombians have a drink made solely of hot water and ‘panela’ (‘agua de panela’).
Seemingly small, the surprisingly filling snack brings a good punch of energy, bringing a healthy dose of vitamins, fats and sugar for only $1,000 pesos to help you go on with your day. Did I mention I love Colombia?!