ColombiaOne.comFoodThe Delicious Lisa Rice of Barranquilla: A Gastronomic Delight from the Colombian...

The Delicious Lisa Rice of Barranquilla: A Gastronomic Delight from the Colombian Caribbean

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arroz lisa rice colombian food Barranquilla
Arroz de lisa (Lisa rice) from Barranquilla is much more than a meal; it is a tradition that delights lovers of coastal cuisine and allows you to explore the richness of Colombian Caribbean flavors. Credit: Jdvillalobos/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 4.0

In the heart of the Colombian Caribbean, in the vibrant city of Barranquilla, you can find a culinary treasure that has captivated the palates of locals and visitors alike: “arroz de lisa” (lisa rice). This dish, born from the marine richness of the region, is a delicacy that is savored with delight and represents the essence of coastal cuisine.

The lisa, a sea fish that inhabits brackish waters like river estuaries, is the main ingredient of this cherished delicacy. To prepare “arroz de lisa,” the lisas go through a prior process of drying and salting, which enhances their characteristic flavor.

The Authentic Flavor of the Caribbean

Barranquilla’s “arroz de lisa” is an explosion of flavors. In addition to the lisas, the dish incorporates a rainbow of vegetables, including onions, sweet peppers, bell peppers, and scallions. The combination of these ingredients, with the perfect touch of seasonings like cumin, salt, and pepper, results in a dish full of nuances and contrasts.

The Special Presentation Touch

One of the peculiarities of “arroz de lisa” is the way it is served. This exquisite delight is presented in bijao leaves, a tradition that adds an authentic character and a unique experience when savoring this dish. The rice is garnished with finely chopped scallions, adding freshness and a touch of color.

Complementary Side Dishes

“Arroz de lisa” doesn’t come alone. It is traditionally served with a group of side dishes that further enrich the culinary experience. Among the most prominent is “bollo de yuca,” a kind of pastry made from yuca (cassava) that provides a perfect balance to the main preparation.

Additionally, the rice is complemented by a delicious avocado salad that adds a creamy and fresh touch. Finally, to quench your thirst, it is enjoyed with “guarapo de panela,” a traditional beverage made from sugarcane juice.

A Dish for All Moments

“Arroz de lisa” knows no limits in terms of when and where it can be enjoyed. Barranquilleros appreciate it at any time of the day, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Its versatility makes it an ideal choice for any occasion.

The Touch of Street Vendors

One of the charms of enjoying “arroz de lisa” in Barranquilla is the opportunity to purchase it from street vendors, whether mobile or stationary. These dedicated merchants transport large pots of this delicacy on pedal carts, ensuring that the rice stays fresh and always ready to satisfy diners’ appetites.

The Secret of Preparation

The preparation of “arroz de lisa” requires time and patience to achieve truly exceptional results. Firstly, the lisas are soaked in cold water for an hour to remove excess salt. Then, they are slowly cooked in a pot with enough water until well done. Once ready, they are drained and carefully flaked, removing the bones.

Meanwhile, a special stew is prepared, including oil, onions, scallions, tomatoes, garlic, and seasonings. The lisas are mixed with this stew, and rice is added. This mixture is sautéed for a few minutes before adding water, allowing the rice to absorb the flavors. Then, it is simmered until the rice is just right and ready to serve.

A Delightful Tradition

“Arroz de lisa” from Barranquilla is much more than a meal; it is a tradition that delights lovers of coastal cuisine and allows you to explore the richness of Colombian Caribbean flavors. When you visit Barranquilla, you shouldn’t miss sampling this exquisite dish that celebrates Colombia’s culinary diversity with every bite.


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