Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Juice Stand

Something Colombia does very well: juices.

It helps that Colombia has a lot of really tasty fruits that don't exist or are hard to find in the United States: guava, papaya, curuba, níspero, passionfruit, granadilla, mango, lulo, name a few.

My favorite juice stand sits on the median of one of the bigger streets in my neighborhood, a five-minute walk from my house.  It's a metal, industrial-grade food cart, and every morning the man and woman who run the juice stand haul it out into the middle of the street and park it beneath a tree.

The stand is equipped with a blender (there's just one, so your juice picks up a bit of flavor from the last person's order), some hanging baskets of fruit (easy to see what flavors are available), a glass case from which they sell fried foods (because fried food and juice make the perfect breakfast), and an oil-filled fryer.  There's also a styrofoam cooler for ice and milk, which they restock throughout the morning from the corner store a few yards away.

The stand is open from about 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and at least one morning a week, I stop by for a juice--usually curuba, a yellow, oblong fruit known as "banana passionfruit" in English.  I ask the woman for a curuba juice and she whips it up right there: ice, fruit, sugar, and milk in a blender.  She strains it into a giant metal cup, adds a straw, and hands it over.  I sit down in one of the plastic beach chairs scattered beneath the tree, and enjoy.

The cost?  2.000 pesos, or about a dollar.

Most of the patrons at the juice stand are men on motorcycles--they drive up, park their bikes, and sit down for a fried arepa and juice for breakfast--but there are other folks too; this morning, a vegetable vendor drove up in his horse-drawn cart and stopped for a tiny cup of coffee.

I guess what I'm getting at is that my favorite juice stand is my favorite juice stand not because of the juice, but because of the experience.  A lot of little details.  There's something about being out in the barrio, enjoying a little mid-morning shade in the terrible heat and humidity, and sipping a fresh, icy juice that makes for the perfect environment for people-watching and people-enjoying.


  1. Wow! I had no idea that curubas exist! Does it just taste the same as a passion fruit? That sounds like heaven

  2. What's up with Diego. Another picture, please.