I somehow randomly stumbled upon the fact that there is a Colombian restaurant on Hanover St in Manchester. It’s called Antojitos Colombianos, and it’s right across the street from the Hanover Street Chophouse, and in fact, it’s been in business there for about 3 years, best I can tell. You know I love Mexican food, so I was intrigued by a different sort of Latin cuisine, and I went there for takeout lunch yesterday.
This colorful restaurant is hard to miss, with its vibrant red exterior. In fact the whole place is decorated in the cheery colors of the Colombian flag: red, yellow, and blue. When I walked in I was greeted by a lovely man who I suspect was the owner. He was genuinely happy to see me, and when I told him it was my first time there he said I would love it, and the food was so good for me. He even gave me an empanada to eat while I waited for him to cook the food.
I ordered the Bandeja Paisa, which is the national dish of Colombia, or at least a very typical meal. Bandeja means “platter” and Paisa refers to the region of Colombia called Paisa. The dish has origins based in indigenous peoples as well as colonial Spaniards and Africans. It truly is a massive meal that needs a platter! The traditional ingredients include rice, fried egg, chicharron, a thin sliced beef, chorizo sausage, arepa (corn cake), and plantain Maduro (sweet plantains). This is a carnivore’s dream! It is big, heavy, and filling (which I happen to love). The richness of all the protein is softened by the rice, and it turns out the plantains are delicious with everything!
The flavor profile was absolutely delicious and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. The flavors permeated all the meats as well as the rice and the egg. It is incredibly warm and comforting, and it smells great! I enjoyed the arepa, the corn cake. It did not have the flavor of cornbread like I expected; instead it had a very neutral flavor that was more like a palate cleanser. It had a nice texture to eat with the different meats.
I also ordered a selection of “snacks” which included Chorizo, Chicharron (both served with plantains) and beef and chicken empanadas. Some of it was duplication from what was in the platter, but that’s ok. I have now learned some of the terms and types of food and better understand what it all is.
I learned that there are two types of plantains: Tostones which are fried plantains that are smashed flat and served as a side dish kind of like french fries or potato chips. Then, there are plantain Maduro which are thick, sweeter, ripe plantains panfried and served with meat or also topped with cheese.
The empanadas come in chicken or beef, so I ordered one of each. They come with a delightful salsa for dipping. They are warm and spicy, but not super hot.
So that is my impression of Colombian food! I’m so pleased to have made this flavorful discovery right in Manchester, NH. I hope my descriptions have been fairly accurate, but if not, I’ll just have to go back and try again.
173 Hanover St.
Manchester, NH 03104
New Hampshire Food Photography
Erika Follansbee is a published Goffstown, NH food photographer whose job is to make food look amazing. She is available for hire to help small restaurants and cafes to create beautiful images of their dishes to use for marketing, websites, and social media. Magazine-quality food images are the best form of advertisement.
Erika is also a wedding photographer. Visit www.erikafollansbee.com for more information.