Since it’s been exactly a year that we were stood on the roadside at a Colombian-style trucker stop, boasting an elderly man adorned in a hat with a sausage attached by a spring, I thought it was about time we shared a few of the sausages that we indulged in on the trip.
The first sausage we enjoyed was at Paddy’s in Cusco, Peru. It’s apparently the highest 100% Irish owned pub on the planet at 11,156 ft. Something we noticed whilst travelling is that everything aimed at tourists is either the biggest, the smallest, the largest, the widest, the narrowest, or the bendiest. A bit like sausages I suppose.
We treated ourselves to a massive fry up and a few ice cold beers after the exhausting 4-day hike on the Inca trail and it didn’t disappoint. It even came with proper chips. The only negative was a pathetic attempt to make homemade baked beans. Anyhow I digress, I’m here to talk about sausages. As you can see from the photograph these were very ordinary pork sausages and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. This was as advertised – a proper fry up and theres no place for artisan in an Irish themed pub in Peru.
I tried to photograph most of the sausage I enjoyed whilst in South America, but didn’t always manage to due to over-excitement. Here are some of the ones we captured. I wrote about the sausages at the time so I could give them a fair assessment, so please don’t be taken aback by the passion for sausage – I was drinking quite a lot of cheep foreign beer at the time.
Something as simple and strange as a sausage can bring all types of folk together. Ethnicity is as blind as it should be and the weight of ones wallet becomes insignificant to even the most uptight individual, when the urge to munch on sausage overwhelms the brain.
I found this chorizo choripan in a humble market in Sucre, where like-minded humans gathered around a sausage vendor and spoke with their eyes not mouths. For the language of sausage is world-wide and I happen to speak in fluent.
Not often do sincere, humble and exciting get mentioned within the same sentence. That day they did.
A very strong 4 out of 5 🌭🌭🌭🌭
Minus 10 degrees, 5000 metres high, sleeping on a concrete block with 30 other people in stench-ridden sheets – what do you get for dinner? Sausage and mash Bolivian style. Not too much to say on the subject of this comical looking sausage. If it was a person it would be a straight shooter, a no-nonsense middle-aged man, with bad taste in music and pre-historic, racist, homophobic views. The perfect pairing for under-seasoned smash “potato”. Just glad it was grilled and not boiled.
2 out of 5 🌭🌭
Travelling from Bogotá, we stopped off at a truck stop en-route to Salento. It’s always a joyful feeling when you find a parilla stand with juicy sausage smoking, popping and spitting – but much more joyful when the vendor is wearing a hat with a sausage strapped to the top of it. On this instance I found the sausage far too gristly, clearly a lower quality of meat and under-seasoned for my taste. If the vendor hadn’t adorned a sausage hat it would have been a one on the sausage richter scale.
For this sorry effort, a weak 2 out of 5 🌭🌭
This particular sausage was found at the top of the metro cable in Medellín. As I was feeling peckish I also opted for a meat patty. I must admit I didn’t hold high hopes as there was no grill or barbecue visible, nevertheless hunger took over and before I knew it I was once again ordering sausage. It was a pleasant surprise that the friendly lady insisted I have one of her boiled potatoes to accompany my mild curry powder tasting meat stick. Also, the salsa on the side a great touch.
A strong 3 out of 5 🌭🌭🌭
The legendary Bandeja Paisa. This example possibly smaller than some but more than enough! The sausage on this wasn’t the best quality, just making up the numbers rather than stealing the show. Shamefully outdone by the beans – this should never happen.
A low 2 out of 5 🌭🌭
Don’t let the look of this sausage fool you, as simple and rustic as it may look, this lengthy fella has much hidden depth of flavour and strong character beyond expectations. The burnt end was to die for. Caramelised fats enriched with a deep smoky flavour. I could almost taste the history of the parilla barbecue-style grill on which the sausage was smoked and seared. This massive sausage, along with chips, several other deep fried sides and a token salad cost roughly £2.50.
Bang on 5 out of 5 🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭
Salchi Papas, a simple but hearty meal of chips or fries, piled high with sliced chorizo sausage (in this case of low quality), cheese, salad and sauce. Very basic but sometimes the best things in life are. This meal is best enjoyed during and after a lager binge. I recommend lashings of hot sauce.
4 out of 5 🌭🌭🌭🌭
Although spilling over into Central America, we still technically hadn’t been stamped into Panama, so this sausage still makes the cut. How I longed for a Richmond sausage sarnie, with thick buttered bread smothered in brown sauce. It almost seems absurd that while eating smoked chorizo on a tropical island in the Caribbean sea that I would have such thoughts. But alas such thoughts I had. After a while, luxury becomes tainted by simplicity and my heart longed for normality. The sausage in question is normal, just not to me. I don’t usually let emotions get in the way of a practical score, as quality of product is very important, but here I allow myself the privilege.
Cooked to perfection but just not Richmond 3 out of 5 🌭🌭🌭
When I started my journey I pondered the sausage with trepidation, mild humour and at times poked sneering fun at the somewhat unfortunate shape of the meat. For this I have some guilt.
Though the elongated, sometimes vile, shape of the sausage will always allow me a sly smile or self-satisfied grin, I believe this masterpiece of gastronomic engineering is truly beautiful. More often than not being the star of the show, the arrogant over-sexualised front man of a tasteless rock band, sticking the Vs up to you off its plate saying “Come on losers, stick me in your face!”
Then on the other hand the sausage can be cool, calm and collected, happy to stay in the shadows as a bystander. A mere ingredient to a dish, allowing its peers to move to the front and strut their stuff. Just its presence lingering in the background and giving you a cheeky wink, letting you know there’s still sausage in the room.
These are just a few of the sausages I sampled whilst travelling in South America but since I’ve already mentioned the word ‘sausage’ 50 times in this post, I’m going to call it a day. I’ll be writing soon about some of the delicious beverages I sampled along the way.