Monthly Food Budget in Colombia

Something ultra important to me when I settle into a new place is food. Duh, right? While good restaurants in close proximity are a perk, having grocery stores and markets that are close by and affordable is KEY in order to create a solid monthly food budget.

Within a one block radius, there are three food stores. One is called D1 (De uno), another is Carulla, and the last is a local fruit, veggie, and meat market. Carulla is on the higher end with whole food type prices, so…I have tended to avoid it, though they are good for having specialty items or imported goods that other stores typically don’t have.

Since I started shopping, I’ve been sticking with D1 which is comparable to Aldi: super economical, easy, and you can be in-and-out fairly quick. There I buy eggs, pasta, crackers, nut mixes, tuna and other items that are non-perishable. For my fruit and veggie haul, I stopped in at the local joint, which proved to be a fantastic decision.

The D1 haul (which included buying olive oil, a tooth brush and splurging on some almond milk) cost me $40,150 Colombian Pesos (COP)[$13.74]. The fruit and veggie haul cost me $30,214 COP ($10.34 USD). Everything totalled up to: 70,364 COP or $24.08 USD.

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I bought this food a little over a week ago and I still have enough for 8 more meals, minimum, This all will total up to about 2 weeks of supply. Not bad, right?

The longevity of this haul has been elongated slightly because I have definitely had meals out. That is a comfort that will be hard to avoid while settling in a new place and making new friends.  

Nonetheless, I think I can do even better next time since I won’t have to buy staple items. Also, as I hone in on more specific meals I want to make, as well as the things I can and can’t eat (had a bad experience with Pitaya (Dragon Fruit) the yellow spiky fruit in the picture) I’ll be able to have a more precise idea of my budget.

As it stands, (if I do my math right) my grocery budget in Colombia may cost me little more than $50 USD per month. If I include going out for meals 2-3 times a week, at an average of $6 per meal ($18/week). My monthly food budget in Colombia is about $122. That is the low side of what I spent on groceries per month back at home… I shudder to think how much I ended up spending on meals out.

There you have it! A little glimpse into my day-to-day expenses in Colombia. Have any questions? Want to know what things are and what I cook? Comment below!

Cheers,

Alaina

UPDATE: The food above lasted me exactly 2 weeks! I’ve gone to the fruteria again and bought fruits and veggies for the remainder of the month and spent 21,107 COP ($7.02).

Also, along the way I bought some nut mixes for snacks and some napkins. I spent $15,160 COP ($5.05). A few days ago, I got a little capricious and bought some gummies, popcorn, cheese, cured meats, crackers, beer, and orange juice which cost me 40,750 COP ($13.57). I ended up throwing away all of the nacho supplies I purchased because they were actually disgusting lol. Approximately a $4 mistake.

I don’t anticipate buying more groceries again, and I’ll keep the $4 in there for other experiments or curiosities. That means the grand total of my shopping month was: $147,381 COP or $49.05 USD. I came in under my budget! Woo!

 

 

*Images at the top are stock images found on google with permission for reuse. I do not claim the rights to these photos.

*Image of food and special guest, Emma the Cat, is mine.

Migas

There are a many signature foods in Spain. Most are well known, like the Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelet) , Paella, Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham), or Wine…wait, wine isn’t food, but it might as well be. There are many, however, that you don’t hear about until you are living here.  One of these tasty delights is Migas.

What are they? And why are they worth writing about?

Migas, [pronounced Mee-guhs] are essentially day-old, or better said, weeks-old bread crumbs sauteed in olive oil and garlic, garnished with a fried red pepper. This version is the most basic and probably the most common if you stop for some in a high-capacity bar in a city. Migas is your classic poor man’s breakfast. It’s cheap, easy, uses basic household ingredients, and recycles the old bread most people would throw away. Developed by poor farmers in agricultural strong-holds like Extremadura, it is designed to nourish and fill a hard working farmer until it’s time to turn in for lunch. If you eat even just one plate and don’t plan on doing any laborious activities, don’t think about eating lunch. Impossible. I’m not a person who is afraid of unbuttoning her pants in order to eat more but, yesterday, at around 11:00 am I ate HALF a plate of Migas, yes half, and wasn’t hungry until 7:30PM.

Migas prepared in one of my haunts, El Viejo Bar, in Badajoz
Migas prepared in one of my haunts, El Viejo Bar, in Badajoz

Apart from being inexpensive and filling, one of the best things about Migas is the surprise it brings wherever you go. You can order Migas in one bar, cross the street and order them again and you’ll be greeted with a distinct signature plate of fancy bread crumbs. While they are a promised stomach filler where ever you are, there really is nothing better than a Migas made in the kitchen of a pueblo. That basic version I described above is blasphemy to the creators of authentic Migas. In fact, the best plate of Migas I’ve ever had was in a tiny village of about 30 people in the north of Caceres, called Roman Gordo. These Migas put the A in authentic and B in belly bursting.

The steps of these Migas are as followed:

Ingredients:

Day old or Stale Bread, Olive Oil, Garlic, Red and Green pepper, Bacon, Chorizo, Blood Sausage,

1. Slice day old French bread into small pieces and crumble onto an oven pan. Lightly spray with water, cover, and let sit overnight.

2. In a hearty amount of Olive Oil, fry green and red peppers until they’re deliciously wrinkled. Remove them from the pan and put them aside.

3. In the same pan, fry Chorizo, Panceta (a thick variety of Bacon), and Murcilla (blood sausage). Leave those rich juices behind, and put the meat aside aside.

4. About halfway through the process of frying of the meats, you can add full garlic cloves to the mix (the amount of course, depends on how many people you are cooking for… typically though, it’s nice to have at least two cloves on each plate, however, it’s important not to overpower the mixture with garlic).

5. When the garlic is toasted add in the bread. Now, you’ll need a mashing tool to mash up the bread into the Migas, the balled bread crumbs. (This part is essential, as the consistency is key).

6. Fry up an egg. Make sure you keep it over-easy, so the yolk is nice and runny.

7. When the bread crumbs are good and mashed, serve them on a plate and garnish with the Chorizo, Panceta, Morcilla, Peppers and Fried egg.

8. Dig in!

Note: You can keep it simple above, or do this however you want really, adding and subtracting ingredients from above.

Dig in is exactly what I did with these LOADED Migas complete with the above AND Ribs:

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As a delicious and authentic taste of Spain, writing about Migas feels worth it to me. Now, you tell me, was it worth reading about Migas? Share you thoughts and comments below 🙂