Colombian fast food can be tasty

Posted April 26, 2013


There is a parallel between emerging and fast-processed information and the food industry. During the recent years, the restaurant industry has expanded in offering different services to meet the demand of the average fast-paced human.

Just like the brooding idea of print publications going out of business because of technology, so have sit-in restaurants, especially at the average fast-food franchise.

The same has happened in the area of Colombian cuisine. The locations of Colombian restaurants have become smaller and have also narrowed down the type of food it offers. What used to be a restaurant with around seating for 20 or more customers, eating a wider variety of wholesome meals, has now turned into a “fast-food” business.

Colombian food is known to be more about comfort food that is very wholesome. Usually, anyone eating at a Colombian restaurant would order from a variety of soups, steaks and fried foods.

At a typical Colombian restaurant, an older generation would go to enjoy meals that they would be served in their native country. Many stories of childhood memories in Colombia would be shared among regular customers.

They would share these stories over a warm chicken soup with vegetables and chicken topped with chopped cilantro and a few squeezes of lime.

But with a younger generation being raised in the United States, this dynamic is changing. This group of young Colombians wants to keep their Colombian traditions but also incorporate the idea of it being a fast food place.

Younger diners don’t want the soups or meals that they were forced to eat when they were younger. They want the fried foods, such as the Colombian hotdogs, chuzos and burgers that they would eat during their vacation in Colombia.

Due to that demand of wanting those foods when they came back to the United States, several fast food places offering only those meals started appearing. There were no longer men sharing childhood stories over soup. It has been replaced by teens and college students who enjoy the nightlife.

Now, it is about eating fried guilty pleasures after a night out on South Beach or the random food cravings that can creep on anybody at 2 a.m.

Los Perros offers a wide variety of guilty greasy pleasures. With their special burgers, such as the Burger 305 and the Night Rider, there is a burger for everyone, even for vegetarians with their Veggie Burger.

The Burger 305 includes a juicy eight-ounce beef burger topped with ham, crispy bacon, crunchy potato chips and tons of oozing mozzarella. The Night Rider includes the same ingredients but it also includes tomatoes and their special pineapple sauce on a toasted sesame bun.

If a customer isn’t in the mood for burgers, the choice of eating one of their hearty hotdogs with different meat options is available. There are hotdogs with chorizo, grilled steak, grilled chicken breast, or just have an original American hotdog with a Colombian twist.

No Colombian eatery is complete without its usual choice of empanadas, fried pork skins with cornflour patties, or salchipapa, a mix of French fries, fried and sliced beef franks, and yellow potatoes. If you would like to enjoy eating these dishes in peace, go before 9 p.m.

Once 9 p.m. comes around, be prepared to face a younger crowd until closing time at 6 a.m. So don’t be surprised to see somebody just leaving from Los Perros when most are on their drive to work.

There is a total of six locations— Flagler, Kendall, Miami Lakes, Sunny Isles, Miami Beach and South Beach.

As for the service, it was just okay. The wait time can seem longer when there isn’t available seating inside or outside, so it is recommended to just do take-out.

Los Verdes is the newest of the Colombian fast-food “chains.” With a lot of similarities to Los Perros, it is a little more upscale with its infamous green neon lights that light up during the nighttime, which is the busiest time.

Most of the customers are a younger demographic, usually high school and college students. Loud electronic music, as well as popular Colombian folklore music is played until closing time. During the weekends, closing time is at 7 a.m.

Some of the most popular dishes at Los Verdes are the Super Perro, the burgers and the maicitos. The Super Perro is a hotdog with the works. It includes melted mozzarella, cole slaw, crumbled potato chips, pineapple, pink sauce (ketchup and mayonnaise mixed together) and a boiled quail egg on top.

Be warned that it is a rather large hotdog; so do not go overboard with ordering more food as a recommendation. Another tip is to tell the waiter to not put as much crumbled potato chips to the hotdogs.

Los Verdes cooks can overdo the crumbled potato chips and it takes away from the rest of the meal. The burgers are also very similar to Los Perros’ hotdogs but it is slightly better in taste at Los Perros.

Seating can be hard to find since it gets very busy during the nighttime, when customers are getting out of their house parties or coming from a night out at a nightclub. But be wary of the service. It can take a while to get an order. Take note that it may take even up to 15 minutes to get an order since it is usually understaffed.

There are five locations—Kendall, Sunrise, Miami Lakes, Weston, and in Queens, New York.

Doghouse is the oldest of the three and there is only one location in Hialeah. An older crowd is found here during the nighttime unlike Los Perros and Los Verdes.

It is not as “hip” either compared to the both of them too. There are no neon green lights or loud electronic music. There is usually a television playing a DVD of Colombian music or a popular Colombian program playing.

The more traditional dishes can be found here, such as picada de bollo, maicitos, and chuzos. A picada de bollo includes the same ingredients as a salchipapa but instead of yellow potatoes, it includes bollo, which is a cooked dough made of flour, mozzarella cheese, salt and water.

The maicitos are a mix of sweet corn, mozzarella cheese, a mash of sweet corn, and pink sauce on top. The chuzos, or shish kebobs, are also a favorite. Since it isn’t as popular as the other two franchises, seating is easy to find and it doesn’t get too busy.

There is no need to fight for elbow space with an inebriated college student at Doghouse. The service is good since it doesn’t get busy.

But no matter what Colombian fast food eatery is chosen, be reassured that there is a plentiful amount of greasy guilty pleasures at almost anytime of the day and night.

  • Los Perros-Miami Lakes
  • 9281 NW 80th Ave., Unit 5-S, Hialeah, Fla. 33016
  • 305-675-1707
  • Price Range: $4-$12
  • Accepts all major credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard and American Express
  • Other locations in Miami Beach, Flagler, Sunny Isles, Kendall and South Beach
  • Parking is located inside the plaza
  • Los Verdes-Miami Lakes
  • 7590 NW 186th St., Hialeah, Fla. 33015
  • 305-480-6775
  • Price Range: $5-$15
  • Accepts all major credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard and American Express
  • Other locations in Kendall, Sunrise, Weston and Queens, New York
  • Parking can be found in a private lot next to Miami Lakes location
  • Doghouse-Palm Springs North
  • 7672 NW 186th St., Hialeah, Fla. 33015
  • 305-819-8881
  • There is no website for Doghouse.
  • Price Range: $5-$12
  • Accepts all major credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard and American Express
  • Parking can be found inside plaza