A Taste from Abroad: Cartagena & Tel Aviv

airtransat By airtransat / 07 November 2018

A Taste from Abroad: Cartagena & Tel Aviv

airtransat By airtransat

Article by Britney Hope & Sarah Treleaven  originally published in the November 2018-April 2019 edition of the Atmosphere magazine. Read the latest edition here.

Two writers take us food shopping in Cartagena and Tel Aviv and whip up dishes with the souvenirs they bring home.

Cartagena: Bazurto Market

Bazurto market in Cartagena
Photo credit: Air Transat

At the Market

Affectionately nicknamed “The People’s Market,” the Bazurto Market in Cartagena is no tourist trap. A twisty maze of fruit stalls, bodegas, fish mongers and steaming pots of local fare, the rambling outdoor hub is a great way to get a glimpse of real life in Colombia. With the help of a guide, stock up on some authentic Colombian bits and bites.

What’s Typical


This tilapia-like Colombian fish is a favourite local lunch option at Bazurto and is usually served deep-fried with salt, lime and a side of boiled yucca.


Plantain in Cartagena
Photo credit: Air Transat

This banana-like fruit is a staple of the region, typically fried and served with fish—although many Colombians also prefer it candied in a sauce of sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.

Arepa de Huevo

This crispy, egg-filled corn cake is best enjoyed hot, so ask for one straight out of the fryer.

Kola Román

This fizzy, Cartagena-born soda has been beloved for more than a century for its bright pink colour and refreshing vanilla flavour.

Fish in Cartagena
Photo credit: Air Transat

At Home

In Cartagena’s Old Town is a little place called La Cevichería. There, with Kola Román sourced from Bazurto Market, owner Jorge Escandon serves up a Colombian ceviche dish that captures the spirit of Cartagena. At home, recreate those days in Colombia with this recipe inspired by Escandon’s famous dish.


Recipe: Ceviche with Kola Román Reduction

Photo credit: Air Transat

Ingredients for the Kola Román Reduction

  • 1 cup Kola Román 1⁄2 cup water,
  • 1 plantain, sliced into thick pieces,
  • 1 cinnamon stick,
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar,
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter .

Ingredients for the Ceviche

  • 500 g (1 lb) shrimp or prawn, peeled,
  • 250 g (1⁄2 lb) red snapper, cut into cubes,
  • 1 cup spicy lettuce (arugula, escarole, watercress, etc.)
  • 1 large avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced 1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice Juice of 1 mandarin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1⁄4 cup prepared Kola Román reduction


For the Kola Román reduction, combine sugar, cinnamon and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved, then add plantains. Simmer until plantains are soft and water has evaporated, then reduce heat to medium. Add Kola Román and let it reduce until the plantains are red in colour and the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick, and stir in butter until sauce is glossy.

For the ceviche, in a bowl, combine snapper, prawn (or shrimp) and onion with the mandarin, lime and lemon juices. Add salt and pepper and marinate for 10 minutes. Arrange avocado and lettuce onto a plate, and add on top the Kola Román reduction with the simmered plantains. Pile marinated ceviche onto the combined ingredients.

Pineapples in Cartagena
Photo credit: Air Transat

Tel Aviv: Carmel Market

At the Market

At Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market, close your eyes and take a sniff of that warm air. The food is so fresh and fragrant you can pretty much use this method to tell what’s in season, recently baked or newly ground at any given moment. Amid the market’s happy chaos and stalls selling everything from craft beers to creamy hummus to baklava thick with honey, here are some items to sample while you stroll.

What’s Typical

Pomegranate Juice

Stalls sell fresh juices and smoothies, from carrot-mint to banana- date, but my favourite is the ruby-red, sweet-tart pomegranate juice still pressed by hand.

Olive Oil

A core ingredient in Israeli recipes, olive oil is produced widely in a country thick with ancient olive trees.

Olive oil in Tel Aviv
Photo credit: Air Transat


This thick dairy product is essentially strained yogourt, but it’s closer in taste to wonderfully fatty and smooth sour cream


Bring home some tangy sumac or za’atar, a beloved blend of basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram and toasted sesame seeds.

Olive oil in Tel Aviv
Photo credit: Air Transat

At Home

Crack open your souvenir olive oil and za’atar spice mix and revive the happy memories of strolling in the Carmel Market. Chef Ohad Salomon of Tel Aviv bistro CoffeeBar offers this recipe as an example of Israeli cuisine’s commitment to elevated simplicity.

Recipe: Fresh Anchovies in Olive Oil and Za’atar Marinade

Fresh anchovies in olive oil and za'atar marinade in Tel Aviv
Photo credit: Air Transat


  • 10 anchovies
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 200 ml (62⁄3 oz) olive oil (plus extra for plating)
  • 30 ml (1 oz) lemon juice (plus extra for plating)
  • Whole lemon, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Green chili, thinly sliced (plus extra for plating)
  • 1.5 tbsp za’atar spice mix (plus extra for plating)
  • Wild fennel leaves


Rinse anchovies and dry well. Slice along stomach, clean abdominal bones and cut into fillets. Place on a tray with a little coarse salt and sprinkle more sea salt on top. Refrigerate for about two hours. Then rinse the salt off and dry the fillets.

To prepare the marinade, stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, sliced lemon, garlic, green chili and za’atar.

Place anchovy fillets in marinade and let dish marinate in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

Douse the dish in olive oil, squeeze a little lemon juice on top, garnish with green chili slices and wild fennel leaves, and sprinkle with za’atar.

Cover photo credit: Air Transat

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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