A taste of Colombian cuisine at Jacksonville restaurant

Hispanic Heritage Month

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) Hispanic cuisine is distinct and diverse. Some restaurants make sure they stick with tradition.

At Liliana’s Colombian Restaurant and Bakery, every plate is made from scratch.

The owners originally from the South American country serve a variety of dishes stemming from recipes dating back six generations.

“My grandma’s still alive, she’s 93 years old and I still remember her teaching me when I was a little girl how to make that stuff, and then the stuff she passed over to me and then I’m passing to my children,” said Liliana Rios, owner of Liliana’s Colombian Restaurant & Bakery.

The restaurant located in Jacksonville, is family-owned.

It’s ran by Liliana, her husband, and Liliana’s mom, Aura Ramirez, as the chef.

The mother-daughter duo served the Latino and Hispanic community in Elizabeth City, New Jersey for 30 years.

Until six years ago, when they opened Liliana’s Colombian Restaurant & Bakery.

On the menu, bandeja paisa, a crowd favorite.

The dish popular in Jacksonville and in Colombia serves enough food to leave you satisfied for the day.

Bandeja paisa includes steak, rice, beans, eggs, a piece of Colombian pork, sweet plantains, a small slice of avocado, and an arepa.

The plate can be found at any Colombian restaurant.

Sancocho is better than it sounds.

It’s hot stew with plantains, sweet corn, potato, and cassava –a plant used in Latin American cooking.

At Liliana’s Colombian Restaurant you can choose two options: Sancocho de res or gallina.

In other words, hot stew with beef or hen.

The hot stew is considered to be a home remedy for new moms and the immune system.

“If somebody has a cold or something like that so the vitamins that are in a sancocho de gallina are very important,” said Rios.

Every plate is cooked homestyle. Rios says customers shouldn’t expect decorative plates or “anything fancy”.

Depending on the region, plates in Colombia can be cooked in different ways.

“Our tamales are different from the ones in Mexico, the tamales in Puerto Rico or any other country,” said Rios.

There is so much variety, not every Colombian plate is listed on their menu because there is not enough time to cook everything.

But you are guaranteed a plate filled with flavor at Liliana’s Colombian Restaurant.

In the South American country portion sizes are huge, almost everything is fried, and filled with some type of meat.

At Liliana’s, the quality of food is much smaller.

“A lot of Americans come here and they get scared when they see the plate and they say it’s too much,” said Ramirez.

One desert you can’t leave without are bunuelos.

They are deep-fried cheese balls considered a country staple.

To top it all off, a drink. No alcoholic drinks are served at the Jacksonville restaurant, but authentic Colombian drinks are. Some recommendations are Postobon, Malta Goya, and Colombiana.

“If people come and we don’t have it, they get upset,” said Rios.

The South American place is the only Colombian restaurant within a two-hour driving radius of Jacksonville.

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