What it's like to be Asian, in Colombia


I ran into a friend at a bar, and he asked me about my recent trip to Medellin, Colombia.

Are there any Asian people in Medellin?  The answer? There are not a bunch of  Asians in Medellin, Colombia.

Colombians are super friendly, and I’ve learned to answer their question “De dondes eres?” (Where are you from?) with “Soy de Canada pero mi en familia es Chino” (I’m from Canada, my family are Chinese).

This photo was mandatory!
This photo was mandatory!

If you don’t answer the question that way, they think you don’t understand and will ask again. If you’re Asian, you’ve been asked that question by people in North America every once in a while, you know what I’m talking about. “Where are you reallllyyyyy frommmm?” they’ll ask. I always think “Dude, I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I love country music, F-150s and steaks!” But then reluctantly answer “My ethnicity is Chinese.”

Colombians though, I think just really haven’t known many Asian people at all. I asked them in my completely garbage Spanish, what they think of people from Asia

  1. Stern
  2. Good at math
  3. Knows Karate
  4. They didn’t mention it but they probably think I have a small penis too. They were too polite to mention it though.

Typical Chinese food in Colombia
Typical Chinese food in Colombia

They do have Chinese restaurants (And yes it’s usually 99% Colombians working at the Chinese Restaurant.)

One thing here that’s funny. Is that on the menus at the Chinese restaurants they’ll have all these different stir fried rice dishes. Yet one of them will be called “Arroz de Chino”, or Chinese Rice. When I see that, I always think….wait…aren’t they always Chinese stir fried rice? Sure the other one’s have odd ingredients like pork rinds, but hey it’s stir fried rice…

The menus, be very wary. This is usually greasy, and not Chinese food. Think Food court in a cheap all
The menus, be very wary. This is usually greasy, and not Chinese food. Think Food court in a cheap all

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