Word Wednesday: Chicharrón and Bollo

Posted on 16/10/2013


Today’s word is chicharrón. Literally, “chicharrón” refers to a pork rind, a popular street food and side dish in traditional Colombian plates, normally found fried.


However, you will also here “chicharrón” used frequently to mean “a problem” or “difficult situation,” especially on the Caribbean Coast. While you can use “chicharrón” to refer to any problem you’ve got, it’s most commonly used when referring to problems or sticky situations in a work setting.

For instance, many people will say, “Tengo un chicharrón en la oficina que tengo que solucionar” (I have a problem at the office that I need to deal with). Or, you might hear someone say, “Estoy metido en UN chicharrón en el trabajo” (I am stuck in a tough situation at work). Often, people will put a strong stress on the “un” to imply it’s a big problem or a really tough situation.


And, while using “chicharrón” will allow you to blend in on the Caribbean Coast, to blend in in the interior of Colombia, you’ll want to use the word “bollo.” “Bollo” literally referes to cornmeal that is rolled up and boiled inside a corn husk until tender–often eaten in salads or as a side dish with artisan sour cream on the Caribbean Coast. However, “bollo,” just like “chicharrón,” can be used to refer to a problem or difficult situation that you have gotten yourself into. However, you won’t want to use this one on the Caribbean Coast as most costeños only use “bollo” in the literal sense!

Hasta la próxima,