Lo que se pegó

It all ended with . . . that crunchy part of the rice that sticks to the pot. You know, it’s a golden-brownish color and you have to scrape it off with a spoon. In Colombia, it’s called la pega, and on the coast they call it el cucayo. Sometimes they say el pegado (pronounced pegao, of course) instead. Be prepared to fight for it–it’s highly esteemed. How esteemed? So much that it even has its own Wikipedia page! Some people consider it a true manjar de dioses, tongue not in cheek but rather wagging, eager for some delicious pega. Ñam ñam.

Apparently, they call it el socarrat in Spain. The things you learn! Concolón in Peru, Ecuador, and Panama. Concón in some parts. Costra in others (eww . . . the rice’s scab?). Corroncho in Costa Rica? (Different meaning in Colombia) Even cocolón in some places. You get the picture; it’s kind of a big deal in Spanish.

Doesn’t it fascinate you that so many words exist in Spanish when we don’t even have one word for it in English? What does that tell us? Well, at least in Colombia, they are VERY arroceros— you can bank on seeing rice at just about every meal. In fact, I remember that a joke down there was that every meal has to have ACPMarroz, carne, papa y maduro (plátano). The joke comes from the fact that ACPM (Aceite combustible para motores) is diesel fuel, an acronym you’ll see on the signs at all the bombas (gas stations). Anyway! Wow, am I getting way off track, or what. Qué pena.

OK, so now you know what it all ended with. But what did it all start with? What in the world inspired this circumlocutory post? Well . . . I realized that there was another blogger I meant to link to but had forgotten. I’d been following her and reading her here on WordPress, but it hadn’t yet occurred to me that you guys might want in on the Spanish goodness. So, with no further ado, here she is.

Latinaish – Another blog that I’ve come to love. Always fascinated by the Latino culture and identifying with it in many ways more than her own, Tracy ended up marrying a Salvadoran and becoming a Latina par excellence. She does a really nice job weaving in that identity with the dominant American culture and cherishing what it means to love two cultures. I have a lot to learn from her, seeing how I’m very ignorant of all Hispanic cultures that aren’t Colombian. Plus, her blog is hilarious and will always provide a heaping dose of funny just when you need it. ¡Échale un vistazo pues!

So, if we think of my blog as a big pot of rice (please make it arroz de coco, like they make on the Pacific coast), that blog was what stuck to the bottom. Hence, la pega. See, not a non sequitur at all.

Also? You guys didn’t give me any recommendations, and I know I’m not writing into a void here (site stats). Come on, I know I’m not the only Spanish website you visit on the internet. Spill the beans about your other favorite haunts. Don’t be intimidated by my blustery talk in the other post; I’m actually much kinder than I made myself out to be. I will have to sacar las garras, though,  if I don’t get any suggestions! Just sayin’.


21 responses to “Lo que se pegó

  1. Thanks for the post. If your Spanish is as clever as your English, then I need to kick up my Spanish study because I’m surely missing out.

    Sadly I have no useful additions when it comes to Spanish; our lists are nearly one and the same.

    Although if you are a fan of language in general, I follow a blog called “Language Log” which I find very interesting. I’ve never studied linguistics so a few posts have gone over my head, nevertheless, I find it entertaining. Although I really only thought of it because of a recent post there pertaining to the idiom you just used to conclude your post.


    • As much as I try, I think my Spanish still leaves much to be desired as far as cleverness goes. I keep hoping it will get envious of all the fun my English is having, though, and catch up :)

      Wow, cool blog! YES, this is what I’m talking about. I don’t think I’ll link to it, but I’ll add it to Google Reader. Thanks!

      I’m pretty sure that that was the first time I’ve ever used “just sayin’.” Sometimes its overuse on other people’s blogs makes me roll my eyes, or the way it’s used to completely excuse and downplay whatever ridiculous thing was said before it. I won’t abuse it, te lo juro.


  2. ok, a couple of years ago, when I was living in Shanghai, I was telling a Mexican coworker of mine about the crusty rice at the bottom of the pot… all the Asians have words for that, and I wanted to know how you say it in Spanish. My friend, of course, being a high society Mexican, looked at me like I was crazy, because apparently she had never had less than perfect “rice” before in her life.

    The next week she showed up at work with a treat for me; somewhere on the streets of Shanghai, a cuban friend of hers, apparently, was quite familiar with “el pegao” and had introduced my friend to his supplier.

    For the record, my Mexican friend thought it was nasty. But that’s neither here nor there.

    In my parents’ Pangasinan, we call the crusty rice “galud” I blogged about it here: http://jpv206.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/recipe-fried-rice/


    • Wow! Pangasinan! You’ve just taught me something new. How interesting.

      You know, I figured that Asians must surely have many words for this, seeing as their cultures are also very rice-centric. Thanks for confirming it!

      I love that we both blogged about galud/pegao and that somehow we just happened to find each other in the blogverse :)


  3. Vocabat, I’m pretty sure I found you through Rodney; he was a superstar listener at both SpanishPod and that other podcast I used to work for.

    Pangasinan is a Filipino language with tons of Spanish vocabulary. The term “Filipino” usually refers to Tagalog, which is the language of Manila. I’m sure Tagalog had a lot of Spanish loan words as well, but now Tagalog speakers prefer English loan words. In any case, the Tagalog version of “el pegao” is “tutong” which obviously doesn’t sound as tasty as “galud.” ;)

    Have you seen the “tahdig,” the Persian version of rice, with the delicate crispy crust like a crown? It’s AMAZING. (and I hope we NEVER go to war with Iran!)

    I’ll send you my fav Spanish language websites later, I still have 3 stacks of 1st semester final exams to grade. ¿Sale?


    • Oh, right. I always forget about the influence of Spain on the Philippines. How interesting that you have gone on to learn Spanish and can trace its influence on your mother tongue (is that right?).

      I’ve never heard of tahdig, but it sounds great. I would never support any candidate, by the way, idiotic enough to go to war with Iran.

      Yes, finish your grading and then come back and share your favorites.

      You just taught me something– I wasn’t familiar with that usage of “¿Sale?”. I thought you meant to say “¿Vale?”, but then I looked it up. Thanks!


  4. I enjoyed this post a lot. Just yesterday I had some coconut rice pegao’, it was beyond delicious. I also really enjoyed all the links to the blogs, I’m rather fond of Chilean words because they sound so foreign to me.


  5. La verdad no sé si existe una palabra acá para describir eso. A lo mejor es porque no cocino…Si tuviese que describirlo, solamente explicaría qué pasó :P


  6. Exacto. Se usa una olla normal :)


  7. This reminds me of the word for the inner part of bread, las migas. Google Translate tells me it means crumbs, but I was always under the impression it meant the inner part of the bread – if there’s a word for it in English, I don’t know it.


    • Hi Cat,

      I’d never heard that, but it looks like you’re right. Look at this Wikipedia article for Miga de pan. It starts out by saying, “La miga de pan es la parte blanda y esponjosa interior del pan.” I had NO idea! Thanks for teaching me something :)

      I know both migas and migajas for crumbs and have always wondered what the difference is.

      So, where did you learn that? Did you spend some time in a different country? It’s not the kind of thing you just pick up in Spanish class!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


      • This is Cat from Lang-8, which is how I found you here. :)

        My brother’s wife, mi cuñada, was talking about las migas – ella era de españa, and was surprised to find in English there is no word, or no word that is commonly known. I suspect there is a word, but it’s only known to bakers.


  8. Que divertido es, leer tu blog y encontrar cosas que solo acabo de encontrar en mi vida diaria. Mi amigo tico del que te hablé estaba cocinando arroz, y cuando lo vi yo dije “Esta un poco … err… sobrecocinado?” (si, acabo de buscar esta en el traductor, ya sé que es “sobrecocido”)
    Y él me miró como estaba loca, y luego explicó que en su familia, todos se pelean por el pegado. Pero después el si mismo tenía que admitir que si, muchos de los trozos fueron como trozos de rocas. Pero comimos todo, es impresionante lo que se come cuando se tiene hambre.


    • De hecho, él dijo que “corroncho” es otra cosa, de Nicaragua (pero no puede recordar que es ahorita). La palabra para lo pegado en Costa Rica es “concho” (significa “grosero” también) y en Nicaragua es “raspa”.


    • A buen hambre no hay pan duro… ni arroz quemao ;)

      ¡Y gracias por los términos! Les voy a enseñar a mis papás lo de raspa (viven en Nicaragua).


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