When I first approached John Bohorquez, whose family owns Mekato's Colombian Bakery, about featuring their buñuelo, I thought that a buñuelo was a sort of doughnut. It was one of those things that had a very vague and shadowy shape in my mind, so I thought maybe there would be some readers out there in the same boat.
But I was quickly set straight when I arrived at Mekato's early one morning to talk to John and his baker. Had I been in a Mexican bakery instead of a Colombian one, I would have been correct about the sweet nature of the buñuelo. John explained that most Latino cultures have something called a buñuelo, but that it's form and taste vary drastically from country to country.
In Colombia, a buñuelo is basically a sphere of fried cheese bread. Let me more accurately describe that. At Mekato's, a buñuelo is basically an exceptionally delicious cheesy doughnut hole on steroids. The best thing about these doughnuts? Though they are slightly more popular in the morning, it's perfectly acceptable to eat them at any time of the day. That means you could have a buñuelo with your morning coffee, a buñuelo with your Cup o' Noodles at lunch, and a buñuelo for dessert after dinner. If you've never had one, you will understand why this isn't out of the question when you try your first buñuelo.
Click through the slideshow to see the fascinating transformation a pale sphere of dough makes into beautiful golden brown buñuelo.