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BoCa Latin Flavors is a home-style restaurant and bar in Jing’an that serves heavy-hitting Colombian and Venezuelan comfort food.
It’s named after the capital cities Bogotá and Caracas, and is a joint effort between first time restaurant owners David Pastor (Colombia) and sisters Reyna and Diana Vieira (Venezuela).
The space is homey, if not simple. When BoCa isn’t churning out deliciously gut-busting food, the dining room turns into a club of sorts on the weekend with Latin music, a DJ, and plenty of dancing late into the night. There’s also a lofted lounge, mostly for shisha.
Food from Colombia and Venezuela is quite similar; after all, the two were once a single nation. But there are distinctions, which are clearly stated in the menu. It’s mostly a cornucopia of heavenly deep-fried bites and meat-filled cornmeal cakes. Vegetarians don’t be dissuaded—more than half of the menu is vegetarian-friendly.
The Food at BoCa
Without further ado, sink your teeth into these:
Cachapas, also known as the corn arepa, is a thin gluten-free pancake made with fresh ground corn. It’s pan-fried, then blanketed with cheese, and can be stacked with a multitude of toppings. The traditional cachapas are jumbo-sized when compared to the mini versions. One regular-sized cachapa is a meal in itself. It’s a Venezuelan breakfast staple, but can be eaten for any meal.
Toppings for the cachapas can also be done with arepas, which range from ¥35 to ¥68.
Personally, I loved the cachapas. It’s filling, made purely from fresh corn, and pretty nutritious if you don’t count the oil and skip the chicharron. Plus, the empanadas are some of the best I’ve had in Shanghai.
Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine in Shanghai is underrepresented, and regrettably so. It’s not the kind of food for a healthy diet per se, but damn does it scratch that comfort food itch.
BoCa Latin Flavors
Address: 595 Wuding Lu, near Xikang Lu
Hours: Daily, 11:30am-2am