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10 Colombian Foods You Definitely Need To Try

A photo of arepas
Medellin DatingColombian foods, like arepas, are filling, rich, and satisfying.
Image by Andrés Liévano from Pixabay

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.”—Paul Prudhomme

Whenever Colombian specialties are mentioned, one of the first things that comes to mind is coffee. Unfortunately if you ask the average Westerner on the street to name examples of Colombian foods, you may hear crickets.

Typical Colombian food can be difficult to pin down compared to the more “classic” Latin cuisines from Mexico or other countries in South America. This is because it is a blend of six food cultures within the country.

Food in this country is very hearty and can be an attack on your waistline if you overindulge. Much of their food is starchy and contains bready elements.

Stews, sausages, grilled meat, soups, and breads are representative of Colombian cuisine. Be advised, typical meals will contain plentiful amounts of carbohydrates.

Colombia has one of the greatest biodiversities in the world. This means that there is an abundance and wide variance of food ingredients. Thanks to its tropical weather, you will find no shortage of fruits in the market, or on the plate.

While Colombian cuisine uses a variety of spices, they are not known to be particularly spicy. This should be a comfort to those who cannot tolerate very spicy foods.

Food says a lot about a country’s culture. Let’s see what culture can be learned as we dive into 10 Colombian foods you must try in your next visit to Colombia:

  1. Bandeja Paisa

    Bandeja Paisa is practically the national dish of Colombia. The most noticeable thing about it is how much food there is on the plate - an enormous amount.

    This dish represents abundance.

    Typically, the dish contains Chicharron (Crispy fried pork), rice, sausages, rice, a fried egg, beans, salad, hogago (tomato and onion salsa), a fried plantain and a few more.

    Yes, all that in a single dish.

    While the dish may vary slightly depending on the region, it is typically meant to signify warm hospitality and welcome to visitors.

    Some say that if they were ever to have a last meal on earth, it would be Bandeja Paisa.


  2. Empanadas

    While empanadas can be found elsewhere in Latin America, they are a popular snack in Colombia. Typically sold nearby a church, they are fried corn dough pockets of ground meat or potatoes.

    Empanadas come in different sizes, from snack friendly sizes to sizes good for sharing.

    While typical empanadas contain cooked shredded pork or beef, there are vegetarian options available.


  3. Patacones

    Plantains are a fruit commonly found and used in Colombia. Patacones are green plantains that are fried, smashed, then fried again.

    These plantain fritters are commonly served in the restaurant as a side dish or as an appetizer.


  4. Sudado de Pollo

    Stews are a common type of dish in Colombian cuisine. Sudado de Pollo, which is chicken stew, is a colorful, homy dish popular among Colombian households.

    It is usually served with white rice and is made using tomatoes and potatoes and flavored with cumin, red bell pepper and cilantro.

    If you are visiting a friend in Colombia, you can expect to be welcomed with this dish.


  5. Picada

    During family or friendly gatherings, this is a dish you can expect to be there. Picada Colombiana is a large dish full of a variety of grilled meats and vegetables.

    A typical picada will contain many grilled meats like pork, chicken, beef, sausages, longaniza and tossed in with potatoes, tomatoes, plantains, and avocado.

    Like the good ole’ American barbecue, this is the dish that brings family and friends together.


  6. Arepas

    Arepas are a staple food in Colombia and in cuisine terms are comparable to the Mexican tortilla, Italian bread or Asian white rice.

    An Arepa is a flatbread-like food that is typically made out of ground corn dough. Colombians can eat Arepas for breakfast, lunch, snacks or dinner.

    There is no limit to how much you can vary Arepas and to what taste you would like it to be. You can have it as an appetizer and make it with shrimp and avocados, or like a main dish with meats.

    By simply adding sweet elements like chocolate, cheese or sugar, Arepas are transformed into delicious Colombian desserts!


  7. Sancocho

    In the United States a warm bowl of chicken soup can give you relief from a cold. Sancocho is the Colombian equivalent, a heart, homemade comfort food that nourishes both body and soul.

    While its main ingredient is meat like chicken, it contains pretty much all other starchy ingredients like potatoes, pumpkin, plantains and corn. If you didn’t think that was enough carbohydrates, it is usually eaten with rice and a side of avocado.


  8. Tamales

    Tamales is another Latin dish that has its own unique Colombian twist. A tamale is a corn dough dish that is wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed or boiled.

    Colombian tamale recipes vary from region to region but some popular varieties are made with chicken, pork, peas and potatoes.

    Having tamales alongside a mug of hot chocolate is a very Colombian way to have breakfast.


  9. Arroz Atollado

    From the name itself, Arroz Atollado is primarily a rice dish which contains chicken, pork, potatoes and vegetables and can be served with fried plantains.

    The origins of this dish are traced to the Valle de Cauca region of Colombia and is usually served on special occasions.


  10. Cholado Colombiano

    If you ever find yourself needing comfort from the tropical heat and humidity, Colombia has you covered.

    Cholado is a frozen dessert made with crushed ice, fruit, condensed milk and a few berries.

    The wonderful thing about it is there is no strict adherence to a recipe, which means you can put in whatever additional ingredient you like.

    There is no cooking involved, simply mixing, making it one of those quick and easy to make Colombian foods.

    When heat becomes an issue, you can always count on a serving of Cholado to refresh your senses.

Experience Colombian Culture through Food

In your next visit to Colombia, make it a goal to experience as much of the culture as you can.

While there is so much to do, so many people to meet and so many places to visit in Colombia, make it a point to sample as many Colombian foods as you can. You will quickly realize how much you can learn about a country from its cuisine.

Newest, beautiful, single women now added for week of Wednesday, 25 January, 2023 - Tuesday, 31 January, 2023
Your opportunities here are truly worldwide. Explore our site deeply to see how you can realize that!