An Introduction to Some of Colombia's Finest Food
One of the best things about food is that each country has its own cuisine with tantalizing flavors as well as a rich backstory, and Colombia is no different. Their cuisine is hearty, meaty, filling, and definitely worth exploring. Some of the finest dishes are created in this South American country whether it’s from Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin and all the way to the coastal regions of the Pacific Ocean or even the mountainous regions of the Andes and the river region of the Amazon River. The fact that Colombia’s land stretches along so many regions means their cuisine is greatly influenced thus creating culturally diverse dishes and tastes.
If you’re about to visit Colombia, or you’re a foodie at heart, this guide into Colombia’s finest food is bound to entice your taste buds.
Colombia is famous for the most delicious cup of coffee you’ll ever have. It is one of the world’s best coffee producers for its ideal growing conditions and that’s why it’s so special. Their 100% Arabica coffee beans can be roasted dark without turning bitter and it’s where you’ll find the best cup of espresso. Before you can order that perfect cup of coffee, there are always more tips you can look up online on how to drink it, where the best place to order it is, or even how you can roast it at home. The basic cup of coffee is called Tinto and you can order it anywhere, even at street vendors. It’s a thicker, concentrated form of coffee served in small cups.
Considered to be Colombia’s national dish, it’s an ideal way to start your day. Originally created for peasant workers back in the day to give them the right amount of energy before work, nowadays it has become a staple of a Latin American lunch. It’s the ideal meal when you’re super hungry because it’s so rich; it has rice, red beans, fried eggs, plantain, avocado, chorizo (pork sausage), arepa (corn cakes), and carne en polvo (minced or powdered beef). This dish is usually a little expensive because it’s always presented in large portions enough to be consumed by several people.
As mentioned above, arepas are like corn cakes or corn bread made out of maize flour. This pastry is very popular and is usually coupled with many types of meals and flavors. In the mountainous regions, you’ll find that the locals love to eat it with shredded chicken or goat meat, while in the coastal regions they love to top it with spicy grilled shrimp or lobster. It also pairs well with local cheeses and fruits like avocados, mangos, or guava.
When you visit Colombia, you’ll find that this is a very popular appetizer to start your meal with. It’s made out of plantain slices stuffed with any type of cheese although pepper jack is often used to give it a spicy kick. They’re then dipped in batter and deep fried. It’s savory and sweet, what’s not to love?
Ajiaco is a very popular stew containing a myriad of ingredients bound to keep you warm and energized. It has corn, chicken, three types of potatoes, a local sour cream as well as a locally grown herb called guasca. For seafood lovers, you definitely need to try Cazuela de Mariscos as it’s a rich seafood pot made out of coconut milk, a variety of vegetables, many spices, and prawns or any seafood of your choice. Sancocho is another stew that is made with basic ingredients and has turned into a hearty meal. It has large pieces of chicken or beef, corn, and chunks of yucca and plantain. It can be served with clear broth, cream, or herb sauce.
Although this is a very popular Latin American snack, Colombians have added their own twist to it. It can be filled with anything you want, and in Colombia, it can be filled with pork, stewed beef, or seasoned potatoes. What makes it different is that they batter it with cornmeal and deep fry it making it crispy and delicious. It’s the ultimate street food snack to keep you going!
Although it’s considered very fatty, it’s still one of Colombia’s most traditional dishes. Made out of fried pork rinds or fried pork belly, it can also be substituted with chicken, mutton, or beef. It’s usually diced down to bite-sized portions and is often served with rice or alone.
Posta Negra Cartagena
Many of Colombia’s staple dishes are very meaty and this one is no different. It’s a fresh beef entrée that is very flavorful. A tri-tip steak is slow-cooked and then served with a spicy and dark syrup on a bed of rice.
This is another popular meat dish you should try. This steak is sun-dried and marinated in a wide range of herbs and spices only to be sun-dried until it resembles beef jerky. It’s often paired with boiled yuccas and a side of rice with an almond cream sauce known as pepitoria.
Even though it’s also a popular seafood dish in Latin America, it’s made differently in Colombia. It contains fresh fish like octopus, shrimp, and red snapper that is marinated in lime juice. Locals like to pair it with rich tomato sauce and crackers.
This is considered to be a post-party street snack that is often found at 24-hour cafes. It’s a mixture of sausage, pork, beef, and chicken served on a bed of lettuce. It’s then topped with sweetcorn, chips, tartar sauce, pineapples, and hot salsa.
Chocolate con queso
Simply translated as chocolate and cheese, this delicacy is a very popular snack among the locals. You can either drink hot chocolate with a slice of aromatic cheese or it’s a slice of cheese dipped in hot chocolate. It’s typically eaten for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
Chontaduro is one of the best-selling fruits in Colombia and often served at street vendors. It’s a peach palm fruit that can be paired with lemon, salt, or honey. It’s high in protein and tasty. Maracuya is a type of passion fruit that is also very popular in Colombia. It’s tasty and rich in Vitamin C. It’s also known to aid indigestion. Typically, you would cut it in half and eat it but some add sugar to sweeten its taste. It’s also a popular ingredient if fruit cocktails and smoothies.
This sweet treat can often be found at many Colombian bakeries. It’s a ring pastry that is topped with sugar and has a guava filling. It’s super light and airy and can be paired with coconut ice cream.
A Culinary Experience
These are just a few of the tasty dishes that Colombia has to offer. With a diverse cuisine, there’s something for everyone, from flavorful spices and seasonings, tasty desserts, a fusion of ingredients, rich meats, chicken, and seafood as well as delicious fruit and coffee. Colombia has a little bit of everything waiting to be discovered.
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