Colombian food is heavy and hearty with lots of starches, meats, and sweets. It’s also very diverse and depends on the region you happen to be in. From fresh fish and lobster on the Caribbean coast to rolling coffee hills in the southern Zona Cafetera that supply the world with it’s tasty addiction, there are no limit to its foods and flavors. Below is a collection of some of the more typical dishes and drinks you’ll find in Colombia.
Do not miss the opportunity to indulge on some of the cheapest and most succulent lobster you’ll find around the world. My mouth waters remembering the delightful crustaceans I sampled while on the Caribbean coast of Colombia.
Patacones – (see photo above, left on the plate) sweet plantains that are squashed down to look similar to pancakes and have been deepfried in vegetable oil.
A delicacy in only specific parts of Colombia (San Gil & Barichara), these de-legged and de-winged leaf-cutter ants are soaked in salty water and then roasted. And they taste surprisingly good.
Ceviche is very popular in Colombia and you will come across many cevicherias on your travels. While the recipe varies depending where you are, it’s generally a combination of fresh, raw fish cured with citrus juices such as lemon and lime with onions, coriander, and chili peppers.
Many people aren’t fond of this strong flavored alcohol but I was pleasantly surprised as it’s anise flavored, which means it tastes like black licorice. You can’t visit the country without enjoying a shot. Or two.
Arequipe (Dulce de Leche)
Dip cookies in it, eat it on its own, or put it on top of desserts and ice cream, either way you’ll fall in love with this sweetened milk that’s heated and turned into a creamy confection. It’s basically caramel sauce, but so much better.
It’s short for “fast food” and is usually just a list of typical dishes you can find in any local restaurant and often includes rice with chicken (arroz con pollo), or roasted or grilled beef (carne asada).
Arepas are Colombia’s version of a flatbread made out of corn flour and can be served with cheese, avocado, jam or jelly, often styled into sandwiches.
The soups throughout Colombia and all of South America are some of the heartiest and tastiest. Usually including broth, chicken, corn, and potatoes it’s a great start to the rest of your meal.
Buñuelos They are kind of like cheese fritters in a nice round ball. They can be a little greasy, but you’ll find them in every bakery and they’re cheap and perfect for staving off hunger.
Coffee How can you visit one of the world’s top producers of coffee without going for a tour and sampling some? No fancy frappe’s and cappucinos here, Colombians keep it simple and smooth using only the best of both arabica and robusta beans.
HotChocolatewithCheese It might seem a weird combination, but I quite enjoyed dipping some local cheese into my hot chocolate and eating it that way. Don’t knock it till you try it, right?
Chicharrones These delights are kind of like pork rinds but way tastier as there is more skin. For those willing to indulge and not worry about the calories.
Fruit Guanabana (my favourite), granadilla, guava, lulo, tomate de arbol (tree tomatoes), maracuya (passionfruit) and mamoncillo are just a few to list of the delightful fruit you need to try when in Colombia. Order them up in a fruit salad, in cocktails, or just on their own, and you’re sure to enjoy the sweet, sour, and unique tastes these fruits all offer your palate.