Top 25 Colombian Foods (With Photos!)
Colombia is known for being a tropical paradise with a diversity of interesting ingredients infusing its traditional cuisine. Colombia’s gastronomy is heavily influenced by its 5 different regions, each having its own unique flavor. If you want to be sure of trying the best dishes this South American country has to offer, keep reading and take note.
Drum rolls, please, for the most popular Colombian foods.
Aborrajado is a typical Colombian dish consisting of a mixture of sweet and salty flavors. Ripe plantain is sliced, fried and filled with white cheese, which melts easily, and a bit of bocadillo (a solid sweet guava paste). Then, it is covered with a mix of flour, milk, vanilla and eggs, and fried again. This creates a flavor bomb that won’t be easy to forget.
24. Cholao (Exotic Fruit Salad)
Cholao is a popular fruit salad served on a base of shaved ice and bathed with different flavored syrups and condensed milk. The fruits include banana, green apple, strawberry, grapes, papaya, and pineapple. On a hot afternoon, there is nothing better than this refreshing sweet with all the flavors of this Latin land.
23. Arepa de Huevo (Fried Egg Arepa)
Arepa de huevo is usually served as an appetizer or at breakfast. The base of this dish is a dough made with corn flour, which is filled with a fried egg. But it not as simple as it sounds and the key to a successful arepa de huevo is in the complicated preparation. In fact you need care and great courage to perfect this dish.
The dough is cooked in very hot oil, removed for the egg to be added, then returned to the fryer. Perhaps it is better to leave the cooking to the locals and just focus on enjoying it.
Mondongo is a very well-seasoned dish prepared with beef belly, rigorously cleaned and finely diced, finely diced pork, various vegetables and greens, all slow cooked. It is accompanied by dressings, lemon, and spices. We promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the flavor of this dish.
21. Patacones con Hogao (Fried Plantain with Salty Sauce)
In Colombia, green plantain is used to complement various dishes and one of the most favorite is patacones. Patacon is mashed green plantain (therefore not yet sweet) that is immersed in very hot oil until golden. It is usually accompanied by hogao, a salty sauce made with sautéed tomatoes and onion.
Colombian fiambre is a combination of several foods. Generally, it contains rice, chicken, meat, egg, potatoes, plantains, and chorizo. What makes fiambre extra appealing is that all ingredients are cooked separately and come together on plantain leaves for serving, which impart a smoky flavor. Fiambre is often consumed on walks or at traditional festivities.
19. Chorizo con Arepa (Sausage with Arepa)
This is a sausage of minced and seasoned fatty pork, very rich in calories. Visitors to Antioquia can enjoy the flavor of this region-specific Antioquia chorizo, accompanied by various types of arepas and a good long drink.
18. Natilla y Bueñuelos (Custard and Fried Dough)
Buñuelos are small deep fried balls of dough made with cheese and corn flour are and probably the most favorite snack in Colombia.
Buñuelos are commonly accompanied by natilla, which is a custard made with cornstarch, egg yolk, milk, vanilla, and panela (the extract of unrefined sugar cane juice), which gives it its characteristic caramel color, great consistency, and sweet flavor. Both buñuelos and natilla are considered one of the most popular Christmas dishes in Colombia.
17. Empanadas (Patties)
Colombian empanadas are thin corn arepas folded in half in the shape of a crescent, filled with a creole stew of different meats, potatoes, and rice, and then fried. Basically, empanada fillings vary depending on what is more typical of the region.
The diversity of flavors found in empanadas makes them recognized as a symbol of Colombian gastronomy.
Butifarra is a fresh sausage made with minced pork seasoned with salt, pepper and, sometimes, other spices. It is characterized above all by its small, almost round shape and is popularly known for being a party dish. They are cooked on the grill and served with a slice of lemon.
15. Morcilla (Blood Sausage)
It may sound crazy to some, but blood sausage is one of the most traditional foods in Colombia. Although Spanish in origin, the people of Colombia adapted it and made it their own.
Basically, it is a sausage of cooked blood, generally cow’s, mixed with pork fat and other ingredients to bulk it out, such as rice. The cooking technique is very traditional, but it is familiar throughout Latin America. It is usually eaten at gatherings around a grill or barbeque.
Pandebono looks like bread, but it is not. Rather than wheat flour, cornstarch is used, together with fermented cassava starch, cheese, and egg.
It is a traditional food of Valle del Cauca, but is eaten everywhere, for breakfast and as an afternoon snack. There is nothing like eating a hot pandebono accompanied with a glass of milk – the aroma is exquisite.
13. Arepa de Chocolo (Sweet Corn Arepa)
Arepa is one of the most important foods in Colombian cuisine. There are a wide variety of arepas, both salty and sweet. The one that brings all the varieties together is arepa de choclo.
The main ingredient is a sweet, corn-based dough, which gives it the softness of a pancake. This dish is accompanied by Colombian cheese, called quesito, and a hot drink. They are usually eaten for breakfast and it is impossible to eat just one, especially when coated with butter.
12. Picada or Fritanga (Fried Tray)
The Colombian picada is also known as “The Palace of Cholesterol”, which should tell you a lot about the ingredients and how it is cooked. It is a plate of patacones, arepa, cassava, colombian sausage, morcilla (blood sausage), pork, chicharron, and Colombian potatoes – all fried.
It is usually offered at gatherings and parties where plenty of alcohol is served. Colombians eat a lot of picada when they get together with friends.
This dish is considered one of the most exquisite in the country. It is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and, in some regions, it is enjoyed on very special occasions such as Christmas or birthdays. Tamal is a dish made with corn dough, spiced using different ingredients, depending on the region, and wrapped in a banana leaf.
They say that its origin is pre-Hispanic. Given the number of ingredients and cooking time required, Colombians usually prepare them in large quantities.
10. Mote de Queso (Cheese Soup)
Cheese is an essential ingredient in Colombia. It is eaten on its own, accompanied with banana, or integrated in other dishes, such as arepa.
An exquisite coastal dish, originally from the departments of Sucre and Córdoba, based largely on cheese is mote de queso. It is made with yam, hard cheese, onion, garlic, and coastal serum (a special sauce of the region).
9. Sancocho (Colombian Soup)
Sancocho is one of the most popular dishes in Colombian gastronomy and it has been proposed many times as the national dish. It is a soup based on potatoes or casava, to which meat is added (chicken, fish, or beef).
Sancocho has its own traditional seasoning in each region of the country. The most popular variety is the one cooked with chicken, but then there’s the triphasic sancocho, containing pork, beef, and chicken.
8. Posta Cartagenera (Black Sauce Pork)
Usually made with eye of round roast beef, this recipe is mostly served on the Colombian Caribbean coast and is not usually found in other parts of the country. The women of the city guard ancient secrets about the preparation of this dish.
A unique style of preparation can be found in Colombia’s most important tourist destination.
7. Lechona (Stuffed Pork)
Lechona is one of the most delicious traditional Colombian recipes. It is a hearty meal that is prepared throughout the year but particularly at Christmas.
This dish is composed of pork and cooked peas. It involves a very particular preparation. Once the pig has been slaughtered, the meat is extracted without breaking the animal’s skin. The meat is then mixed with peas and put back in the body of the pig, which is then cooked in a brick oven for over two hours.
This very important food is prepared for holidays and big celebrations. It is basically beef seasoned with garlic, onion, spices, and beer, placed on long sticks and roasted for four hours. It is served with potatoes, cassava, arepas, and guacamole.
5. Chuleta Valluna (Breaded Pork Loin)
This is typical of the department of Valle del Cauca, which is located between the Andean and Pacific regions on the west coast of Colombia. It is a piece of marinated, breaded, and fried pork loin that is usually served with rice, salad, cassava, fried banana slices, or a delicious bean stew.
4. Cazuela de Mariscos (Seafood Casserole)
Colombia has three islands in the Caribbean Sea: San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina. A lot of seafood is consumed here, such as octopus, squid, prawns, oysters, and shrimp. In this soup, seafood is mixed together with coconut milk, creating a bomb of flavors.
3. Fried Fish
Colombia is the only South American country that borders two seas: the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean. Fish is the principal food in the towns located near the coast. Seafood changes depending on what side you are on. While the two areas have different customs, they generally both serve fried fish, coconut rice, patacon (fried banana), and salad.
The secret of this dish is in the local seasoning. The most popular fish from the Caribbean and Pacific are Bocachico, Cachama, Tilapia, catfish, and red snapper.
Soups are a big deal in Colombia. There are many of them, but Ajiaco is one of the most popular and frequently consumed throughout the country, although it is typical of Bogotá, the country’s capital. It is made with potato, either pastusa, criolla, or sabanera, depending on where you go. Besides potatoes, this thick and rich soup has boneless and skinless chicken breast cut in cubes, onion, garlic, large ears of corn and dried huascas (a Colombian herb), which are added right at the end and which give Ajiaco its unique and delicious flavor.
1. Bandeja Paisa (Antioquian Tray)
Bandeja paisa is without doubt the most representative dish and emblem of Antioquia gastronomy, making it typical of this region. One of the fundamental characteristics of this dish is its abundance, both in quantity and variety. Bandeja paisa is so large that it can only be served on large plates or even trays. It can be easily found pretty much in 95% of restaurants.
The beauty of this wonderful dish is that it integrates a lot of flavors. A red bean base, Colombian sausage, ground beef, rice, fried pork rind called chicharron, arepa, plantain, a slice of avocado, all topped with a fried egg. The quality of a Bandeja Paisa is measured by the size of its chicharron. This is a dish you cannot miss as it contains the most traditional food eaten in Colombia.
There you go folks, now you have sufficient dishes to choose from next time you visit our beautiful Colombia. Enjoy!.