Colombian cuisine is incredible.
If you visit Colombia or are lucky enough to have a Colombian friend, chances are you’ll never go hungry. You will also never tire of the distinct flavors, textures and wide variety of tastes offered by the food of this wonderful South American country.
Foundations of Colombian Cuisine
Colombia is a very large country with very diverse regions and people, and as a result, the types of food served in different areas can vary, but it is all quite good. Much of the food of Colombia includes some degree of Spanish influence since the country was colonized by the Spanish.
Slaves were also brought to this part of the world in large numbers, and as a result, African influence can be seen in Colombian food culture as well. Furthermore, indigenous people have lived in the area for thousands of years and also played a big role in the development of Colombian cuisine of today.
Combine these things with the vast variety of ingredients offered by the sea, the rainforest and the mountains, and you will begin to understand the reasons that Colombian food is as wonderful as it is.
No matter where you visit in Colombia, you will find that most meals include meat, rice, and a vegetable regardless of the time of the day.
Soup is also a staple of Colombian cuisine and will accompany most dishes you order. Coffee is a big part of Colombian culture as well, so plan to drink a lot of it with your favorite Colombian meals.
There are hundreds of Colombian main dishes, soups, and sides. Listing and explaining all of them could take days or even weeks.
Here are a few of the most common and well-known Colombian dishes. Choose a few and dive in. Immersing yourself in Colombian cuisine is encouraged, trust us, you won’t regret it.
Bandeja paisa, is known as a “workman’s platter” because of the amount of food presented with each serving. It is one of the most well-known and most widely eaten dishes of Colombia. In fact, it is the national dish of Colombia.
It includes white rice, red beans, ground beef, fried plantain, chorizo, avocado, corn, pork rinds, an arepa, and a fried egg. This dish is very filling and features several appearances from each good group.
Empanadas are available throughout Latin America. But in Colombia, they are deep-fried and can be filled with virtual anything, including rice, meat, eggs, potatoes, and vegetables.
They are a popular street food option and often served with a side of hogao, a tasty sofrito dipping sauce.
Plantains make many appearances in Colombian cuisine. Most often, they are served as patacones, also known as tostones. Patacones are twice fried plantains. They are a side dish practically served with all Colombian main dishes.
Flour or corn-based arepas appear alongside many different meals and are the Colombian answer to a tortilla or pita. They are thick, round and are often stuffed with cheeses or eggs or pretty much whatever your appetite desires.
Arepas are not only very popular in Colombian cuisine but in Venezuela as well.
Lechona is slow-cooked pork combined with yellow peas, rice, and green onions. It is typically served on special occasions like Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve or whenever a large group gets together.
This traditional Colombian dish will melt in your mouth and will taste good all the way down.
One of Colombia’s most popular soups, sancocho is a water-based soup that contains vegetables, plantains, potatoes, corn, cilantro, yuca, and a protein such as beef.
Sancocho can be served as either lunch or dinner and it is usually served with avocado and rice on the side. It’s simple but very tasty.
Aijaco is another hearty Colombian soup and it is even simpler than sancocho. This soup is predominantly chicken, three kinds of potatoes and herbs, but it is often served with rice, corn, and avocado.
Aijaco comes from the mountains where a thick warm soup is often needed to warm the body.
Fritanga is a great meal for larger groups and parties of meat eaters. It features a variety of meats served together such as beef, pork, pork rinds, chicken and sausage accompanied by plantains, arepas, and corn. It is shared and enjoyed together.
Okay, not exactly one of Colombia’s most popular dishes and perhaps one Colombian snack you may not be excited to try is hormigas culonas.
It translates literally to what it is: big ants. These ants are roasted or fried and then salted and are enjoyed by many, and are a great source of protein. Hey, don’t knock it till you try it.
Happy Eating Colombian Style
As you can see, there are so many different Colombian dishes to try. Colombian cuisine is diverse and exciting and there is something for everyone and every palate. You will never tire of the wonderful flavors of the food from this country, so get started today.
Dessert lovers should check out our 11 Colombian Desserts To Treat Your Sweet Tooth.
Amigo Foods celebrates Latin American flavors and cuisine and the food of Colombia brings the best of all of it together in the middle. To learn more about the food from the country, read more on our Colombian Foods page.
And to shop for authentic Colombian foods and drinks visit our online store.
Our blog is all about sharing our love of Latin American foods & drinks. We will bring you articles and recipes of the very best Latin American & Spanish cuisine. Amigofoods was founded in 2003 and is the largest online grocery store offering a wide variety of hard to find freshly imported foods & drinks from all over Latin America and Spain.