Local Colombian Food That You Should Not Miss
One of the crucial aspects of traveling is the ability to try and enjoy the different local food. Some countries are known for their food such as India, Italy and China. However, the world is much wider and there are a lot of interesting and tasty dishes worth trying. Central and South America has an incredible food scene, especially Colombia.
Columbia is simply one of the most amazing places in the world. The geography is so varied that there is always something to enjoy no matter what kind of traveler you are. The people are also amazingly friendly. Plus the food!
When you ask a kid what he wants to be when he grows up and then answers – a chef!, then you will know that you are in a country that is serious about cooking. This is what Columbia is all about. Hence, let’s cover a few popular local dishes that you must try when traveling in Columbia.
Once you arrive in Colombia and if you are observant, one of the common food that is served is a kind of bread with butter or corn. This is known locally as the Arepa. The bread is made from cornmeal.In local restaurants, the Arepa is a standard accompaniment. However, it’s common to for the local to it on its own. Arepa is widely served all throughout the country. So you might want to try it if you travel around the country as its one of the most readily available food.
This is another kind of meal that I noticed to be very popular in Colombia. It’s called Ajiaco. It’s a soup-based kind of dish, using usually chicken as the main protein, and 2 or 3 types of vegetables like avocado, capers, corn and potato. It’s also popularly served with sour cream. One essential ingredient in Ajiaco is the guasca. It’s a kind of herb that is very popular all throughout South America.
If you are really hungry while in Colombia, then I suggest that you find a Bandeja Paisa. This meal is a truly a feast! It’s a platter with chorizo sausages, pork cracklings and steak. It’s then served on a bed of red beans and rice. It’s often served with condiments of banana chips, avocado slices and eggs. Keep in mind that Bandeja Paisa is Antoquia’s, if not Colombia’s national dish. Hence, there are a lot of versions when it comes to the ingredients, especially if you travel from one place to another within Colombia.
Lechona is another food wonder of Colombia. If you want to try it, you might want to visit Tolima area. However, you can find it in major Colombian restaurants that specialize in local dishes. In Colombia, it’s the kind of dish that is served when there is a special occasion. Lechona is all about roasting an entire pig in a clay oven for 10 hours. The pig is stuffed with onions, peas and rice before it hits the oven; and the result is a potent mouth-watering fragrance. The taste is also something truly unique. The mix of vegetables stuffed into the pig seeps into the meat, add the taste of a roasted pork and you will have something that you can’t quite describe. However, it is truly tasty and you should try it whenever you travel to Colombia.
Sancocho is another heavy dish. Its roots are clearly derived from the Spanish dish known as cocido. It’s very popular in South America, but each region has its own twist. In Colombia, you can expect Sanchoco to have yucca, potatoes and plantains. The meat could be chicken, beef or pork; and in coastal areas, it could be fish. The dish is often served with white rice.
Fritanga is another meaty dish of Colombia. You can imagine Fritanga to be a plate full of grilled meat (usually chicken or beef) and together with fried cow intestines. It’s then smothered with aji sauce. Finally, it’s served with plantain, manioc or arepas.
Colombia is a country that loves to snack. Walking down in any populated street, and you will certainly meet a lot of stalls selling snack foods. One of the most popular snack food in Colombia is an Empanada. Empanadas are found all over South America, but Columbia gave it a spin to make it uniquely theirs. Empanadas can be traced back to Portugal and Spain. The word Empanada is derived from a Spanish word “empanar”, which means to coat or wrap in bread. Hence, you can expect Colombia’s empanada to be like a small pastry dish with vegetable or meat inside, then fried or baked before serving. Also, Columbia has an almost-endless version of Empanadas. In Medellin, Empanadas are usually filled with chorizos. In some areas, it’s spinach and cheese.
Churros is a popular breakfast meal for many Colombians. Churros are long pieces of dough, then fried. It’s eaten with hot chocolate during the early mornings. In the Andean region, Churros is part of a bigger breakfast meal which is called the Calentado. Together with churros, it’s served with reheated rice or beans, eggs, arepa and beef or sausage. Of course, never forget about the hot chocolate.
Changua is another popular breakfast meal, especially in the Bogota. It’s a rich soup consisting of water and milk. Then the egg is added to the mix, but it’s done without breaking the yolk. Before it’s served, coriander, bread and spring onions are added.
Colombia has its own fair share of what most people consider as “extreme foods”. Hormigas Culonas is a type of ant that is abundant in Colombia. The locals often collect them in droves during the wet season. The ants are then flavored by soaking it in salted water. It is then roasted and served. In the northeastern part of the country, the Hormigas Culonas are considered to be an aphrodisiac. Which is why it is a commonly given as a wedding gift.
Colombia is a country that has a rich culture, and one that loves to eat. In Colombia, it’s not a celebration if there are no heavy food around. While browsing through the list, it’s easy to assume that Colombians are crazy about meat. Well, sort off, but not really. Colombia mixes vegetables very well with their heavy-meaty meals. Plus, they have a wide variety of fruits, which are really affordable.
Traveling to Colombia is an opportunity to learn something new. One lesson that sticks out to me is that everything is not about getting more oftentimes, it’s all about getting the most of what is available. This is what I often see in Colombian local food. They don’t have access to “caviar” or “truffles”, but their dishes can’t be argued to be tasty and fills the belly.
About The Author
“Evans Lily is the founder of SkyWeFly, where I and my associates blog about photographs, stories and travel tips that will help you make a great journey. I hope to bring my passion to more people via SkyWeFly.”\