28 Delicious Colombian Foods
Discover 28 delicious Colombian foods. Colombia might not be on the list of places you think of when it comes to great food, but it should be.
I meet a lot of people who think that South American food is bland. While they don’t use as many spices as in Asia, they still cook up a great feed. Colombian cuisine is some of the best in the region.
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Delicious Colombian Foods
It surprised me to find so many great Colombian foods that I had never tried or even heard of before. Especially since my mother’s Colombian! To be fair, you can’t find many of the ingredients in other parts of the world.
Chips (french fries) with sausage, cheese, ham, and a couple of different sauces (tomato, mayo, etc). Not the healthiest meal but tasty.
Usually goes for around 5,000 – 8,000 COP.
You can’t walk very far in Colombia without seeing empanadas. It is a fried maize “dumpling” with various savory fillings. Usually potato, meat, cheese, egg, or a combination of these.
3. Arroz con Pollo
The direct translation is rice with chicken. It is like the Colombian version of fried rice. You can also get it with shrimp (camarones).
You will see these balls of delight everywhere on display in the mornings. Usually with empanadas and other fried snacks. It is basically deep fried bread balls. Sounds simple but very delicious. Best when fresh. 500 – 1000 COP.
Number 5 on this list of delicious Colombian foods is my favorite Colombian soup, Ajico. Bogota’s specialty soup consists of three types of potatoes. It also has corn, meat, chickpeas (I think), and a few other things I couldn’t quite place. It is very filling.
6. Tamal Tolimense
You can find Tamales all over Colombia but the Tolima version is a cut above the rest. I tried it while passing through Ibague.
Ingredients are generally rice and/or masa with meat and vegetables. They placed in a plantain leaf and steamed. It’s usually a breakfast thing but can you can find it at any time.
Unfortunately, when I tried it my SD card got corrupted so I lost the photo. Pictured here is not Tamal Tolimense but it is Colombian.
This was not at all what I was expecting when I ordered a taco, but I guess this is the Colombian version. It was pretty much a big empanada.
A sweet oatmeal based drink. Pretty delicious and only 1000COP with a bunuelo.
Arepas are like a bread made of maize. On their own, they are not that great but when made fresh and with filling they are delicious. You can get them as a snack on the street for around 2,000 COP depending on your choice of filling. If you want it as a meal it can cost up to 10,000COP, but they are worth it.
This one was the arepa of the house filled with meat, beans, cheese, and a quail egg. 8,000 COP.
Frijoles is a direct translation of beans. It’s simple but is one of my favorite Colombian foods. My mum used to make it for me and still does when I visit. It is a popular side serving for lunch. Also on this plate is Chicharrón (pork crackling), rice, some bread, and a meatball. This meal also came with a bowl of soup, some kind of corn-based dessert, and a small cup of juice – all for only 4,000 COP!
Full meals like this are a very common lunch in Colombia. Look for the “Menu Del Dia” or “Menu Executivo”. Depending on how “stylish” the restaurant is, these meals can range from 4,000 – 20,000+ COP.
Here’s my homemade version of frijoles. It is a far cry from the authentic Colombian version but still tastes good.
On my first day in Armenia, I met up with a friend I had met through ConversationExchange.com. She introduced me to Cholao. I’m not sure of the exact ingredients but it is very sweet. I ate it and didn’t feel like eating anything with sugar in it for a couple of days after. One other ingredient (besides sugar) that it had was soursop.
Later I discovered there are different versions, some are not so sweet.
12. Sopa de Platano
I tried many different soups in Colombia. Most of them I have not bothered to put on this list but I’ve never seen plantain soup before so it gets in. I’m not sure of what else is in it, but there were definitely chunks of plantain. I enjoyed it.
I took the banana on the side home for later.
Estofado is the Spanish word for stew and it’s on the far right of this plate. This particular one is beef.
14. Arepa con Queso
Hitting the halfway mark on this list of delicious Colombian foods is arepa con queso. I mentioned arepas before but this deserves a special mention. A great afternoon snack with a coffee. An arepa with cheese inside and doused with butter (optional). Not that healthy, but ultra tasty.
Dedos means ‘fingers’ in Spanish. These long, deep fried bread sticks come filled with cheese and other savory ingredients (e.g., ham).
Crepes are popular in Colombia. I wouldn’t say they are like an ‘everyday’ meal, but you can find them in most places. This is a crepe con pollo (with chicken). It had lots of cheese and was pretty tasty.
There is a small town in Quindio called Salento, and in this town, they have a couple of specialty foods. One of them is patacon. There are a few different types depending on the ingredients you want on top. It is like a cross between pizza and nachos – only it is better than both of those.
Don’t let my terrible photo put you off, patacon is a must try!
Another Salento special and another photo out of focus. This is truche. Some type of fish – trout I think. I’m not a big fan of fish but thought I should at least try the towns signature dish. Next to it is crispy fried plantain, which is also the base of patacon.
Fried chicken wings in a sauce of your choosing. I like picante (spicy) but there are many flavors available depending on where you go. Great with beer.
Number 20 on this list of delicious Colombian foods is the Colombian version of satay. Minus the satay flavor. It’s meat (chicken or pork) on a skewer with a few sides. Pretty tasty.
Frisby is a Colombian fast food restaurant which focuses on fried chicken. Besides Jolibees in the Philippines, it is the worst fast food restaurant I have ever been to. Actually, the food is not too bad (I had a burrito) but the service is definitely NOT fast. I was waiting about 25minutes for my food. I even tried it a second time in a different town and got the same slow service.
Fried chicken is cheaper and served instantly everywhere in the streets. Also, getting a burrito from a Mexican restaurant would have been faster and tastier.
Although it is delicious, I do not recommend Frisby, or any fast food outlet, ever.
22. Sopa de Mondongo
I was a bit worried about trying this because I knew it involved tripe (which I’m not a fan of) but a friend of mine insisted. Also, it is a traditional dish so I thought I’d better give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised. No liver (thank god). It was kind of like ajiaco (#5 on this list) so I was happy with it.
23. Huevos Pericos
I only managed to try this once at a restaurant, because it is a breakfast thing and I rarely eat breakfast. It is scrambled eggs with tomato and onion. Simple and delicious.
I ended up making it quite often at home, with my own twist of course. Besides tomato and onion, I add garlic, aji picante (a mild chili sauce), cilantro, and corn kernels.
A Colombian friend taught me about adding Corn kernels in scrambled eggs. It was a game changer and now I do it all the time!
I assume this is a small version of Plancha. Plancha is when the food (generally a type of meat or fish) is grilled on a very hot metal plate. This cooks the meat fast and seals in the natural flavors. It’s delicious.
Number 25 and almost at the end of this list of delicious Colombian foods. Sancocho is a soup/stew usually made from large pieces of various root vegetables. They include plantain, potato, cassava. There is also some type of meat, such as chicken, fish, etc.
There are a few different versions of Colombian sancocho depending on what region you are in. There are also different versions in other countries. My favorite is Sancocho de Costilla. It is from the coastal region and uses beef ribs. I first tried it in Cartagena and from then ordered it whenever the opportunity arose.
Guisado is another type of stew. A friend told me it is also about the sauce it comes with, which is delicious.
You can have it with any type of meat. Guisado de pollo or cerdo (chicken or pork) are common on el menu del dia’s. Guisado de Pollo was actually my go-to when ordering menu del dia.
This picture is actually a type of sancocho, but it is pretty close to guisado de pollo. Imagine it on a plate with rice instead of a bowl of soup.
27. Suero Costeño
During my last few days in Santa Marta, a friend brought back a bottle of suero from her hometown to try. Suero is a creamy ‘cheesy” tasting sauce made from milk and vinegar. To me, it is like a tastier version of sour cream. She also added salt and garlic. I finished the bottle in two days!
28. Kokiyas de Cayeye
The last item on this list of delicious Colombian foods is Kokiyas de Cayeye. Before seeing this on a menu I had never heard of it. It’s strange because it was a local specialty in Santa Marta, at least that’s what the waitress told me. When I mentioned it to some local friends they all knew what it was.
It reminded me of a shepherds pie but with plantain instead of potato. Also, it had suero in it. It was pretty good.
This is actually a picture of shepherds pie, but it looks almost identical.
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