Colombians love to eat and Colombian cuisine is among the best in South America, drawing inspiration from its Spanish, Indian, African, and Caribbean roots. From tasty street food and flavorsome stews to tropical fruit juices and freshly brewed coffee—here’s what you need to know about eating out in Colombia.
Staples of Colombian cuisine include arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), sancochos (stews), and ajiaco (a traditional potato and chicken soup), often accompanied by arepas (a flatbread made from ground corn). Other popular dishes include mondongo (tripe soup), cazuela de mariscos (seafood stew), and bandeja paisa (a lunchtime feast of rice, plantain, arepa, fried egg, avocado, ground beef, sausage, and beans).
Street foods favorites include tamales, (ground corn and meat stew, wrapped in plantain leaves), empanadas (meat or cheese-stuffed pastries), pan de yuca (cassava bread), and bunuelos (fried cassava dough). Those with a sweet tooth should look for bocadillo (firm guava fruit paste, often served with soft cheese), obleas (thin wafers) filled with arequipe (caramel), or chocolate con queso (melted cheese and chocolate).
Look out for an array of tropical fruits and freshly squeezed juices to try too, including unusual ones like the tangy lulo and feijoa, or the sweet pitaya (dragon fruit) and granadilla (passion fruit). Finish it all off with a cup of Colombian coffee. Colombians usually drink tinto (black coffee), but café con leche (white coffee) is also widely available.
- Shop for ingredients on a Cartagena market tour and then learn to make delicious local dishes during a cooking class.
- Discover the best places to drink and dine in Bogotá's La Macarena neighborhood on an evening tasting tour.
- Enjoy a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride around Cartagena, followed by a 3-course dinner at a local restaurant.
- Tuck into a traditional paisa dinner prepared by a local chef in their Medellin home.
- Sample typical Colombian food and craft beers on a pub-crawl around Medellin’s El Poblado and Barrio Colombia neighborhoods.
- Tour Colombia’s coffee plantations and sip freshly brewed coffee straight from the bean.