Top 5 Must-Eat Foods in Colombia

Colombian cuisine is colorful, full of flavor, and everchanging. If you’re an adventure seeker with a big appetite, then this South American country should be your next travel destination


Colombian food has a strong influence of not only indigenous culture, but African and Spanish, as well. Even though each region has its own dish and ingredients, they share some of the ingredients, like corn.   

The following list shows a small portion of the most traditional and popular dishes you can find in Colombia.

  1. Ajiaco

The soups in Colombia are a pretty big deal, especially when it comes to one of its most representative dishes, the ajiaco. This is a very popular soup that can be found in Bogotá and in some cities in the Cundinamarca department. It’s composed of three different types of potatoes, corn, chicken, peas and, the most important ingredient, guasca, a herb known for giving this soup its special flavor. It’s usually served with a portion of white rice and a slice of avocado.

  1. Bandeja Paisa

When it comes to quantity in food, the people from the region of Antioquia, also known as paisas, have it all figured out. The bandeja paisa is the most iconic dish of the Antioquia department, or as many people refer to it, the coffee region.

It’s made up of nine or more ingredients, including rice, red beans, eggs, sausage, minced meat, avocado, fried plantain, blood sausage, and pork. Yes, all of this for just one person. If you ever find yourself visiting Medellin, you absolutely have to try this dish; make sure to bring your appetite.

  1. Lechona

This is probably one of the most surprising and odd dishes you will find in Colombia.  Lechona is very popular in the region of Tolima and consists of pork, rice, and cooked peas stuffed inside a roasted pig that has been previously cooked for several hours. Even though its presentation may disturb some, it’s quite delicious and common to eat it during special holidays, like Christmas.

  1. Pescado frito

This list would not be complete if it didn’t include the culinary delights from Colombia’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts. There´s nothing like visiting famous beachfront destination spots like Cartagena, Santa Marta, or San Andres and eating fried fish with coconut rice and patacones (fried plaintains). It’s a simple dish, but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up in Caribbean flavor. 

  1. Tamales

Last, but definitely not least, are the all-time favorite tamales. This dish comes from the Tolima region, but you can find it pretty much anywhere across the country. On Sunday mornings, it’s common to see families gathered around eating tamales for breakfast, as well as hot chocolate and arepas (a corn flour type of pancake very popular in Colombian cuisine). This dish is wrapped in plantain leaves and comes with a filling made up of chicken, pork belly, rice, boiled eggs, peas, and potatoes. In other words, nobody does breakfast like a Colombian.


Latin American Post | Johanna Hernández

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto 

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