6 Foods You Need to Try When Visiting Colombia
Overshadowed by its more culinary-established neighbors of Brazil and Peru, Colombian food rarely seems to travel much further than its own borders. However, as tourism to this incredible South America country has started to rise in recent years following its perilous history in the 90s, people have begun to discover the delicious eats that can be found there. Here are some Colombian foods you need to try when visiting this beautiful nation.
6 Foods You Need to Try When Visiting Colombia:table of contents
Often seen as the national dish of Colombia, bandeja paisa is a carb lover's paradise. Often eaten for breakfast or brunch, it's a platter of various different typical local foods such as fried pork belly called chicharon, red beans, rice, ground meat, fried plantains, avocado, fried egg and arepa, a kind of traditional savory corn pancake. Make sure you're hungry before tackling one of these platters, the size of them can often be huge.
A thick, hearty stew popular in the capital of Bogota, Ajiaco is made with chicken, various different kinds of potatoes, a variety of spices and usually finished with a cob of corn and pickled capers. The dish dates back to the Pre-Columbia era, although it's unsure just how far back it was first made.
Typically eaten for breakfast with a glass of hot chocolate or coffee, almojábana are a kind of bread made with corn flour and Colombian cottage cheese which gives it a slight tart flavor to it. Often places selling this delicious bread will also have pandebono, a similarly tasty snack made the same way but with yuca flour instead of corn flour.
Not just limited to Colombia, chicharon is found all over South America, because let's face it who doesn't enjoy deep-fried pork belly? Not the food you want to go to when trying to diet, chicharon tastes just as good as it sounds however. The outside is super crispy from being fried, while streaks of fat lend a juicy, melt-in-the-mouth texture to each bite.
Easily the most common of Colombian foods you'll find around the country, arepas are everywhere and often can be seen being cooked on the side of the street. Made from corn that's ground into maize flour, it's then mixed with water and salt before being grilled or sometimes fried or baked. While people often eat them plain or with a side of sauce to dip in, they're also commonly stuffed with virtually anything to make a traditional-style sandwich. Common fillings include cheese, avocado and chicharon.
Another food you'll find all over the South America continent, these little crispy snacks are made from plantains, a kind of banana that has to be cooked before eaten. Plantains are fried briefly first before being pounded flat and fried again to make them extra crispy. They're usually served in a similar way to potato chips, with a sprinkle of salt and often served with some kind of dip on the side.
Having one of the most underrated cuisines on the planet, anyone visiting Colombia should make sure to eat as much as they can possibly fit into their stomach while traveling around. The food scene in larger cities like Bogota is also starting to mirror Peru, as Colombian food moves from street food and home-style food to the modern, exquisite restaurant scene.