Authentic Foods & Drinks in Colombia
Colombia Food & Drink
Colombians love to eat a lot!
The country has a huge variety of food and natural products. Breakfast is almost a sacred meal, almost nobody leaves home without breakfast. A typical breakfast in Colombia might consist of tamales, arepas (dough made usually from corn flour, perhaps with butter or cheese inside, sometimes served as a sandwich with fried egg inside), changua (a kind of warm salty soup made from water and milk with some chopped onion, coriander, egg and soft bread) or even so called calentado (a dish made from whatever remained to eat from the previous day, warmed up and served for breakfast, usually with rice, beans, meat, eggs).
When it comes to what to drink for breakfast the priority is definitely coffee. The most typical one is tinto (black coffee or black coffee with some brown sugar – panela) and perico (coffee with some milk). Colombians hardly drink tea except herbal tea or fruit tea (aromatica). For those who don’t like coffee the option is hot chocolate served typically with a piece of melted cheese (chocolate santafereno).
Talking about coffee it’s worth mentioning that Colombia is proud of the Colombian chain of coffee shops called Juan Valdez. It’s a famous brand one can find in almost every Colombian city. Over the years the brand spread internationally promoting Colombian coffee in Europe and the US. Starbucks was only recently allowed to enter the national market - most of the Colombians still choose Juan Valdez!
Colombians usually have lunch break around 12-2pm. The typical option for eating out is so called almuerzo ejecutivo – economic buffet lunch with a fixed menu that consists of soup, main course and dessert (usually fresh fruit).
Colombian food varies depending on the region however the most common dishes you can find on restaurants menus all over the country are:
- Bandeja paisa (very generous and satisfying dish made of rice, beans, egg, fried plantains, minced beef, avocado and fried pork belly)
- Ajiaco (creamy potato soup with shredded chicken usually served with rice,avocado and plantains)
- Rice, fried chicken, fried eggs and beans
- Frijolada – red beans soup
- Cazuela de mariscos (seafood stew,typical on the Colombian coast)
- Fried fish, coconut rice and fried plantains (tastes specially good on the beach)
- Ceviche (yes, not only Peru has ceviche, Colombia has it too!) – a cocktail made of fresh seafood and fish cured in juices , e.g lemon juice, tomato juice
- Sancocho (rich in flavours stew served with different meats, corn, plantain, potatos,yucca)
- Lechona – entire pig stuffed with rice and veggies served with crunchy skin
Some parts of Colombia are famous for fresh fish and seafood (Caribbean coast) and some for delicious beef, e.g in Llanos region (approx. 3h south of Bogota) you can eat very good grilled beef from local cowboys (llaneros).
And what do Colombians drink apart from coffee? Colombians are not really wine lovers. They usually opt for good local beer (e.g Aguila, Club Colombia or craft beer from Bogota Beer Company brand). If they go out usually they have aguardiente or ron which are also served in canelazo (hot alcoholic drink made from water boiled with cane sugar, aguardiente or ron ,some spices like cinnamon).
In big cities of Colombia like Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, Cali it’s not difficult to find international fast food options like McDonalds, Papa Jones pizza, Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC. Apart from that in Bogota and Medelin there is quite a lot of gourmet restaurants that serve not only Colombian food but also Peruvian, Japanese, Italian, French, Arabic etc.