Could Colombia’s cuisine have anything to do with the fact that it’s been consistently voted one of the happiest nations in the world? We think so… Here’s the ultimate list of the best Colombian food you absolutely must try:
1. La bandeja paisa
Eating the bandeja paisa is like having several different Colombian dishes at once. This massive plate is enough for two, so be wary when you order. The bandeja paisa includes red beans cooked with pork, ground meat, plantain, chicharrón, fried egg, rice, arepa, chorizo, lemon, hogao sauce, black pudding and avocado. The plate doesn’t always include all of these foods, but it’s always large enough to share.
2. Las arepas
There’s nothing quite like a hot arepa fresh off the skillet. Arepas are maize flour patties cooked with butter, often fried or grilled. Though there are some 75 different ways to prepare arepas, one of the most common ways to eat arepas is with cheese. Some arepas have cheese inside the dough, so when they are cooked the inside is melted Mozarella deliciousness. Arepas are also served with cold, fresh cheese and topped with sweetened condensed milk.
This diced tripe soup is slow-cooked to perfection with vegetables like carrots, onions, peas, bell peppers, celery and cilantro. The soup is a very common lunch dish in Colombia. Though mondongo is served throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, in Colombia the dish usually uses beef tripe and lots of cilantro.
Many different Spanish-speaking countries have their own type of mazamorra, though the recipe tends to vary. In Colombia, mazamorra is frequently served alongside the bandeja paisa. It’s a pudding-like dish, made with crushed maiz that is then soaked in both water and soda lye, then cooked until soft. The drink is served with panela, which is a soft, sweet candy made from sugar cane.
5. Fríjoles antioqueños
A trip to Colombia’s Antioquia region would not be complete without a taste of the typical plate frijoles or frisoles Antioqueños. This bean dish isn’t too difficult to cook up. Prepared with red or Cargamanto beans, tomatoes, scallions, cumin, plantain and hogao sauce, this is a hearty dish and undoubtedly one of essential flavors of Medellin.
This traditional stew is served all over the Caribbean, each country with its own unique recipe. In Colombia, Sancocho can be made with many types of meats, like chicken, pork ribs or ox tail. Typically, plantain, potato and cassava is added to the soup along with cilantro, tomato and corn on the cob. The dish is topped with onion and cilantro and served alongside rice and avocado.
These delicious fried dough balls make for a tasty snack with a cup of coffee or fresh-squeezed juice. Served all over Latin America, in Colombia buñuelos tend to be served with a white cheese and are a common Christmas dish.
Learn more about how to boost your career while tasting the best Colombian food in the city of eternal spring, Medellín!