Whilst travelling around Colombia, I have noticed a wide range of cuisines from the North in Cartagena to the South in Salento, but the one thing that remains constant is the wide range and availability of tropical fruits on every street corner.
Each city I usually had a try of the ‘comida colombiana’ known for that region. Menus of the day are often the best choice to enjoy the traditional foods, as well as at a good price.
My first stop in Colombia (Bogota) I tried the hearty soup dish ajiaco- made of chicken and potatoes, which was obvisouly served along with a side of rice!
Heading to the North coast, trying lots of fish (red snapper, tilapia or mojarra) was my main choice which was usually accompanied by delicious serving of coconut rice. However they often deep fried the fish whole- calling it Pescado Frito. This is also popular in the Salento region- where Trucha (river trout) is eaten.
In Guatape I tried the national dish Bandeja paisa- a meal that could keep you full for days! It included a combination of beans, rice, meat, chorizo, fried egg all on one plate!
In terms of street food the most common and ones to try are the many arepas (corn cakes)- in particular arepa con quest, tamales (corn meal stuffed with meat and veg wrapped in banana leaves), aborrajados, (deep fired plantation stuffed with cheese), Bunuelos (cheese fritters), almojabana (cheese bread balls) and empanadas- served with a good helping of Aji picante! I must admit most of the street food is deep fried- making it distinct from other areas of South America. The best thing about street food is that it often costs no more than $1.
I couldn’t talk about Colombian food and miss out on the mention of coffee (Tinto), fresh fruit juices (orange, pineapple, mango…..) and Chocolate con queso. The later being literally cheese dipped into hot chocolate!