10 Must-Try (and Cheap) Dishes in Colombia

10 Must-Try (and Cheap) Dishes in Colombia

it comes to international cuisines, this South American
country often gets overlooked. A tapestry of Spanish and Caribbean
influences, Colombian food is rich, flavoursome and suited to even
the most modest budget. These are ten of the nation’s best dishes
you should try.

10 Traditional Foods to Try When Visiting

Bandeja Paisa

This meat-heavy colossus is remarkably just a portion for one.
The dish generally consists of chicharron (fried pork belly),
steak, fried plantain, frijoles (beans), rice, sliced avocado,
salad and a small arepa. Try it at Mi Pueblo restaurant in Medellin
for the equivalent of less than £2.50.


An iconic dish of
, ajiaco is a heavy stew comprised of pulled chicken and
corn thickened with potatoes – it’s made tart with briny capers,
and cream is sometimes added for a touch of luxury. Tuck into the
dish at one of Bogota’s oldest restaurants, La Puerta Falsa.

Chocolate con Queso

A curious amalgamation of ingredients, this cheese and hot
chocolate combination is sure to raise an eyebrow with tourists.
Locals dip the cheese into the rich cacao and leave it until it
becomes gooey before consuming.


Complete with a small arepa and crispy skin, this is a dish
commonly eaten at the weekend or on special occasions, due to its
enormity. It’s created by stuffing a whole pig with more pork as
well as rice, peas, onions, garlic and spices.

Fried Mojarra

Venture north to Colombia’s tropical coastline and you’ll find
that the mojarra fish is king at local restaurants. It’s often
served with a patacon, a fried green-plantain fritter.

Arroz con Coco

This is a dish that weaves together Afro-Colombian and Spanish
cultures, two influences that have helped shape the historic city
of Cartagena. Coconut fried rice
pops up frequently on the city’s menus – compared to standard rice,
it offers a certain caramelised depth.


A Colombian prawn ceviche shares more similarities with the
Ecuadorian version of the dish than that made in Peru.
A generous squeeze of barbecue sauce, tomato ketchup and tabasco
are often added to produce a unique flavour – don’t miss it.


Making an appearance up and down Latin America, tamales are
all-in-one meals containing meats, vegetables, cheese, fruits and
the like. The filling is engulfed in a corn dough and wrapped in a
banana leaf which is then steamed until cooked.


Deemed to be an aphrodisiac, this starchy nut also known as a
“peach palm” can be bought as a snack in Cali’s central market,
Galería Alameda. They are typically consumed adorned with salt and
a drizzle of runny honey.


Crisp on the outside, fluffy in the middle, arepas are
neutral-tasting patties made from precooked corn flour. They’re
perfect as a sandwich around slow-cooked pork shoulder, black
beans, queso fresco (fresh cheese), fried plantains and a piquant
pepper sauce.

Discover More
City Guide: Cartagena, Colombia