12 Typical Colombian Dishes You Need To Try Aside From Arepas
What do Colombians eat? Before moving here I thought typical Colombian dishes were spicy. Basically, I thought traditional Colombian food would have a similar kick to Mexican food. Boy was I wrong. Not even close!
Colombians love their meat, fried carbs, and cheese. And when they do dessert, they like it super sweet!
Bogota is cold, and as a result, the food items tend to be hearty, comfort food. Don’t count on anything being light!
If you’re in the capital of Colombia and wondering about typical Colombian dishes to try in Bogota apart from arepas (yawn), below’s a list of classic food items to try.
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1. Ajiaco Santafereño
There’s no dish more typical and representative of Bogota than the Ajiaco Santafereño. The hearty Colombian version of the chicken soup consists of chicken, corn, several different types of potatoes, accompanied by a side dish of avocado and rice and topped with cream and capers to your liking.
Now that’s what I’m talking about!
2. Caldo de Costilla
A typical Colombian dish from Bogota, this heart warming soup is served for breakfast and for hangovers, the simple beef rib broth has onion, cilantro, and potato.
Spice it up a notch with a dash of the aromatic aji, Bogota’s super mild ‘hot sauce’ consisting of vinegar, onion, cilantro and chili peppers.
Another popular breakfast soup in Bogota, changua is a milk and egg soup with potato, topped with cilantro and calados, a type of hardened bread.
Although it sounds strange just reading it, if you’re not lactose intolerant, this typical dish from Bogota is strangely good!
4. Chocolate Santafereño
Sure, hot chocolate is served around the world. So what makes this hot chocolate a typical Colombian dish? Well, to begin with, there’s a whole ritual around how to prepare the hot chocolate. A special whisk called a molinillo is used to make the concoction super frothy.
But the cherry on top of the cake? It’s served with a type of fresh cheese that’s melted into the drink.
I know what you’re thinking. But it tastes better than it sounds. In its defense, I gradually grew accustomed to it. Now, I love the contrast of the sweet chocolate with the melted salty cheese. The mixture is usually accompanied by number 6 and 7 on the list.
5. Agua de panela con queso
Similar concept as above, here’s another traditional Colombian hot beverage with melted cheese inside. Agua de panela is basically raw sugar cane melted in water.
And of course, accompanied by a nice thick slice of fresh cheese meant to be melted in your cup. Usually taken for onces around 4 pm, you can also accompany it by number 6 and 7 on the list.
A cheesy round bread, this typical Colombian food item from Bogota is usually consumed for breakfast or onces with the two drinks listed above.
7. Pan de yuca
Another cheesy Colombian bread classic eaten the same way, it just has a different shape and uses yucca flour, making it lighter in texture, not in calories.
Carb, meat, and cheese come together in a basket to share with friends and family. This super typical Colombian dish can be eaten at pit stops, BBQ style restaurants on the outskirts of the city, markets and just about anywhere. Inside you’ll find, plaintain, arepas, corn, potato, chicken, and all kinds of parts of the pig. Arrive hungry!
9. Sancocho de gallina
Sancocho is another typical Colombian dish that resembles a chicken soup. Its broth is lighter in consistency than the ajiaco and contains less potato. Instead, it has other carbs such as plantain, yucca, and a bit more vegetables and spices.
It can be served with a plate of rice and avocado on the side or as a 2-course meal, serving the broth separately and the carbs, protein, and rice together. In this case, it’s called a puchero.
10. Empanada bogotana
Empanadas can be found on any street corner for a quick and filling snack. These Colombian fried corn patties are usually filled with ground beef, or mixed with potato purée.
The proper way to eating it is taking a small bite off a corner in order to be able to put aji or hogao (homemade tomato sauce) inside.
11. Arroz con leche
As the rest of many of these typical dishes from Bogota, rice pudding is a colonial-period-inspired recipe. Colombians like to add raisins and/or prunes to makes it even sweeter.
I had to leave the best Colombian dessert for last. So simple, yet so delicious. Arequipe the Colombian version of dulce de leche sandwiched by 2 thin, round wafers the size of a soccer ball.
You’ll find these in any supermarket and in the streets of the city center of Bogota.
Although I know many of these are not actually dishes but food items, If you’re gonna try traditional Colombian dishes in Bogota, these are it.
Are you in Colombia? What typical Colombian dishes have you tried already? What did you think of it? Be honest!
And as always, feel free to share your thoughts with me, I always love reading your thoughts and comments 🙂