Ajiaco is one of the most representative dishes of Bogotá, Colombia
Place of originPre-Columbian era
Region or stateLatin America
Main ingredientsPotatoes, chicken

Ajiaco (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈxjako]) is a soup common to Colombia, Cuba,[1] and Peru.[2] Scholars have debated the origin of the dish. The dish is especially popular in the Colombian capital, Bogotá, being called Ajiaco santafereño, where it is typically made with chicken, three varieties of potatoes, and the herb Galinsoga parviflora, known locally as guasca or guascas. In Cuba, ajiaco is prepared as a stew, while in Peru the dish is prepared with a number of regionally specific variations.


The exact origin of this dish has been debated by scholars.[1] In his book Lexicografia Antillana, former president of Cuba Alfredo Zayas y Alfonso stated that the word "ajiaco" derived from "aji", the native Taíno word for "hot pepper." Cuban ethnologist Fernando Ortiz stated that ajiaco was a meal typical of the Taíno, and was an appropriate metaphor for Cuba being a melting pot.[citation needed] In the Cuban city of Camagüey, the San Juan festival begins with the making and serving of ajiaco.[3] La Calle magazine of Cuba stated that the inhabitants of the village of Santa María de Puerto del Príncipe began the tradition of making ajiaco using their own cooking ingredients, donations from passersby, surplus from farmers, and surplus slave provisions.[3] Ajiaco is believed to have become popular in Cuba during the 16th century, particularly among rural Cubans, although it was occasionally enjoyed by the upper class.[4]


Ajiaco in Bogotá, Colombia


In the Colombian[5] capital of Bogotá, ajiaco is a popular dish typically made with chicken, three varieties of potatoes, and the Galinsoga parviflora herb, commonly referred to in Colombia as guasca or guascas, and in the U.S., where it is considered a weed, as gallant soldier.[6][7] It can be garnished with capers, avocado slices, pieces of corn on the cob, or cream.


In Cuba, ajiaco is a hearty stew made from beef, pork, chicken, vegetables, and a variety of starchy roots and tubers classified as viandas.[1][8]


In Peru, ajiaco is a quite different dish of potatoes cooked with garlic, a mix of dried yellow and red chilies (aji mirasol and aji panca), hierba buena, and huacatay, generally accompanied by rice and stewed chicken or rabbit.


In Chile, ajiaco is a food of northern origin, it contains beef, onion, carrot and paprika, garlic and colored chili, potatoes and seasonings, powdered rib broth and coriander/parsley.

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ a b c "Cuban Ajiaco Recipe". Tasteofcuba.com. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  2. ^ Clark, Melissa (October 28, 2011). "From Colombia, the Ultimate One-Pot Meal". The New York Times. Accessed April 2016.
  3. ^ a b "El ajiaco de Camagüey". Lacalle.cu. 2013-06-25. Archived from the original on 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  4. ^ "Emblematic dish: the ajiaco | Cubanow". Archived from the original on 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  5. ^ "Ajiaco Santafereño" (in Spanish). viviendocali.com. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  6. ^ "Ajiaco Bogotano (Colombian Chicken and Potato Soup)". Mycolombianrecipes.com. 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  7. ^ Americans just don’t understand the potato. Colombians do. – Eatocracy - CNN.com Blogs
  8. ^ Garth, Hanna. 2013 Food and Identity in the Caribbean. Bloomsbury Press.