Cutlet "Valluna"

Colombian cuisine is a culinary tradition of the six main regions within Colombia (Pacific, Amazonian, Andean, Orinoco, Caribbean, and Insular). Colombian cuisine varies regionally and is influenced by Indigenous Colombian, Spanish,[1] and African cuisines,[2] with a slight Arab influence in some regions.[3]

History of Colombian food

Colombian food is a unique blend of indigenous, European traditions, and Afro-Caribbean influences. The two largest indigenous groups prior to European conquest were the Tairona, who lived along the Caribbean coast, and the Muisca, who lived in the highlands to the South.[4] Arepas, made from ground corn, is one of the oldest cooked dishes in Colombian cuisine and a popular modern dish. It is believed that the name derives from the word for corn in the Chibcha languages.[4]

Regional cuisines

Ternera a la llanera (mamona)

Colombian dishes and ingredients vary widely by region; however, some of the most common ingredients include an endless variety of staples: cereals such as rice and maize; tubers such as potato and cassava; assorted legumes; meats, including beef, chicken, pork, and goat; and fish and other seafood. Colombian cuisine also features a wide variety of tropical fruits such as uchuva, feijoa, arazá, nispero, pitaya, cherimoya, mamoncillo, guanabana, pineapple, mangostino, maracuya, zapote, granadilla, papaya, guava, mora (blackberry), and lulo, among many more.[5][6]

Bandeja paisa from Peñón de Guatapé in Antioquia, Colombia

Among the most representative appetisers and soups are patacones (fried green plantains), sancocho de gallina (chicken soup with root vegetables), ajiaco (potato and corn soup), and buñuelos (Christmas season deep fried dough balls).

Representative snacks and breads are pandebono, arepas (corn cakes), aborrajados (fried sweet plantains with cheese), torta de choclo, empanadas, almojábanas, and mogollas.

Representative main courses are bandeja paisa, lechona tolimense, tamales, and fish dishes such as arroz de lisa, especially in coastal regions where suero, costeño cheese, kibbeh, and carimañolas are also eaten.

Representative side dishes are papas criollas al horno (roasted Andean potatoes), papas chorreadas (potatoes with messy cheese), and arroz con coco (coconut rice). Organic food is a current trend in big cities, although in general, the country's fruits and vegetables are very natural and fresh.[7]

Representative desserts are natillas, torta Maria Luisa, bocadillo made of guayaba (guava jelly), cocadas (coconut balls), casquitos de guayaba (candied guava peels), torta de natas, obleas, flan de arequipe, roscón, milhoja, brevas (preserved in syrup) con arequipe, and tres leches cake (sponge cake soaked in 3 types of milk).

Ají sauce from Bogotá, Colombia

Typical sauces are hogao, a tomato onion sauce, and ají, a spicy raw cilantro-based sauce used as a condiment for many dishes and sides, which can be used for most foods. Ají sauce comes in many different varieties based on region and ranges from a sweet flavour to very spicy. Ají picante can range from 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville.

Some representative beverages are coffee (Tinto), champús, aromáticas, cholado, lulada, avena colombiana, sugarcane juice, aguapanela, chocolate caliente, and fresh fruit juices (often made with sugar and water or milk as batidos).[8]

There are a large variety of dishes that take into account the differences in regional climates. For example:

Piqueteaderos are rustic eateries that serve a variety of fried foods and specialties on platters to share. Offerings can even include huesos cerdos (pig bones) and tarta de seso (brain pie), as well as fried dishes, morcilla, corn on the cob, and other foods common to Colombia.

Dishes and foods

Appetizers and side dishes

Patacones and hogao
Name Image Description
Arepas ground maize dough divided into balls and pan-fried or grilled corn cakes
Aborrajado deep-fried plantains stuffed with cheese
Arroz con coco rice with coconut and raisins
Hormigas culonas large roasted ants, a santandereanas food from Colombia's Santander Department
Butifarras soledeñas sausage from Soledad, Atlántico
Carimañola yuca fritter stuffed with ground meat, onion and seasonings
Chunchullo pig, lamb, cow's small intestine
Hogao Criollo sauce
Queso blanco white cheese, also referred to as queso fresco
Suero a topping similar to sour cream
Patacones Green plantain fried or deep fried squished and fried
Empanadas small fritters, made with a mixture of shredded meat, pork, beef, or chicken'
Chicharron deep fried pork rind
Lentejas (lentil soup) a standard meal in many Colombian kitchens. The basic method is to soak the lentils for a few hours before adding chopped onion, garlic, and sometimes diced or grated carrots. It is then served with avocado, rice, tomato, and sweet plantain[9]

Pastries and baked goods


Varieties of arepa

Arepas and chorizo on the grill
Arepa de huevo


Spanish lime (Melicoccus bijugatus)

Fruit and juice stands are found across Colombia, particularly on the Caribbean coast. Being a tropical country, Colombia produces a large variety of fruits, such as:

Native fruit


Colombia is home to numerous tropical fruits that are rarely found elsewhere. Several varieties of bananas include a very small, sweet version. Other Colombian fruits include zapote (Quararibea cordata), nispero (Manilkara zapota), lulo (Solanum quitoense), uchuva (Physalis peruviana), papayuela (Vasconcellea pubescens), passion fruit, borojó (Borojoa patinoi), curuba (Passiflora tarminiana), mamoncillo (Melicoccus bijugatus), guanábana (Annona muricata), guava (Psidium guajava), tomate de arbol (tamarillo), and noni (Morinda citrifolia). More widespread fruit varieties grown in Colombia include mango, apple, pear, blackberry, and strawberry.

Main courses


Desserts and sweets

Tres leches cake



On a per capita basis, Colombia is one of the world's largest consumers of fruit juices, consuming on average more than three-quarters of a serving each day.[11]

Alcoholic beverages

See also


  1. ^ Ossa, Humberto; Aquino, Juliana; Pereira, Rui; Ibarra, Adriana; Ossa, Rafael H.; Pérez, Luz Adriana; Granda, Juan David; Lattig, Maria Claudia; Groot, Helena; Carvalho, Elizeu Fagundes de; Gusmão, Leonor (2016-10-13). "Outlining the Ancestry Landscape of Colombian Admixed Populations". PLOS ONE. 11 (10): e0164414. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1164414O. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164414. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 5063461. PMID 27736937.
  2. ^ "The lasting influence of Colombia's African heritage". Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  3. ^ "A Cheat Sheet to Colombian Food". Eater. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  4. ^ a b Foss, Richard (2011). "Colombia". In Albala, Ken (ed.). Food cultures of the world encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood. pp. 75. ISBN 978-1-78539-412-6. OCLC 915350255.
  5. ^ "Typical Colombian Food". Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Colombian Food: Variety, Tradition and Nature Fruits". Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Colombian Food; A List of Traditional and Modern Colombian Recipes". Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  8. ^ "10 Colombian Drinks You Must Try Before You Leave". Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  9. ^ a b c "15 Traditional Coffee Zone Dishes | BnB Colombia Tours". 2021-05-27. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  10. ^ Colombia Travel. "Jugos naturales" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  11. ^ Singh, Gitanjali M., et al. "Global, regional, and national consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, and milk: a systematic assessment of beverage intake in 187 countries." PLoS ONE 10.8 (2015): e0124845.
  12. ^ Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia, UNESCO,
  13. ^ Erica Dinho (2009-02-17). "Fruit Cocktail (Salpicón De Frutas)". My Colombian Recipes. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  14. ^ "Chicha". Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  15. ^ "Masato". Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  16. ^ "El refajo". 24 June 2006. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  17. ^ "Colombian Drinks: Traditional, Popular, Unique, Tasty, and Crazy". The Unconventional Route. 2018-07-24. Archived from the original on 2018-08-25. Retrieved 2022-01-03.