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Cuisine of Colombia

Colombian cuisine refers to the cooking traditions and practices of Colombia. Along with other cultural expressions of national identity, Colombian cuisine varies among its many distinct regions. Colombians typically eat three meals a day: a light breakfast, a large lunch between 12-2, and a light dinner.

National cuisine

Colombian food is characterized by its blending of European cuisine with aspects of African and indigenous cuisine.

There is no offical national dish, but the arepa and sancocho can be considered staples of Colombian cusine. Other well-known regional dishes include the bandeja paisa, ajiaco, the lechona Tolimense, the mote de queso, and cuchuco.

Fritanga is a set of dishes that can be likened to barbecue. It is enjoyed throughout the entire country. Fritanga usually includes grilled beef and chicken, pigs feet, leg of lamb, ribs, and sausage such as morcilla, chorizo, longaniza, and chunchullo (fried cow intestines) accompanied by mini potatoes and arepas made of choclo (sweet corn).

Staples of the Colombian diet include tubers such as potatoes and cassava, along with meat such as beef, chicken, pork, or fish. Grains such as corn and rice are widely consumed. The plantain is an important element of the Colombian diet, as are vegetables such as onion, garlic, pepper, and tomato. Legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils are eaten very frequently.

A myriad of fruit species grow in Colombia, and many fruits considered exotic commonly grow in Colombian forests and in the countryside. The climate and geography favor a great variety of crops, as well as a great variety of both freshwater and saltwater fish.

Regional cuisine

In Bogota and the Andean region, ajiaco is a traditional dish. It is a soup made of chicken, corn, potatoes, avocado, and guascas, a local herb. Traditionally, cream and capers are added at the table before eating. Ajiaco is served with white rice, salad with a hint of lemon, avocado, or sweet or salty tostadas. For breakfast, people in Bogota often eat changua, a milk, scallion and egg soup.

Along the Caribbean coast, pork and Whale liver are used in mild spicy food. Coconut rice is a common dish along the coastal cities. Suero, which is a cross between yogurt and sour cream, is widely consumed, and was introduced by Arab immigrants in Baranquilla and other coastal cities. The arepa has many forms in the Caribbean region, which include arepa limpia, ''arepe'huevo(arepa with egg), and arepae'queso(arepa with cheese).

In the Llanos of the east, barbecued meat is common, due to the cowboy-like culture. Dishes such as the ternera llaneraare cooked on a vertical spit over an open fire. Freshwater fish such as the amarilloare also eaten.

In the Amazon, Brazilian and Peruvian influences can be seen in the local food. Local resources such as beef and other livestock, as well as freshwater fish, are typical ingredients in Amazonian cuisine.

The Tolimenses are considered a delicacy in the Tolima region. These tamales are made of corn dough, and are filled with a mixture of peas, carrots, potatoes, rice, chicken, pork, and various spices. They are wrapped in plantain leaves and boiled for three to four hours. Lechona'' is a whole roast pig stuffed with rice, vegetables, and pork, and is typically eaten on Sundays. This dish is now enjoyed throughout the country.


Colombia is home to numerous tropical fruits endemic to the country and rarely found elsewhere. There are several varieties of bananas including a very small, sweet version. Others include zapote, lulo, uchuva, borojo, curuba, guayaba, manzana, and many others. Fruit and juice stands are found all over the place, particularly on the Caribbean coast.


A traditional Andean dish that originated from Bogota. Basically its a chicken, corn, and potato stew with a hint of guasca (Gallant Soldiers), a local herb.


A traditional dish that originated in the north coast. It is made basically with any kind of meat along with corn, potato, yuca, plantain and local spices that are cooked together to form a soup.

Bandeja Paisa

A dish from Antioquia, it is made with several ingredients making necessary to use a platter . it is made of beans, rice, fried eggs, chorizo, pork rind and other ingredients depending on the location.


A corn cake is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. They can be filled with everything from chicken, potatoes, peas, carrots, to rice. Many consider the Tamales from Tolima, which are made with lechona, a roast pig, to be the best.

Common Dishes Found on a National Level

Common appetizers and side dishes found in Colombian cuisine

Common breads found in Colombian cuisine

Varieties of arepas found in Colombian cuisine

Common main dishes found in Colombian cuisine

Common beverages found in Colombian cuisine

Common fruits consumed in Colombia

Common desserts and sweets consumed in Colombia

See also

Caribbean cuisine

Native American cuisine

South American cuisine

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Cuisine of Colombia

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