One of the most representative Colombian features is its cuisine. The richness of our food makes Colombians very proud. Every region of the country has its own traditions and customs regarding food and cooking habits. This is also related to the types of food that grows in each region. If you travel around the country, you will find many significant differences, however, you will be amazed by the incredible variety of flavors, smells and tastes. I would like to show you some of the most characteristic dishes of my country.
Let us start by my favorite:
La Bandeja Paisa (Paisa Platter)
This dish is composed by a multiplicity of different ingredients; some of them are: rice, beans, avocado, plantain, chorizo and Chicharrón (fried pork belly). Some of these ingredients can always be found in the Colombians daily diet. This is quite a delicious plate with a multiplicity of flavors; however, it is important to say that it could be a little strong for the stomach. For people who are not used to it, it could cause stomachache and an imminent trip to the restroom. It is very popular all around the country and it is also the favorite of the visitors that enjoy trying our food. By the way, “Paisa” is the given nickname for the people in the northwest of Colombia including the part of the Andes.
El Ajiaco is a very special soup traditionally cooked in the central region of the country. In the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, el Ajiaco is one of the most commonly served dishes. The main ingredients are chicken and different types of potatoes, but usually people add many other elements that make this dish really tasty. Some of the ingredients added to this soup are corn, herbs and heavy cream. It is also served with avocado and white rice.
This is a Colombian snack that people enjoy at any time of the day. Its preparation and ingredients vary from place to place. Some of them are shredded pork, potatoes, rice, beef, ground meat or even chicken. You can find them everywhere and they are the perfect appetizer or the perfect excuse for enjoying something delicious and autochthone. Usually you can eat them with lemon, sauces or ají (which is a spicy sauce made especially in Antioquia). Commonly, the best place to find a tasty empanada was outside the churches, after the mass, where back in the time people used to gather to sell food in order to raise money for the church and the community in general.
Aguapanela (panela water)
La panela is a solid piece of sucrose obtained from the boiling and evaporation of sugarcane juice. La aguapanela is one of the most representative and popular drinks in the whole country. In cold regions it is usually served as a hot drink; however it can also be served as a cold drink when the temperature is high. This sweet drink can be used as a base to prepare coffee and hot chocolate.
Finally, one particularity of the Colombian food is that it does not matter where the dishes are habitually from, they are prepared in every region of the country. However, there are some specific regions where one dish is more appetizing than others. For instance, in the cities surrounded by the ocean, sea or big rivers, the fish is more used in the daily cuisine. If you ever visit Colombia don’t go away without tasting these wonderful and delightful dishes, you will be positively surprised with the Colombian cuisine.