Colombian food may not be as well-known in the States as Mexican food, but Colombian food, which is a blend of Spanish, Caribbean and indigenous cultures is hearty and delicious. If you find yourself in Bogota, Colombia one of the best parts will be sampling all the different types of foods. Here are my top seven foods and drinks you need to try if you’re in Bogota, Colombia.
Empanadas are like the breakfast burrito of Colombia. Empanadas can be sweet or savory and have different types of fillings. Empanadas in Colombia tend to be on the savory side and are usually filled with meat and potatoes. They are ubiquitious, cheap, and easy to eat on the go. Empanadas were my go-to-snack. Street vendors and little cafes serve them with coffee and they make a great breakfast food.
Street vendors selling grilled corn can also be found all over Bogota. Street corn is delicious, as its grilled over an open fire, brushed in butter, and seasoned with garlic/lime salt. Street corn is cheap and quite filling, and it’s fun to watch the street vendors preparing it.
You can’t come to Bogota without trying un tinto. Un tinto is just how Colombians like their coffee – its watery and sweet. You can request your tinto to be “fuerte” if you want it to have a stronger jolt. One of the best places that serves coffee in Bogota is El Azuhar café. They brew their tinto in French presses and give you a timer. Once the timer is finished you push down on the French press and are greeted with an excellent tinto.
Colombian tamales are nothing like Mexican tamales. For one, Colombian tamales are wrapped in plantain leaves and filled with chicken and rice. Colombian tamales are filling and warming and are commonly eaten at breakfast or lunch.
The Chocolate Santafereno (Colombian hot chocolate) is why Colombians are touted as the happiest people (in my opinion). The Chocolate Santafereno is a savory hot chocolate served with buttered breads and arepas and cheese. You dunk the bread/arepa as well as the cheese in the hot chocolate. One of the best Chocolate Santafereno’s can be found at La Puerta Falas, Bogota’s oldest restaurant located in La Candelaria district.
Ajicao is a specialty dish of Bogota and one you can’t miss. Ajicao is a stew with potatoes, corn, and chicken and a special herb called guasca. The stew is perfect for one of Bogota’s chilly days and its really filling. There are several places around the city to get Ajicao. I had excellent Ajicao at a restaurant called Club Colombia, which is located in the Northern part of Bogota.
Arepas are like the tortillas of Colombia and you can find them everywhere. Arepas are made of ground maize and can be eaten with anything. Many arepas have fillings such as cheese and eggs and have ample butter on top. Arepas can be found at many street vendors and they are a cheap and easy eat.