Colombia is a beautiful country with mountainscapes, rainforests, beaches, and some of the most delicious cuisine south of the equator. Our foodie and Travel Expert Rachel Shanfeld shares her top five dishes that you simply must try in Colombia.
In South America, I got a chance to discover Colombia for two weeks with G Adventures and one of the (unexpected) highlights for me surely ended up being the food. As a pescetarian, I was initially worried that I’d have a hard time finding dishes that could cater to a meat-free diet, but I was happy to learn that I was wrong. Here are five dishes from Colombia you have to try:
1. Arepas con queso
The Colombian-style grilled cheese. Arepas are pancake-like savoury pockets made with cornmeal. Con queso (with cheese) means the arepa is stuffed with cheese before it’s pan fried, melting the cheese on the inside to perfection, which is what makes this dish soooo delicious. These tasty treats are often consumed by the late night crowd looking for a little something before heading home after a night out on the town. They’re widely available and served on the street almost anywhere in Colombia.
2. Supa ajiaco
Hands down one of the best comfort soups I’ve ever had! This is a potato broth soup with spinach, corn, and several strips of chicken. (In my case, no chicken, but you knew that.) On the side, a shot glass size of thick cream and half of an avocado is paired with the soup. Pour the cream into the soup and mix it right away for a creamier flavour. The avocado can be cubed and put into the soup, or eaten separately on the side. This soup is commonly found in the cooler mountainous regions, like Bogota, not so much in the Caribbean areas.
3. Pescado a la Criolla
This is a northern Colombian dish influenced by Caribbean cuisine – red snapper fish served in a creole sauce with white rice and fried plantain chips. Yum. Dishes in this region tend to pack a bit more heat per squared bite but are never too hot. The snapper was fresh and one of Cartagena’s most notable dishes.
4. Aguacate relleno
In a large avocado, fish or meat is stuffed inside with cheese melted on top. Alternatively, I had mine with vegetables instead of fish or meat. This dish is often an appetizer for the table to share and can be found in regions all over Colombia. The avocados are so fresh and simply amazing. This is one of my favourite dishes, for sure. (Have I said that about all of them, so far?)
5. Obleas con crema
What is a meal without dessert? Obleas are large thin wafers or waffles with your choice of filling. Caramel crema is a popular option, but others include blueberry jam, coconut cream, chocolate, and vanilla. These tasty treats are common after-school staples for children in Colombia and can be found all over main streets in each town and city.