Most people think that all Latin American food must be spicy but I’m here to tell you that it’s not the case. I absolutely love the fact that Colombian food can be enjoyed without burning your taste buds off.
There are so many flavors in Colombia that it would be a shame to cover them up with fire. The fruits are plentiful and unique. There are hundreds of potatoes. The steaks are juicy and delicious. Arepas galore. Empanadas. Ice creams. Plantains. Drinks. Desserts and so much more.
Here’s a little taste to entice your tastebuds and spike your curiosity.
Fruits in Colombia are my favorite. They aren’t stuffed with preservatives and their taste explodes in your mouth releasing a zing of ecstasy. I could spend all day eating fruits in Colombia and one of my absolute must haves each time I visit is: Granadilla. It’s the one you see picture below with a hard orange shell. When you break it open you’ll see the seeds inside and that is what you eat. It is so refreshing and its sweet taste is absolutely unique.
Fruit salads are a big thing in Colombia and below you’ll see two different styles pictured. The one I’ll point out is the one that looks like a “soup”–It’s called salpicón. This tasty fruit salad is a melody of pineapple, papaya, mango, and strawberries mixed in watermelon juice. If fruits is what you’re looking for, fruits you shall get!
Let’s talk drinks! Because there are so many amazing fruits in Colombia the natural juices are bountiful. Below you’ll see mora juice. The juice is made from raspberries that grow in Colombia (I’ve tried to replicate it with American raspberries and it DOES NOT WORK). Anyways, it is absolutely delicious and I always order it made with water and not milk (you’re always given the options). A favorite of mine is tomato tree juice (jugo de tomate de arbol). It is absolutely delicious but it proved itself difficult to find in the restaurant scene during this visit. It wasn’t until I visited my best friend in Bogotá that I was finally able to satisfy my craving.
The most popular soft drinks in Colombia are Colombiana and Manzana Postobón. They are the only soft drinks that I will allow myself to indulge in from time to time. They are great accompaniment to Colombian street food.
And finally, for all of you coffee lovers, this is the place to come delight yourself with the world’s best coffee!! Like I said in my previous post, “Colombia In My Veins”, this time around I had the opportunity to visit the coffee axis. Close to Aremnia we went to the El Parque del Cafe and to La Recuca. In La Recuca , from the moment we stepped on the grounds we were given free coffee until the end. The coffee was absolutely delicious. It was light, soft, and slightly sweetened with sugar cane. It was exquisite.
Now for the main course! I don’t even know where to begin. Meat, plantains, soups, potatoes, salads, arepas, tamales, cheese, bread, and everything you can think of. In Colombia we love what’s called Patacón Pisao. It’s a large green plantain that has been fried, smashed, and re-fried. Usually it has the protein on it or next to it. However, here I’d like to focus on Ajiaco. This is a potato soup that is native to Bogotá. Ajiaco is made from three different potatoes–one of which is only found in Colombia: Papa Criolla. This is a small yellow potato and it is the last one to be added to the mix. Ajiaco takes a lot of time, but it is so worth it. First you boil the chicken with huascas and other seasonings. Then you take the chicken out and add the potatoes and let them cook until they are completely dissolved. When the soup is done you add the shredded chicken back in, corn on the cob, capers, and cream. On the side there will be white rice and avocado–I add these to the soup as well. It’s my comfort food. We had the best bowl of ajiaco in a restaurant called La Puerta Falsa. This restaurant was established in 1816 and they only serve a few things: Ajiaco, Tamales, Agua de Panela completa and Chocolate Completo. During our lunch we encountered two gringos who were on a gastronomical exploration and we blew their minds when we told them the hot chocolate they ordered was to be had with chuncks of cheese. They were like “How do you know this?” our response was simple “we grew up having it that way. It’s the way all Colombians have their hot chocolate”, so they went for it! It might take some getting used to but the melted cheese is so worth it. Don’t go to Bogotá without eating here.
Close to Bucaramanga there is a little town called Florida. Here there is a restaurant dedicated to obleas–two flat wafer cookies with caramel spread, guava spread, cheese, cream and any sweet flavor you may want in between. The name of this restaurant is Pasiones. For my first oblea there I had “Primer Amor”: It had caramel spread, raspberry spread, homemade whipped cream. I don’t have to tell you twice that I was completely enamored by these flavors. In El Parque Del Cafe I had a scoop of coffee ice cream and a scoop of passion fruit ice cream. The mix was perfect. In the airport in Medellin I had the best Pastel Gloria. This is a puff pastry stuffed with guava, caramel spread and brevas (a fruit native to colombia).
Bucaramanga is known for it s”Big Assed Ants”–Hormigas Culonas. Though Oscar and his cousins are originally from Bucaramanga they had never had hormigas culonas so we decided to delve into the adventure together. Oscar’s cousin, Eduardo, purchased a small pack of hormigas culonas for us to split. We each had one. They were crunchy and tasted a bit like burned pop-corn. We washed them down with some good ole Aguila beer. I would recommend buying them freshly cooked if you’re going to try.
I think it’s safe to say that there is no way you’ll be bored with the gastronomy in Colombia. There is plenty to choose from and adventures to be had.
Eat at Adres Carne de Res, La Puerta Falsa, and Pasiones. Eat street food. Eat at someone’s house. Eat Arepas. Eat obleas. Eat EVERYTHING!
“It’s ludicrous this place exists and everybody doesn’t want to live here”–Anthony Bourdain