Colombian food might be misunderstood and under appreciated, but for the locals and many foreigners living in Colombia, the food is a highlight.
“Time to get fat, woo!” one friend posted on Facebook, about to visit Colombia for the second time. Recalling so many meals in Colombia myself, and the many kilos that were put on as a result, here are my 15 favourite Colombian foods that are worth getting fat. Enjoy!
Buñuelos are a fried cheese ball of deliciousness, which are especially popular around Christmas time. I didn’t see many of these while I was living in Bogota, but they seem to be super popular in Antioquia. They’re available around the country at bakeries, but you want to make sure you buy them fresh and straight from the fryer. Eating a stale buñuelo is a sin!
2. Lechona Tolimense
A traditional dish from the department of Tolima, lechona is a favourite and must-try for those spending time in Colombia. The dish is made by stuffing an entire pig with rice, spices and veggies and then cooked in an oven in its own juices for up to 12 hours.
3. Bandeja Paisa
Mondongo is a type of soup or stew made from tripe (the stomach of a cow or pig), along with slow-cooked vegetables. It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s worth giving it a go if you’re in Colombia.
Christmas in Colombia just wouldn’t be the same without Natilla. It is a wobbly custard dessert, usually served with buñuelos.
6. Arepas con… todo
There are so many different types of arepas, almost every region has their own variety. So my challenge to you is to try every type of arepa possible. Whether it’s on the side of your Bandeja Paisa, topped with shredded meat and cheese or stuffed with potato and egg, arepas are delicious and definitely worth putting on weight for. (Guilty!)
7. Chocolate completo
Another food favourite from Tolima has got to be Tamales. There are so many different varieties of the humble Tamal but they’re usually filled with pork, chicken, vegetables, rice and a yellow corn flour called masarepa. The mixture is then wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked in hot water.
Calentado is basically like eating your leftover dinner for breakfast the next morning. Calentado literally means “heated” and usually includes things like leftover meat and beans from the night before. Preparing meals in Colombian can mean lots of food, and maybe even some leftovers for the next morning, so expect to eat a couple of Calentados while you’re in the country.
Chicharones are fried pork belly pieces. A lot of the time they’re served as an entree, on the side of your Bandeja Paisa, or you can simply eat them by the handful as a snack. Hello weight gain!
15. Coconut rice
Coconut rice is particularly popular in coastal regions and goes mighty well with seafood, especially fried fish. It is one of my absolute favourite things to eat and is definitely worth putting weight on for while spending a Christmas in Colombia.
What do you think? What are your favourite Colombian foods to indulge in? What have I missed? Be sure to let me know in the comments section below.
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