If you thought Colombian food was simply white rice and beans, then you’re in for a real treat. Because Colombian fruits are some of the most colourful, delicious and exotic-looking varieties you’re ever likely to encounter.
The great thing about Colombian fruit is that they are fresh and readily available everywhere from at the local store, the supermarket or street corner and if you find yourself living in Colombia or travelling through the country for any extended period of time then you’ll also be familiar with the fruit sellers who walk the streets calling the names of the fruits they have on offer.
I can’t even tell you the amount of times I woke up to the sound of the man on the street outside shouting “Sandilla, Sandilla, Sandilla!” But Colombian fruits are more exciting that watermelon, apples, oranges and bananas. Some are spiky and sweet, others are a diarrhetic and will have you running to the bathroom, while there are some varieties that taste like bubblegum. Here are just a few of my favourite Colombian fruits that are definitely worth a try at least once while in the country.
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Grown in the Pacific region of el Chocó, Borojó is known to be an aphrodisiac. It’s available in juices but is most commonly bought as a jam or paste.
I feel that this might be one of the country’s favourite fruits. Lunch in Colombia is incomplete without a juice and very often you’ll see a jug of jugo de guanabana on the table. It’s a big spiky sweet fruit that is known as soursop in English. It’s also said to have strong healing properties.
These small green ovals smell sweet but they’re not to everyone’s taste. Some say they taste a bit like bubblegum, while others are convinced it has an artificial flavour.
Another incredibly popular fruit for juicing is lulo. These small orange spheres really pack a punch and are a mix of both sweet and acidic.
Called passionfruit in English, the maracuyá is very tart in flavour with a rough exterior and slimy seeds in the centre. Maracuyá on merengon is one of my favourite toppings but it is also eaten with a sprinkling of salt.
Now, this is one of the fruits that will have you running to the toilet if you eat too much – great if you’ve got the dreaded case of travel constipation, not so good if you’re out and about on your travels! In any case, the pithaya is an expensive fruit available in Colombia. It is native to the Americas and resembles the dragon fruit which has a pink skin instead of yellow.
These small tart berries are commonly known as yellow gooseberries in English but in Colombia they’re called uchuvas.
This wild and wonderful fruit is one of the hardier varieties in the country as it can grow in harsh conditions including areas struck by drought. They’re regularly added to smoothies with a bit of sugar, but be aware that they are also a laxative.