A Culinary Odyssey: 13 Traditional Colombian Dishes You Must Experience


Colombia, a country rich in cultural diversity and vibrant flavors, boasts a culinary tapestry that captivates the taste buds of locals and visitors alike. From the coastal regions to the Andean highlands, Colombian cuisine is a delightful fusion of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences. In this article, we embark on a gastronomic journey to explore 13 traditional Colombian dishes that are a must-try for anyone seeking an authentic taste of this South American culinary paradise.

  1. Ajiaco: A Hearty Chicken and Potato Soup

Begin your Colombian culinary adventure with Ajiaco, a robust soup that hails from the capital city, Bogotá. This hearty dish features chicken, three types of potatoes, corn on the cob, and an array of herbs, creating a flavorful and comforting experience.

  1. Bandeja Paisa: The Ultimate Colombian Platter

Known as the national dish of Colombia, Bandeja Paisa is a hearty platter that showcases a variety of flavors. Comprising beans, rice, ground meat, plantains, avocado, and a fried egg, this dish is a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds.

  1. Sancocho: Colombian Chicken Stew

Sancocho, a soul-soothing chicken stew, is a beloved dish across Colombia. With ingredients such as plantains, cassava, corn, and various herbs, each region puts its unique spin on this comforting and aromatic stew.

  1. Arepa: Colombia’s Staple Corn Cake

A ubiquitous presence in Colombian households, arepas are corn cakes that come in various shapes and sizes. Whether stuffed with cheese, eggs, or served plain as a side dish, arepas are a versatile and essential element of Colombian cuisine.

  1. Empanadas: Crispy Pockets of Flavor

Colombian empanadas are a delightful street food favorite. These crispy pockets of flavor are typically filled with seasoned meat, potatoes, and spices, creating a portable and satisfying snack enjoyed throughout the country.

  1. Lechona: Slow-Roasted Stuffed Pork

Originating from the Tolima region, Lechona is a festive dish made by slow-roasting a whole pig stuffed with rice, peas, and spices. This crispy-skinned delicacy is often served during celebrations and special occasions.

  1. Changua: Andean Milk and Egg Soup

A breakfast delight from the Andean region, Changua is a milk and egg soup seasoned with green onions and cilantro. Simple yet flavorful, it offers a unique start to the day, especially in the cooler highland climates.

  1. Pandebono: Cheese Bread Bliss

Pandebono is a popular Colombian bread made with yucca or corn flour and cheese. These round, cheesy delights are often enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack, providing a chewy and flavorful experience.

  1. Sobrebarriga: Flank Steak Marvel

Sobrebarriga, or flank steak, is a beloved Colombian dish often marinated and slow-cooked until tender. It’s typically served with a rich hogao sauce, rice, and plantains, offering a hearty and satisfying meal.

  1. Cazuela de Mariscos: Seafood Casserole

Along Colombia’s extensive coastline, Cazuela de Mariscos is a seafood lover’s dream. This delectable casserole combines a variety of fresh seafood, coconut milk, and indigenous spices for a rich and flavorful coastal experience.

  1. Tamal: Colombian Banana Leaf-Wrapped Delight

Tamales are a festive treat enjoyed during holidays and special occasions. Made from a masa mixture filled with meat, vegetables, or both, and wrapped in banana leaves, tamales showcase the diversity of Colombian culinary traditions.

  1. Chocoramo: Chocolate-Coated Cake Bar

Satisfy your sweet tooth with Chocoramo, a popular Colombian snack. This chocolate-coated cake bar, often filled with sweet arequipe (caramel), has become a nostalgic treat for locals and a must-try for visitors.

  1. Salpicon: Refreshing Fruit Cocktail

For a refreshing end to your culinary journey, indulge in Salpicon, a fruit cocktail featuring a mix of diced tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, and watermelon. Often drizzled with lime and honey, it’s a delightful and healthy way to conclude your Colombian feast.


Colombian cuisine, with its diverse flavors and cultural influences, offers a tantalizing adventure for the palate. From hearty soups to crispy empanadas and sweet treats, these 13 traditional dishes provide a taste of Colombia’s culinary heritage. So, whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Bogotá, the coastal regions, or the serene Andean highlands, be sure to savor these delectable dishes for an authentic Colombian gastronomic experience.