Colombia colourful streets

This exciting cuisine is packed full of flavour and always served with love!

Here are 11 Popular Foods From Colombia:

1. Sancocho de pescado con coco (Fish and coconut stew)

foods from colombia Fish-coconut-stew-Colombia

There are many different varieties of fish soup. Most of them have a base of coconut milk, which gives the soup a creamy, thick texture.

Everyone knows that fresh fish and coconut are the perfect combinations – and with the right Colombian spices added, this is a great dish.

This stew is commonly served with coconut rice, avocado, and fried plantain.

2. Cazuela de mariscos (seafood pot)

foods from colombia Cazuela de Mariscos

A silky, creamy, seafood stew that is popular along the coast. It’s prepared using coconut milk as the base plus various vegetables and spices.

Whatever seafood is on hand is often thrown in to create this dish, however, prawns are practically always used.

We found the best Cazuela de mariscos at Las Cazuelas de la Abuela in Bogota. What are the best foods from Colombia you ask? You gotta try this!

3. Arepa

Foods in Colombia - Arepas
Foods in Colombia – Arepas

A circular bread made from fresh cornmeal. These are delicious and easy snack when searching for what to eat in Colombia.

Arepas are a popular breakfast snack in Colombia, topped with a variety of ingredients or often eaten on their own.

Toppings can range from simply butter, salt and cheese to mounting piles of meat and vegetables – and don’t forget about the salsa to finish it off.

Arepa are a staple foods of Colombia and you’ll learn what combination you enjoy the most during your stay.

4. Sopa (Soup)

foods from colombia Chicken soup
Delicious foods from Colombia – Chicken soup is up there with the best!

Each and every soup or ‘sopa’ we ate in the country was bursting with flavour. The best chicken soup I remember eating in Colombia was from a tiny wooden kitchen at the top of an empty mountain pass on the bus ride between two Colombian cities.

I could see the small kitchen in the back, local women hanging over the steaming pot and ladling bowlfuls of the stuff at a rapid rate.

The soup was a velvety, green colour, I guessed from all the fresh herbs used in it. Once I took my first spoonful, I felt weak at the knees. Wow. Yum.

The tender leg of chicken in my bowl with meal falling off the bone and the most delicate amount of fresh hits of garlic warmed my soul. 

I love how a fond memory of food transports you to a place in an instant.

5. Pescado Frito (Fried fish)

foods in colombia Fried fish
Popular Foods in Colombia include fresh grilled fish

Pescado Frito (fried fish) is a very common dish along the coast of Colombia. The fresh fish is gutted, scaled and scored and seasoned with salt & pepper, fresh lime, and garlic.

The fish is tossed into flour, shaken off, and then fried whole. Usually accompanied by several sides including rice, stewed beans, a salad, and fried plantain.

The most common fish used to make this dish is red snapper, mojarra and tilapia. Best eaten with a cold beer!

6. Empanadas

foods from colombia Empanadas

Derived from the Spanish word empanar, which means to wrap or coat in bread, empanadas are essentially small, fist-sized foods packed with any number of fillings.

These are some of the best street snacks found on pretty much every corner. If you’re undecided about what to eat in Colombia, empanadas are an easy choice.

Deep-fried parcels of yum! Empanadas can be filled with beef, chicken, chorizo, a mixture of vegetables, or even cheese and spinach.

7. Bandeja Paisa

food from colombia Bandeja Paisa

This is the national dish of Colombia. If you ask a local what to eat in Colombia, they’ll tell you to eat this. Originally, this high-calorie meal was created to provide peasant workers with enough energy to sustain them for the entire day.

Nowadays, it’s a substantial lunchtime meal. It consists of rice, plantain, arepa (corn cakes), avocado, minced meat, chorizo, black sausage, and fried pork rind, and there’s even a fried egg thrown on top.

Make sure you’re hungry to eat this on your own or maybe share it with a friend – it’s super filling!

8. Menu del dia (menu of the day)

foods from colombia Menu del dia

A good lunch is important in Colombian culture. Almuerzo or menu del dia in Colombia is essentially the ‘daily menu’ that you’d find in other countries. This quick two-course meal is filling, affordable and tasty.

A soup to start followed by a big main, regularly consisting of rice, meat or fish, some kind of beans and a small salad on the side. A cold drink is generally included in the meal.

Expect to pay between $3-5 for the menu del dia.

9. Arroz con pollo (rice with chicken)

foods from colombia Rice and chicken
Food in Colombia includes many plates of rice and chicken.

Rice is a staple feature in most meals in Colombia. It’s affordable and incredibly versatile. Arroz con pollo is a dish made by stewing chicken, tomato, bell peppers, spices and rice.

A one-pot dish that is relatively easy to prepare and very popular throughout Colombia and other Latin countries.

This is one of my favourite dishes and my top recommendation for what to eat in Colombia.

10. Sancocho

foods from colombia Sancocho

A hearty stew that’s popular throughout many South American countries, with a few local variations. Essentially, you’ll often find a sancocho with a variety of different meats, plantains, yucca, potatoes and corn.

Add the spices and give it time to tick over and stew to develop flavours. This dish is served with a side of white rice and some pieces of avocado.

11. Churros

foods in colombia Churros
The best sweet foods from Colombia – Churros

One of my favourite sweets of all time. Long pieces of circular dough, deep-fried until golden brown and sprinkled with sugar.

It is best eaten piping hot, alongside a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. And, be warned; you can never stop at just one.

And that’s it! We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the most popular foods from Colombia. Have we missed a must-try dish? Let us know in the comments below.

We recommend you buy an eSIM for Colombia to stay connected while you explore- it’s so convenient!

Don’t miss our Perfect 2 Days in Bogota Itinerary, which lists the top sights. We’ve included some great food spots for you, too.

And, one of our favourite places to visit in Colombia is the beautiful town of Salento. Here are the 10 Best Things to Do in Salento, including details about hiking in the stunning Cocora Valley.