10 Colombian Dishes You Must Try

Bandeja Paisa in Hotel Sazagua, Colombia
Bandeja Paisa in Hotel Sazagua, Colombia | © Triángulo del Café Travel/Flickr
Eve Bidmead

Colombian food is meaty, flavorsome and filling. Wash it down with a sip of the strong alcoholic spirit aguardiente and crank up the salsa. Here’s our guide to some comida colombiana (Colombian food) you must try.

Bandeja Paisa

Bandeja Paisa

The bandeja paisa is the national dish of Colombia. Originally, this mega-calorie meal was invented to provide peasant workers with enough energy to keep them going throughout the entire day. Nowadays it’s a substantial lunchtime meal, eaten on special occasions or just when you’re feeling incredibly hungry. It consists of rice, plantain, arepa (corn cakes), avocado, minced meat, chorizo, black sausage and fried pork rind, and there’s a fried egg thrown on top for good measure.




Many Colombian dishes are based around the concept of making a meal out of basic ingredients. A great way to get the most flavor out of tougher cuts of meat is to cook them for a long time in soups and stews. The traditional Colombian stew is called sancocho. Chicken, pork and beef sancochos are all delicious, but for a real hearty dish, opt for mondongo – tripe soup.

Almuerzo corriente

Colombians know how to do lunch. Almuerzo corriente is a kind of power lunch. With a soup to start followed by a big main, invariably consisting of rice, meat or fish, some kind of lentil and a little salad on the side, the Colombian version of this midday meal is an absolute must-try.

Chocolate con queso

Chocolate con queso translates as chocolate and cheese. Cheese dipped in hot chocolate might not be your go-to meal but Colombians love it. Particularly popular in the capital, Bogotá, chocolate con queso is either eaten for breakfast or at around 4 pm, as an afternoon snack. The hot chocolate and stringy, melted cheese are a surprisingly good combination.

Fritanga Stall in Colombia


Fritanga is a wonderful mix of fried offal. While it doesn’t sound delicious, and it is most certainly an acquired taste, fritanga is a great way to try out bits of meat you wouldn’t normally eat.

Arroz con pollo

In Colombian cuisine rice isn’t just a side dish but the base of some brilliant main meals. Arroz con pollo translates as rice and chicken, stewed together with chicken stock. The dish is hugely popular and simply delicious. Traditionally served with a large squeeze of tomato ketchup, this is a great, cheap eat that will fill anyone up.

Arroz con pollo

Chuzo desgranado

Chuzo desgranado is the ultimate post-party snack, often served in 24-hour cafes that fill up once the clubs close. The dish is a mixture of sausage, chicken, beef and pork, served on a bed of lettuce. It’s topped with sweetcorn and crisps along with a triple hit of salsa – tartare, burger sauce and pineapple. This meal won’t win any health prices however, visitors should at least try it once, and they’ll see why it’s so popular.

Cazuela de mariscos

Cazuela de mariscos (seafood pot) is a creamy, seafood stew which is popular along the coast. It’s made with coconut milk, various vegetables and spices and you can use whatever seafood you have at hand, although prawns are almost always used. Although it’s a hot soup soup, people will often enjoy this on the beach in the blazing sunshine, so it’s the perfect dish for any day of the year.

Cazuela de Mariscos


Pan de bono is a small, round bread-like bite which is flavored with a sweet cheese. Popular all over the country, pan de bono is eaten as a snack throughout the day and is often served alongside a delicious hot chocolate early in the morning. For bread lovers, this Colombian bread specialty is a must try.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article