The humble empanada is a staple snack throughout Latin America, and it’s no different in Colombia where you can find all types of empanadas for sale everywhere from street snack carts to up-market bakeries. The best-of-the-best are the delicious Empanadas de Pipian with spicy peanut sauce in Popayan.
Salpicon de Frutas
The Salpicon de Frutas is another universally popular Colombian snack, one which you often see on the street or being sold at markets. It’s basically a giant fruit salad served in a glass of fruit juice, often adorned with condensed milk. It’s relatively healthy and certainly delicious.
The Colombian classic snack: arepas are basically corn cakes served with a variety of different fillings, toppings, and sides. Each region has its own distinctive take on the arepa, but the most popular are Arepas de Choclo, Arepas with cheese, and the Egg Arepa from the Caribbean coast.
This snack is fairly self-explanatory – chips (or crisps) made from plantain. You can buy packets from popular brands throughout the country, and you often see people coming onto buses to sell homemade plantain chips as well.
A universally popular Colombian bread made of corn flour, cassava starch, cheese, eggs and, occasionally, guava paste, the Pandebono can be found in just about every bakery in Colombia and is a classic breakfast snack, best enjoyed with a steaming hot cup of coffee.
The iconic orange wrapper of a Chocoramo is one of the most recognizable things to any Colombian – the tasty chocolate sponge cake is a staple Colombian sweet snack, and can be seen for sale in every supermarket and street-stall in the country! They’re cheap, tasty, and easy to get hold of: the perfect snack!
Another hugely popular cheesy bread snack, the bunuelo is a tasty, fried ball of white cheese and flour which is traditionally eaten by Colombians as a Christmas snack. However, that doesn’t mean they’re hard to get hold of any other time of the year: you can pick up a few bunuelos at just about any bakery.
One of the heartiest and heaviest snacks in Colombia, the Papa Rellena – or Stuffed Potato – pretty much does exactly what it says on the tin! It’s a potato dough stuffed with meat, onions, a whole boiled egg and various spices, before being deep-fried and served up whole. It’s delicious with spicy aji sauce.
Bocadillo (con queso)
This typical Colombian snack is made of guava pulp and panela, which is mixed together to form a guava jelly and sold in small cubes wrapped in banana leaves (making for a conveniently biodegradable packaging as well) – the paste is often accompanied with cheese.
Achiras are tasty little cheesy biscuits (yep, Colombians do love cheesy snacks!) which are traditionally made in the department of Huila (which is also the best place to try them). Made with the eponymous achira flour, the snacks are moulded into little biscuits and then baked.
A traditional coconut candy which is popular throughout Latin America, the cocada is made with eggs and shredded coconut and served at room temperature to ensure their typical chewy texture. There are hundreds of different local recipes, and you often see Cocadas on sale in the street, freshly made and served from large baking trays, particularly on the coast.
Obleas are basically thin wafers with a generous smearing of arequipe paste in the middle, often served accompanied with extra toppings like jam, sprinkles, or condensed milk. They are a hugely popular street snack, so much so that Mick Jagger even sampled one when he visited Bogota!
Colombia has some of the most delicious and diverse fruit in the world, and a cup of fruit is a popular and healthy snack, commonly seen for sale from street-stalls in the morning as people head to work. You can accompany it with condensed milk, cheese, and many other toppings, or keep it au-naturel for maximum health points!
Colombian-style hot dogs
A Colombian hot dog is a glorious lesson in excess, and they are massively popular as street snacks, particularly later at night when people leave bars and clubs and want a drunken snack. They are topped with up to five types of sauces – including pink sauce and pineapple sauce – and served with onions, cheese, crushed-up potato chips, and even a quail’s egg!
These baked pastries come in a variety of styles and are great snacks which people often enjoy with a coffee between meals. The most popular are stuffed with meat or chicken, but there are sweet ones that come with guava paste or arequipe as well. As with many of the above snacks, any bakery will serve pasteles.