Trying authentic Colombian food for the first time is an unforgettable experience. Whether it is sitting down to a satisfying dinner, or simply grabbing a quick bite from a street cart, the rich flavors never disappoint. A few staples for a Colombian diet include meat, bread, eggs, rice, beans, corn, avocados, and more fruit than you have ever feasted your eyes upon before. I decided not to list every traditional Colombian plate to be tried but simply the foods I particularly enjoyed and most of which were easy to grab at a small food cart.


This is two sweet wafers stacked together with various delicious spreads in between them. The most common ones I saw in Bogota were “mora” (blackberry jam), coconut, “leche crema” (creamed milk), dulce de leche, and chopped peanuts. 

Bandeja Paisa

Probably the most popular Colombian dish and almost impossible to eat singlehandedly. It typically comes on a giant platter with Cicharrón (pork rind), shredded meat, red beans, avocado, a fried egg, arepa, white rice, chorizo morcilla (black pudding), and plantain. 

Jugo/Colombian fruits

In Colombia, freshly squeezed juice and blended fruit smoothies flow like water. Most juices are roughly $1 and are blended with water or milk and sugar for sweetness. Some fruits unique to Colombia include cherimoya (tasting slightly like bubble gum), granadilla, guanabana, guava, and maracuya (passion fruit). A fruit jugo can be very refreshing after eating a lot of meat and carbs through out the day.


It is a fermented drink usually derived from corn, grains, or fruit. The chicha I tried was distilled from fruit and had a light pear taste to it.


This is a fried turnover usually containing cheese, meat, and/or vegetables. Empanadas taste slightly different in every South American country so I recommend trying them in every new place.


These are little corn cakes and can be tried by themselves are eaten as a side of a Colombian dish. Since they are pretty mild, they are perfect for mopping up any leftover sauces on a plate!


These are fluffy fried cheese bread balls and can be found on every corner for around $0.25 a piece. Definitely make sure you buy them fresh from the fryer. In many places, you can watch them being rolled into dough balls and made before your eyes.


This is a special fruit drink I found in Cali made from lulos, lemons, sugar cane, and shaved ice. It is sweet and sour all at once and very refreshing on a hot day.

Meghan Mathews