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Colombian Food Guide: Must-Try Street Food in Colombia

Patacones Con Hogao
Source: Eduardo Francisco Vazquez Murillo, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr | Changes made: cropped

Having been under Spanish rule for several centuries, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Colombian culture is heavily influenced by Spanish beliefs, values and traditions. Such influence is reflected in their language, architecture, traditions, practices, and their food. As a result, you get to try flavors that you normally wouldn’t associate (pig fat for dessert anyone?).

Some Colombian food may seem exotic or unusual, but you wouldn’t know what you are missing out on if you don’t give them a try. For those new to this kind of cuisine, here are some tasty street food you can try:

  • Arepas
  • This is one of the more popular and traditional dishes on the Colombian food menu. But what many don’t know is that it is also one of the most versatile. Most cities will have their own signature version of Arepas. For example: In the Andean region, their version consists of a sweet corn disk slathered with butter until golden brown and topped with fresh white cheese. Doesn’t that sound mouth-watering? So wherever you are in the country, make sure to try that region’s Arepas.

  • Buñuelos
  • This simple fare actually packs a lot of flavors. Once you taste it, it’s hard to believe that it’s only made out of salty flour and curd white cheese that’s fried to perfection. It’s also easy to understand why this is a popular breakfast staple among the locals. This is one dish that goes well with almost everything.

  • Churros
  • Churros may have started in Spain or Portugal, but Colombians certainly put their own spin on this dessert. For starters, their version is smaller in comparison. The biggest difference would have to be what goes with their churros. Instead of the usual hot chocolate, the Colombian version is either topped with sugar or slathered with arequipe (otherwise known as dulce de leche). Despite the difference, it still has that same crunchy donut flavor that you love in a churro.

  • Obleas
  • This is basically the Colombian version of a sandwich but with wafers instead of sliced bread. But what do you fill it with? The answer: It’s totally up to you. You can have jam, dulce de leche, and even some cheese. Whatever you have, you’ll love it all the same and will certainly keep looking for more.

  • Tropical Fruits
  • There are some fruits in Colombia that you wouldn’t find anywhere else in the world. A few examples are Mangosteen, Gulupa, and Zapote. You can find vendors selling whatever fruit is in season on street corners or public stations. Mangoes, in particular, are popular all-year-round. Vendors coat them in lime juice and serve them in plastic cups. This dessert is definitely a must-have on a warm, sunny day.

Any of these street foods is sure to satisfy your cravings (they are also perfect for sharing when you are dating a Colombian woman). Also, another way of understanding Colombian culture is to taste their cuisine. So make sure to try as much as you can while you’re in the country, because you might not be able to taste these dishes anywhere else.

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