Colombian cuisine is a compound of the culinary traditions of the six main regions within the country (Pacific, Amazonian, Andean, Orinoco, Caribbean, and Insular). Colombian cuisine varies regionally and is particularly influenced by Indigenous Colombian, Spanish, and African cuisines, with slight Arab influence in some regions. Furthermore, being one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Colombia has one of the widest variety of available ingredients depending on the region.
Colombian National Dishes
Sancocho (from the Spanish verb sancochar, “to parboil”) is a traditional soup (often considered a stew) in several Latin American cuisines. Variations represent popular national dishes in the Puerto Rico, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. It usually consists of large pieces of meat, tubers and vegetables served in a broth.
Ajiaco is a soup common to Colombia, Cuba, and Peru. Scholars have debated the origin of the dish. The dish is especially popular in the Colombian capital, Bogotá, where it is typically made with chicken, three varieties of potatoes, and the Galinsoga parviflora herb. In Cuba, ajiaco is prepared as a stew, while in Peru the dish is prepared with a number of regionally specific variations.
Arepa is a type of food made of ground maize dough, originating from the northern region of South America in pre-Columbian times, and is notable in the cuisines of Colombia and Venezuela.
It is eaten daily in those countries and can be served with accompaniments such as cheese, cuajada (fermented milk), various meats, chicken, avocado, and diablito. It can also be split to make sandwiches. Sizes, maize types, and added ingredients vary its preparation. Arepas can also be found in the Canary Islands. It is similar in shape to the Mexican gordita and the Salvadoran pupusa.
Bandeja paisa (Paisa refers to a person from the Paisa Region and bandeja is Spanish for platter), with variations known as bandeja de arriero, bandeja montañera, or bandeja antioqueña, is a typical meal popular in Colombian cuisine, especially of the Antioquia department and the Paisa Region, as well as with the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis (the departments of Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda), and part of Valle del Cauca and the northwest of Tolima.
The main characteristic of this dish is the generous amount and variety of food in a traditional bandeja paisa: red beans cooked with pork, white rice, carne molida (ground meat), chicharrón, fried egg, plantain (plátano maduro), chorizo, arepa, hogao sauce, black pudding (morcilla), avocado and lemon. It is served in a platter or a tray.