Cruising the cuisine scene in Colombia

Fri. July 14, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

The culinary world in the country of Colombia mixes together items from the past to form something new. This has created recipes that both visitors and locals can sink their teeth into.

Street food and home cooking are important to explore for understanding the true landscape of what the Republic of Colombia has to offer. Traditional dishes such as arepa cornmeal cakes, fried turnovers called empanadas and ajiaco, a chicken and potato soup, are found on many tables. Bandeja Paisa is the national dish of Colombia and it contains beans, rice, arepa, beef and plantains among other optional ingredients.

Looking for a beverage to wash the delicious food down? Try the sugarcane drink Aguardiente flavored with the aniseed plant and rum is a staple used by many mixologists in this region of the world.

The lulado drink is also quite popular and originates from the city of Cali. The pulp of the citrusy lulo plant is combined with ice, sugar and lime to create the drink.

Aguila is the most popular light beer offered in Colombia and wine is produced in small quantities in the country.

Santa Marta is a city on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, so regional dishes lean toward seafood and local harvests. Guasimo Restaurante capitalizes on that energy with freshly caught appetizers including ceviche de pescado blanco, langostinos negros and pulpo estilo Guasimo, among many others. Located in the heart of the historic district in Downtown Santa Marta, this hidden gem not only has impeccable service and a well-executed menu but impressive art adorns the walls adding to the creative environment in each room.

Pescao Restaurant is another outstanding fish-focused eatery in Santa Marta. The menu is strong and the ambiance is powerful. Live performances at select times add to the festive environment and the owner gives back to the community preferring to hire single mothers as staff.

Head to Lavocaderia in Medellin for the most charming avocado bar that one will find in Colombia. Sip on an avocado smoothie while devouring a hamburger packed inside an avocado. New locations are sprouting up everywhere so expect a Lavocaderia to roll into the USA one day!

For something completely different Test Kitchen Lab in El Poblado, Medellin will take your taste buds in unexpected directions. This place uses one hundred percent Colombian-sourced ingredients and the kitchen manager Dayana has curated an unforgettable experience for guests at the venue. Lobster bites and delicious pork belly dishes can be paired with drinks concocted by a skilled mixologist if desired. That pumpkin dessert will certainly keep patrons coming back for more!

These are just a few of the restaurants to visit when traversing across South America. A culinary journey awaits the hungry traveler in Colombia and it is just a plane ride away, so start planning yours today!