Food and Drink in Colombia

Information about eating and drinking in Colombia: Colombian cuisine, regional specialities and popular drinks...

Colombian cuisine is very diverse and the dishes of Colombia and food habits have been shaped by the country's geography and climate, as well as by the various people that have lived in and moved to the area over the centuries.

Colombian cuisine has developed over time thanks to many factors. It is rooted in the Amerindian culture of its indigenous ancestors but also takes aspects from Spanish, African, Asian and Middle Eastern culture. Traditional dishes from these ethnic groups have often been adapted to incorporate the abundant native flora, fauna and animal life of Colombia.

The ingredients used in cooking vary enormously from region to region. The Colombian diet is largely meat-based, although a variety of seafood is served in coastal areas. Meats such as beef, chicken, pork and goat are favoured inland and are prepared by grilling, barbecuing, stewing, frying and roasting.

Many fruits and vegetables are used in cooking and the frequency of their presence in local dishes differs from region to region and climate to climate. Popular ingredients include assorted corn varieties, beans, rice, tomatoes, plantains, yams, lentils, avocado and peppers. Tropical fruits are abundant in Colombia with some that are unique to the country. Fruits you may not have seen in your local supermarket that are abundant in Colombia include lulo, curuba, mamoncillo, guanábana, nispero uchuva, guava, chontaduro, borojó, zapote, sugar apple, carambolo, passion fruit and corozo.

The herbs and spices used in Colombian food give it a unique flavour. A few of these include cumin, achiote, garlic, saffron, chilli, cilantro (coriander) and guasca.

Breakfast is traditionally an important meal in Colombia and usually consists of fruit juice and a hot drink such as coffee accompanied by bread, eggs and fruit.