Ajiaco Colombian food
Bandeja paisa: Colombian national dish
Traditional Colombian drinks
America > South America > Colombia > The Most Popular Typical Food and Drinks of Colombia

The Most Popular Typical Food and Drinks of Colombia

By Brenda Nieto |

rEnjoy the typical food and drinks of Colombia; discover its ingredients and the history behind them as you visit the best regions of the country.

The first thing that probably comes to your mind when you hear the word Colombia is coffee. No wonder why, since it is considered the Latin capital of coffee. But this country is more than this delicious drink. The typical food of Colombia has it’s own history. Without a doubt, you have to try some of the dishes of Colombian gastronomy while you travel through this South American country.

Colombian Gastronomy 

Each country has a unique history that shows in its buildings, streets and in the people who live there. One of the clearest manifestations of a place’s history is its food. Gastronomy reflects the cultural exchanges, trips and forms of creation of typical dishes or traditional drinks of a region.

In this article we will tell you about the typical food and drinks of Colombia, as well as the places they come from. DINKtravelers invites you to enjoy this little tour of the most characteristic Colombian dishes and traditional drinks.

What is Colombian Ajiaco?

When traveling, we try to taste food that we don’t commonly find, a combination of flavors that create a special dish  worth trying. An example is Colombian ajiaco, which reflects a history of colonization and cultural diversity.

This typical Colombian dish was born thanks to the combination of Creole recipes. Not only is it special for its mixture of ingredients but also for being the result of cultural exchange. This is reflected in the transformation of its name. There is a dish called aji soup. Aji is a type of chili. As time went by, the recipe changed and people started adding chicken, milk and capers, thus creating a different dish. As a consequence, its name became the one we know today: ajiaco.

Before the twentieth century there was no specific recipe, but it became what it is today in the 1900s. The ajiaco is essentially made with ingredients such as chicken, meat, creole, red and white  potatoes, thick cream, corn, chicken broth, cambray onions, coriander, guasca and capers. It’s served in a deep plate and has a thick consistency, similar to cream soup. Enjoy this typical Colombian dish with a serving of white rice and avocado!

Colombian Dish Bandeja Paisa

If at the end of your tour day you feel hungry after visiting many tourist attractions, a good idea is to try the Bandeja Paisa (paisa platter/tray). This hearty Colombian dish is served on trays, hence its name.

The Bandeja Paisa comes mainly from the region of Antioquia, northwest of the country. It is also known as the location of the city of Medellín. It’s also known as “tray of the muleteer” or “mountain tray”, since it was a perfect, hearty meal for country laborers after a long day of work.

The main ingredients used in this typical Colombian dish are: beans, white rice, ground beef, pork rinds, fried eggs, Antiochian chorizo, arepas, blood sausage, red tomato, avocado, hogao (a type of sauce) and patacon (pieces of green plantain flattened and served in slices).

Typical Colombian Drinks

Colombian gastronomy is not only made of hearty dishes, but also delicious drinks. DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, recommends you some of the most traditional Colombian drinks.


Panela is an ingredient that comes from cane, which is actually not native to the Colombian region. It was introduced in the sixteenth century as a result of the cultural and culinary mixture of European countries which established the main cane crops in warm places.

The first step to prepare panela is to grind it in a mill called trapiche. Then, it is transformed it into hard brown blocks that can be either circular or rectangular. This product is famous in Colombia and commonly consumed by its inhabitants, since it can be used as both a candy and a sweetener.

The way to prepare aguapanela is to boil a piece of it in water until it melts. Then, it acquires a brown color and is  ready to be combined with different ingredients. For example: anise, milk, cinnamon, lemon, among others. Pair this sweet drink with an arepa, a bread or a piece of cheese.


Coffee is one of the main traditional drinks in this country since Colombia is one of the world’s main coffee producers. For this reason, around its capital city, Bogotá, you will find several coffee shops and street vendors that will offer you a diverse range of drinks you can enjoy.

The carajillo is one of these traditional drinks. It consists of a cup of coffee mixed with rum, brandy and Colombian moonshine. This last one is made with distilled cane and anise, and it adds a strong flavor to the drink. That’s why a carajillo is always served in a small glass. This drink is perfect as a digestive, dessert or to to be drunk in the afternoon.

Tips and Fun Facts About Typical Food and Drinks of Colombia

When you travel to Colombia, take this advice into account when visiting restaurants:

  • Remember to leave a tip of 15 to 18%.
  • Visit Popayan, an important culinary destination where they host the National Gastronomical Congress.
  • If you talk to the locals you’ll notice there’s certain rivalry among Colombian cities regarding which region has the best typical food and drinks of Colombia.
  • Corn is one of the main ingredientes in Colombian food and it’s part of its indigenous heritage.
  • Tropical ingredients, such as coconut, are also widely used in Colombian gastronomy.
  • Coffee is not only consumed as a beverage, it’s also used as an ingredient in snacks and desserts.
  • When traveling across this country, enjoy this typical dishes and drinks of Colombia. You will enjoy the surprises they will offer your palate.
  • Enrich your gastronomic experience with a coffee tour or with a cooking lesson in Bogotá.

Now that you know more about the typical food and drinks of Colombia, you must try them on your next trip to this South American country. Enjoy the Colombian gastronomy and don’t forget to follow our advice on Colombian dishes and traditional drinks.