The foods eaten by the people of Colombia

The culinary history of Colombia is a rich tapestry that weaves together indigenous traditions, Spanish colonial influence, African heritage, and more recently, international flavors. Over the past 500 years, Colombian cuisine has evolved but continues to rely heavily on local ingredients and traditional cooking methods.


  • Corn: One of the most ancient and essential crops, used to make arepas, empanadas, and tamales.
  • Rice: Usually served as a side dish, often with beans.
  • Potatoes: Native to the Andes and consumed in a variety of ways, including in soups like ajiaco.
  • Cassava (Yuca): Often fried or boiled and served as a side.
  • Plantains: Served in many forms including fried (patacones), boiled, or baked.


  • Fish: Especially prevalent in coastal areas, as well as freshwater varieties in inland regions.
  • Chicken: Prepared in a variety of ways including soups, stews, and grilled dishes.
  • Beef: Common in dishes like bandeja paisa and arepas rellenas.
  • Pork: Used in sausages like chorizo and dishes like lechona.


  • Tomatoes, Onions, and Bell Peppers: The base of many Colombian sauces and stews.
  • Avocado: Commonly served as a side or in salads.
  • Beans: Especially red and black, often served with rice.


  • Bananas and Plantains: Used both in savory and sweet dishes.
  • Mango, Pineapple, and Papaya: Widely consumed, sometimes in fruit salads or juices.
  • Guava: Used in desserts and sweets like bocadillo.


  • Beans: Lentils and chickpeas are also common, often used in soups and stews.

Spices and Condiments:

  • Cilantro and Parsley: Widely used herbs in Colombian cooking.
  • Aji (Hot Sauce): A common condiment made from peppers, cilantro, and lime.
  • Hogao: A tomato and onion sauce used as a base for many dishes.

Traditional Dishes:

  • Ajiaco: A hearty chicken and potato soup, often served with avocado and capers.
  • Bandeja Paisa: A platter that includes beans, rice, plantains, avocado, minced meat, chorizo, and a fried egg.
  • Sancocho: A hearty soup made with meat (often chicken, fish, or beef) and various root vegetables.


  • Coffee: Colombia is famous for its high-quality coffee.
  • Aguardiente: A local anise-flavored liquor.
  • Chicha: A traditional fermented corn drink.
  • Fresh Fruit Juices: Very popular, given the variety of available fruit.

Historical Influences:

  • Spanish Colonization: Introduced cattle, rice, and wheat, and influenced cooking techniques and dishes.
  • African Influence: Especially in the coastal areas, contributing techniques and ingredients like coconut and certain kinds of fish.
  • Indigenous Influence: Corn, potatoes, and native fruits and vegetables have been staples since pre-colonial times.

Modern Influences:

  • Globalization: Urban areas offer international cuisines including Italian, American, and Asian foods.
  • Health Trends: Modern Colombian diets are increasingly incorporating more fruits and vegetables and paying attention to health and nutrition.

Over the last 500 years, Colombian cuisine has evolved to include a diverse range of influences while maintaining its strong roots in native foods and traditions.

Back to blog

For those eating a modern diet, we recommend adding the below vitamins to your daily routine.