Colombian cuisine has a rich history dating back to the indigenous peoples of the country, and today it continues to be a major part of the country's cultural identity. Traditional Colombian foods are a delicious combination of native ingredients and Spanish and African influences, and include dishes like arepas, bandeja paisa, and sancocho.
In recent years, Colombian cuisine has also made its way to the United States, where it is quickly gaining popularity. Today, Colombian restaurants and food trucks can be found in major cities across the country, serving up authentic dishes that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning food critic. There are even Colombian fusion restaurants like Escala K-town in Los Angeles!
As a Colombian food critic, I can tell you that great Colombian food is all about balance. It is about the perfect combination of flavors, textures, and spices that come together to create a truly unique and delicious experience. Here are a few of my favorite traditional Colombian dishes and what makes them truly special:
Arepas: These corn cakes are a staple of Colombian cuisine and are often served as a snack or a meal. Ideally, they should be made with a slightly crispy exterior and a soft and fluffy interior, with a mild and slightly sweet flavor that is balanced by savory fillings like cheese, chicken, or avocado.
Bandeja Paisa: This traditional Colombian dish is a hearty meal that typically includes a variety of ingredients, including beans, rice, meat, plantains, avocado, and a fried egg. The flavors and textures of each ingredient come together in perfect harmony, creating a truly satisfying and filling meal.
Sancocho: This hearty soup is a staple of Colombian cuisine and is made with a variety of ingredients, including root vegetables, chicken or beef, and spices. Ideally, it should be thick and comforting, with a warm and slightly spicy flavor that is balanced by the sweetness of the vegetables and the richness of the meat.
Colombian cuisine is a true celebration of flavors, textures, and cultural heritage. Whether you are dining in Colombia or in the United States, I hope that you will take the time to enjoy and appreciate this delicious and diverse cuisine.