Sep 18

Greatest Colombian Food Rivalries of All Time


One of the conversations you´ll almost definitely have with a Colombian involves Colombian food. Well, today we´re going to get right down to basics. It´s time for the gloves to come off, the guantlet to be dropped, and the clichés to be swung in the breeze. No messing about. The greatest Colombian foods of all time are just about to go head to head in a battle to the death. Here, we get our expert crew of judges (with cameo judging decisions from our beloved Paul Fowler) to put their delicious snacks where their mouths are, and decide once and for all which foods reign supreme in Colombia. Strap your skates on, things are about to get…




Round 1: Todo Ricos vs. De Toditos.


De Toditos, those brilliant, versatile, all-in-one bags of goodies, featuring all kinds of crazy salty snacks in the same bag, have already been road-tested here at SCT Towers. However, it´s time to give them the ultimate challenge by pitting them against their worthy rival, Todo Ricos. This promises to be a battle of epic proportions.


de todito todo rico


And the winner is: 

Todo Ricos: 3-2. It was a terse, well-fought battle, but, in the end, Todos Ricos won the decision on points. Well played, Todos, well played.


Azzam sums it up best: “It’s all in the name really. Todos. Ricos.”


Round 2: Ajiaco vs. Sancocho.


Undeniably, in this country bursting at the seams with absolutely delicious soups, ajiaco and sancocho rule the roost. In our profiles here, the hearty, smooth chicken-and-corn warmer comes before the flavour explosion that is sancocho. It´s time to find out if this is truly justified, or merely Bogotá arrogance. This ought to be one for the history books.


ajiaco sancocho


And the winner is:

Ajiaco: 4-1 This result came as a shock to some. In a stunning performance, the Bogotá champion knocked the fancied challenger out in the second round.

Carolina was heartily pleased with the result for nostalgic reasons: “I’m a proud Bogotana. Besides, my auntie has made me love it. It goes very well with avocado.”


Round 3: Wok vs. Crepes and Waffles.


These two wildly popular Colombian food chains are so crowd-pleasing for extremely good reasons. First up, they both deliver ridiculously good, world-class food. Both also are very socially committed, with Wok intent on providing food sourced from battling small farmers (I mean their farms are small, not their stature: they´re generally of standard height) of Colombia; and Wok solely employing single mothers. This is certainly a battle that will tug at the heart strings of all food lovers.


wok crepes


And the winner is:

Wok: 2.5 – 1.5. This one was a heart-wrenching decision, and Carolina, in the end, couldn´t make her mind up. Wok just squeezes out Crepes in the Bogotá derby.

Gilesy stands by his¨decision in favour of the eventual winner : “Tough call, but for flavour, variety, and service, Wok wins out for me here.”


Round 4: Passionfruit vs. Grenadilla.


It´s time the embarrassing riches of the Colombian fruit world put on a fight. Here, two members of the same family stoush it out. You may think you know passionfruit from back home, but it´s definitely a different kettle of seeds here in Colombia. Like any comparison between fruits here and fruits in your country, the Colombian variety is always at least ten times (don´t argue with science) more delicious. Grenadilla is less tart than its cousin, but delicious nonetheless, with amazingly crunchy seeds. We predict that this one will be hard to call.


passionfruit grenadilla


And the winner is: 

A tie: 2-2. Round after round, there was no way to split these two worthy adversaries. The real winner here, I think, is fruit.

A resolute passionfruit fan from way back, Azzam was at a loss over the result: “As an Arab, I am very passionate. This is my fruit.”


Round 5: Nectar vs. Antioqueño.


Aguardiente is a completely inexplicable phenomenon. Why would one nation be so passionate about such a horrible drink? OK, I´ll have another shot. Here, the two most famous brands of this terrible alcohol finally nail down a shot at the title.



antioqueno nectar


And the winner is:

A tie: 1-1. This heavy-weight battle proved too tough to call. A little reminiscent of some UN decisions, it was deemed a tie with two abstentions, Lydia and Carolina detesting both sides.


Azzam stands by his guns in going for the rolo option: “Hands down. In the past I have incurred the wrath of many an angry paisa. I know it is supposed to be the ‘better’ guaro (as far as that phrase means anything) but Nectar just goes down more smoothly ie is less likely to make me throw up on the spot.”


Round 6: Juan Valdez vs. Oma.


You should´ve expected coffee to make at least one appearance in this Colombian list. Coffee chains, particularly the two biggest ones, are surprisingly good here. They may look a bit like Starbucks, but the difference is that they actually serve good coffee. All that remains now is to see if Oma, the Pepsi of Colombian coffee chains, has what it takes to mix it with the champion, Juan Valdez. This isn´t going to be pretty.


juan valdez oma


And the winner is:

Juan Valdez: 4-0. The undisputed champion continues to destroy everything in its path. Oma went home crying for its mama.

Gilesy, however, had some kind words for the vanquished: “I think Oma baristas are generally more skillful, and that Oma´s food is way ahead, but the beans are superior at JV, and the wifi is way better.”


Round 7: Arepa ´e Huevo vs. Arepa Boyacense.


We love debating arepas here in at SCT Towers. Some of us actually get in a bit of trouble (particularly when there are certain paisas around) by saying that we don´t actually understand what all the fuss is about. However, there are two manifestations of that little disc of cornbread that never fail to get the saliva flowing: the fatty, eggy delight of Arepa ´e Huevo from the coast, and the sweet, fluffy, cheesy bliss of its distant cousin from out Villa de Leyva way. Personally, I´d think this one would be tough to call.


arepa huevo boyacense


And the winner is:

Arepa ´e Huevo: 3-0. Controversy ran rife in this title fight, with the costeño champion rollicking it in. To add insult to the Boyaca injury, judge Carolina went for the arepa paisa instead of either of the challengers.

Gilesy waxed philosophical in his judgement statement: “Not really a true dichotomy, as I think a ridiculously good and fattening meal would be an arepa ´e huevo from Cartagena followed by an arepa from a roadside restaurant on the way to Villa de Leyva, but for pure indulgence, arepa ´e huevo is hard to beat.”


Round 8: Chocoramo vs. Gansito.


Two sweet, chocolate-wrapped parcels of deliciousness available pretty much anywhere. It´s time these good-natured snacks were pitted against each other, to see who deserves the title of Chocolatey Cakey Snacky Championy.


chocoramo gansito


And the winner is: 

A tie: 22. Another one impossible to call. It was a game of two halves.

Agony in both camps:

Azzam is outraged on behalf of Chocoramo“No question. The delightful way that the succulent chocolate envelopes the crumbly sponge has me in fits of joy every bite.”

Carolina on the reaction from Gansito: “Not only is there chocolate but jam and cream, I’m so into sweet flavors.”


Round 9: Street Hamburgers vs. Street Hotdogs.


I was personally blown away by how ubiquitous hamburger and hotdog stands are here in Colombia. I was also blown away about how disgustingly good they are. It´s time to make a tough decision, though. Which one wins the ultimate after-midnight street fight? Things are about to get messy.


hamburger hotdog


And the winner is:

Hotdogs: 3-1. In this gritty, late-night street fight, the dog just proved too strong.

Lydia sums up the consensus: “I’m not really keen on street food, but when I’m too hungry, more particularly after a party, I don’t mind!”


Round 10: BBC vs. Tres Cordilleras.


We´d personally say that BBC is the king of craft beer here in Bogotá, while Tres Cordilleras holds the crown in Medellín. OK, it´s time to pit paisa against rolo once again. Who has the most delicious beer in Colombia?


bbc tres cordilleras


And the winner is: 

BBC: 4-0. With BBC having the home advantage, it was always going to be hard for the visitor to come away with the points; but I don´t think anyone expected this bloodbath.


Azzam sheds some insight into the result: “Both are fantastic breweries that make delicious beer, so my decision is solely based on being a proud adopted rolo.”


Round 11: Poker vs. Aguila.

Both made by the beer giant, Bavaria, we sometimes get the sneaky suspicion that they´re both the same beer, just with a different label on the bottle. Thus, the passionate loyalty shown to one or the other of these enormously popular, easy-drinking lagers, can lead to a slight feeling of bafflement. Who, apart from Bavaria, is the winner here?


poker aguila


And the winner is:

Poker: 2-1. This proved to be a washout of a game, as all judges voiced their lack of enthusiasm over the contest. Lydia went so far as not even bothering to choose, stating that they were “more or less the same.”

Azzam came up with an intriguing analogy: “it’s like choosing between Manantial and Cristal water.”


There you have it, all those great Colombian Food Rivalries settled, for now. However, if you think these weren´t fair fights, or disagree with the ultimate, scientific decision. please let us know below. Given the deliciousness of these battles, we´d always be ready for a rematch.

3 thoughts on “Greatest Colombian Food Rivalries of All Time

  1. Rafael on

    Great article!!! I’m surprised (in a positive way) by how much you guys know about Colombian culture. Some very tough calls there.I gotta admit I dont care much for Aguardiente, either… I never understood it. Anyways, great job!


      Azzam on

      Thanks Rafael! What can we say? We love Colombian culture!


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