Colombia Travel Blog by See Colombia Travel

Food in Colombia: Thoughts on the Colombian Diet

Delicious lunch in Colombia

It’s generally accepted that it’s poor form to generalise, but, sometimes, some unscrupulous bloggers can’t help themselves. Don’t be alarmed, though: if you know me at all by now, you should realise how many scruples I’m the proud owner of, and would never stoop to such crass, unfair, and reductive tricks. So, here I lay down my crass, unfair and reductive generalisations about Colombian food.

Nothing compares to carbohydrates

If somebody doesn’t get an arepa in here, there’ll be tears.

If you sit down to tuck into some hearty Colombian food, replete with rice, potato, and yucca, you might be disappointed by the number of carbohydrates represented on your plate. I mean, where’s the arepa? What I’d like to say in my charming reductionist way is that a Colombian meal will fill you up. If I don’t feel like I’ve stuffed myself stupid, I don’t feel like I’ve really eaten Colombian food.

Ummm… I don´t want to make a fuss, but where are the vegetables?


MISSING: Have you seen these objects?

Am I alone in thinking that vegetables often get a pretty raw deal here in Colombia? I mean, I’m not a tree-hugging hippy or anything, but I feel a little bit funny if there’s not something green on my plate. I sometimes feel a bit funny here in Colombia. Veggies often seem to be viewed with skepticism here.

Fruit often makes an appearance in the main dish


Well met, old foe.

As we keep on trying to remind you, fruit is a different thing here in Colombia: if it’s not a fruit you’ve never seen before, and that doesn´t have an English name, it’s a fruit you thought you knew, but only 100 times more delicious (science, guys). Maybe it’s not that surprising, then, that they turn up everywhere. Not only are most lunches accompanied by a super-fresh, super-delicious fruit juice, but fruit can sometimes sneak onto the plate itself, as if to apologise for the dearth of vegetables. The most common perpetrator is my old, worthy foe, the Plantain (and don’t forget that the avocado is a fruit, too), but you might also find a salad consisting of some perfunctory lettuce, onion, and tomato –  with the surprise inclusion of mango, or indeed strawberry. It’s a unique contrast to the savoury component of your meal, even though it might take a little to get used to.

Lunch is Big


Enough said.

This is something that I never noticed before I got here, but it makes a lot of sense. Why should dinner be the biggest meal of the day? Why not, as in Colombia, make lunch the star of the show? Not only does this give you more energy for the afternoon; but not stuffing yourself stupid at night makes the probability of a Dutch Oven Event significantly lower. Having a big lunch: smart.


There are always exceptions


Santander: An exception all by itself.

I’ll stick to my guns about the above generalisations, but there are variations on the above theme. For example; although you’ll find rice all over Colombia, you’ll find an amazing coconut-flavoured variety on the coast; where you’ll also often find the usual meat exchanged for ridiculously fresh fish. And, in Antioquia, you’ll generally find a hearty serving of beans augmented to the carbohydrate bomb (another reason to make your evening meal smaller). Then, there’s the Santander region. That’s another story all to itself.

Well, what do you think? Have my crass, unfair, and reductive generalisations hit the mark, or do you find them crass, unfair and reductive? Have any other aspects of the Colombian diet caught your attention?

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