Mar 25

Top 5 Colombian Coastal Foods

cazuela de mariscos colombia


I recently spent some time in the tiny Pacific jungle village of San Cipriano in Valle del Cauca; it might not be quite on the coast, but the menus are dominated by Pacific coast seafood, as the closest major settlement is the coastal city of Buenaventura. This got me thinking about Colombian cuisine (which is rarely held up as the world’s best to be fair), and how much incredible, fresh, and unique seafood is available in the only country in South America with both Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. I love fish and seafood more than any other kind, and so here are my Top 5 Colombian coastal foods…buen provecho!

1. Cazuela de Mariscos

This list is in no particular order…but this is totally number 1! This thick, seafood stew is a staple on the coast in both coastal regions of Colombia, and is especially connected with Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta. cazuela I ate in Camarones in La Guajira was among the best meals I have ever eaten, and Anthony Bourdain concurred when he came to visit. It usually contains lobster, shrimp, prawns, squid and white fish….I can’t do it justice, just taste it!


Cazuela de Mariscos
Cazuela de Mariscos


2. Encocado de Muchilla

I just had this dish for the first time in San Cipriano…and, just wow! Muchilla is basically like a giant crayfish/mini-lobster, and the dish I had served a bunch of them whole in a stunning coconutty broth, seasoned liberally with herbs. You pull them out ans crack them open and the meat is just like lobster. At 35.000COP for the dish it’s a little on the pricey side, but worth it for a treat!


Encocado de Muchilla
Encocado de Muchilla


3. Fried fish, cocount rice and patacones

The costeno classic: a local, fresh fish (I like the red snapper), fried up and served with arroz de coco and a few patacones. You find this available in the every coastal restaurant, but it’s best served on the beach – where you can pick your fish from a fresh platter, and have it served on a little beachside table with the Caribbean gently rolling in front of you…paradise!


Fresh Fish Colombia
So…which one looks good to you?!


4. Ceviche

I know, I know, ceviche is Peruvian…but the Colombians have put their own little spin on this classic dish, and essentially turned it into at ’70s shrimp cocktail! It’s fresh prawns/shrimp, served in a ketchup/mayo sauce, seasoned with Tabasco for that extra spice. If that sounds like a perversion of a classic to you then fine, but if you just treat it like a unique dish in itself, it’s deliciousness is hard to argue with! Best tried in Cali and the Pacific region…


Colombian Ceviche
Colombian Ceviche…just kidding, this actually is a shrimp cocktail!


5. Arepa de Huevo

OK, so it’s not fish…sue me! This spin on the arepa can be found all over Colombia, but it’s a costeno invention to begin with. Essentially a great big, greasy, fried arepa with a fried egg cooked inside…it might not be good for you, but damn, it’s good eating!


Arepas de huevo
Arepas de huevo


If you have any other suggestions, or ideas about where to eat great coastal food in Colombia, please get in touch via the comment section…



2 thoughts on “Top 5 Colombian Coastal Foods


    Hey guys, I Wilson I am originally from Colombia (Bogotá), but now I am leaving in States. Here, I can feel that sensation of homesickness when I read articles or whatever about colombian stuff. When I was a child I am just remembering that now, we, my family and I used to eat at Coastal restaurants, the sancocho de pescado, the fish stew Colombian style, which included several roots such as potatoes, cassava, and plantain, and well as the fish. I also remember that fish was or slice of boneless fish or the whole one. It’s the same concept of the chicken sancocho of beef sancocho. It was served with rice and sliced avocado as a sides. I am hungry now, fortunately, my wife and I, are going to go to Colombia after Christmas. Hopefully, we are expecting to enjoy all colombian delicious creole food.

  2. All Graduates | Spanish Translation Service on

    Great food finds in Colombia! You got me at the shrimp cocktail, but they do look delicious, and the sauce looks lethal! Wonder how hot the sauce is. The fish looks deliciously fresh too, and one can only wonder how it tastes like when cooked. Thanks for sharing your food finds in Colombia! Now people will know what to look for when traveling the coast.


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