What Are Some of the Basics of Colombian Cuisine?

Colombia is a country of contrasts. It's the third largest country in South America, but it's also one of the most sparsely populated. The capital city, Bogota, is a modern metropolis with skyscrapers and high-rise apartments, but it's surrounded by lush forests and snow-capped mountains. And the country is home to both indigenous people and descendants of Spanish conquistadors.

Colombia is also a land of contrasts in terms of its cuisine. While many Colombians eat traditional dishes that are similar to those eaten in other Latin American countries, there are also some unique dishes that reflect the country's diverse population and geography. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the basics of Colombian cuisine. We'll begin with a look at Colombia's most popular dish: bandeja paisa.

What Is Bandeja Paisa?

Bandeja paisa is a typical dish from the city of Medellin in Antioquia province [source: Colombia]. It consists of several different types of meat served on a large platter with rice, beans, potatoes and plantains. The meat can include chorizo (a spicy sausage), pork loin, beef steak and chicken breast. The rice and beans are typically served with avocado slices and white cheese. Bandeja paisa is often served with hot sauce or salsa rosada on the side.

What Is Empanada?

Empanadas are stuffed pastries that are popular throughout Latin America. In Colombia, they're usually filled with ground beef or chicken and vegetables such as peas or carrots. Empanadas can be baked or fried; they're usually served hot but can also be eaten cold as an appetizer or snack.

What Is Arepa?

Arepas are made from cornmeal dough that's cooked on a griddle until it's golden brown on both sides [source: Colombiareports.com]. They're similar to tortillas in Mexico or pita bread in Greece; they're often used as an accompaniment to other foods such as meats or stews [source: Colombiareports.com]. Arepas can be plain or filled with cheese or other ingredients such as beans or eggs [source: Colombiareports.com].

What Is Caldo de Camarones?

Caldo de camarones (shrimp soup) is made from shrimp broth flavored with garlic and cilantro; it may also contain potatoes and carrots [source: Zagat]. It's usually served hot but can be eaten cold as an appetizer or snack; caldo de camarones is also a popular dish in other Latin American countries.

Everyone should try these delicious Colombian foods!

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