One thing I absolutely love about Bogotá is the food. From street food on every corner to huge lunch portions, you will never go hungry here. Listed below are twelve must-not-miss foods in Bogotá.
Because Bogotá is Colombia’s capital and largest city you can find variations of many things from all over the country and food is no exception. I have found, for example, that I like certain types of arepas and empanadas and don’t care as much for others. Here I list my twelve favorite foods from Bogotá, in no particular order, because ten just is not enough! Below you will find a description of each item as well as its origin (according to popular belief), main ingredients, and price range in Bogotá. You can find these foods all over the city, but the easiest neighborhoods to find a variety of restaurants and street food are La Candelaria and Chapinero.
Arepas come in many different varieties. They can be eaten with any meal, or as a snack. On the street you can find corn arepas with cheese, arepas rellenas slathered with butter or stuffed with cheese and meat, and more. Many stands offer a choice of sauces to put on top of your arepa. Some even include honey! My favorite is a thick corn arepa with cheese inside and honey on top.
Origin: South American Indigenous Peoples
Main Ingredient: Corn
Price: $1.000-$3.000 COP ($0.35-$1 USD) on the street or $4.000-$7.000 COP ($1.40-$2.50USD) for a package in supermarkets.
An empanada is a fried pastry with a savory filling. Here you will typically find them with chicken or beef and rice, potatoes, or a mixture of the two. Again, you will have a choice of sauces. If you go to a street vendor you will most likely have two to three options. At many shops, they will have several salsas lined up from least to most spicy.
Origin: Empanadas were brought to Spain by Arabian people, and brought to South America by the Spanish.
Main Ingredients: Corn, meat, rice or potato
Price: $1.000-$3.000 COP ($0.35-$1 USD)
Pandebono is a soft, warm bun with melted cheese inside. They make an excellent snack on the go because they are filling and do not need sauce, so they are mess free.
Origin: Cali, Valle de Cauca, Colombia
Main Ingredients: Corn meal, yuca and cheese
Price: $800-$1.500 COP ($0.28-$0.53 USD)
Buñuelos are a perfectly spherical, perfectly browned piece of warm fried bread. They are a good size for a quick snack on the go. They are also very common during Colombian Christmas celebrations, along with natilla, a sweet custard.
Origin: Castile, Spain
Main Ingredient: Flour
Price: $800-$1.500 COP ($0.28-$0.53 USD)
5. Mango with salt, pepper & lime
This is one of my all-time favorite street foods, and I have eaten street food all over the world. A fresh cut mango – green or ripe, your choice – is placed in a cup and drizzled with lime juice, salt, and pepper.
Origin: Unknown – likely Central
or South America
Main Ingredient: Mango
Price: $1.500-$3.500 COP ($0.53-$1.25 USD)
Obleas are another favorite of mine. Two large, thin wafer cookies are sandwiched together with arequipe in the middle. Arequipe is similar to caramel or dulce de leche, but somehow more luscious. Extra additions may include cheese (trust me, it is good!), fruit jam, rainbow sprinkles, and other sweet sauces.
Origin: Europe, possibly Germany, Switzerland or Italy
Main Ingredients: Wafer, arequipe
Price: $1.500-$3.000 COP ($0.53-$1.25 USD)
7. Bandeja Paisa
This is one of the most famous lunch dishes in Colombia. It includes chicharron, beans, rice, a fried egg, chorizo, morcilla, ground beef, plantain, arepa, lime, and avocado. The meats all have plenty of flavor and together with the rest of the plate your taste buds and your stomach will be more than satisfied. The fried plantain brings a hint of sweetness to this savory meal and is great to eat as “dessert” at the end
Origin: Antioquia department, Colombia
Main Ingredients: Meat, beans, rice
Price: $15.000-$30.000 COP ($5-$10 USD)
Ajiaco is a soup made with chicken, three kinds of potatoes, corn, and guascas, a Colombian herb. It is served with heavy cream, capers, rice, and avocado. This rich and creamy soup is one of the most flavorful dishes I have tried in Colombia. It is made with an essential herb called Guascas and along with the cream and capers it really packs a
punch for your tastebuds!
Main Ingredients: Chicken, corn, potatoes
Price: $8.000-$25.000 COP ($2.80-$8.90 USD)
Colombian tamales are like none I have had before. They are wrapped in a banana leaf and once again, each region has its own version. Tamales from Bogotá have a glorious mixture of corn masa, chicken, pork, potatoes, and vegetables.
Origin: Huila and Tolima departments, Colombia
Main Ingredients: Masa, meat, vegetables, potatoes
Price: $6.000-$9.000 COP ($2-$3 USD)
Changua is a milk-based soup that is eaten for breakfast in Bogotá. It is a simple recipe cooked with green onions, eggs, and salt & pepper. Cilantro and bread or crackers are added to the soup at the table. Changua is simple and inexpensive to prepare at home. Learn how to make it in our article How to Make Changua – Bogotá’s Breakfast Soup.
Main Ingredients: Milk, eggs
Price: $8.000-$10.000 COP ($2.80-$3.55 USD)
11. Menú del día
Almost every restaurant has a set “menu del dia” each day. This meal typically includes soup, rice, beans, a choice of meat, vegetables, salad, and fresh juice. What I like about menu del dia is that you will never have the same meal twice. You will have the same basic ingredients, but each restaurant puts a different spin on their daily menu each day. You never know what you are going to get, but it is sure to be delicious!
Main Ingredient: Varies – typically meat, rice, beans, potatoes, and vegetables
Price: $6.000-$15.000 COP ($2-$5 USD)
Bocadillo is a combination of panela and guava pulp and is made into small soft rectangular pieces. It is extremely sweet and therefore is commonly eaten with cheese to tone down the sweetness. This makes a great combination to take hiking for the high energy and protein.
Origin: Vélez, Santander, Colombia
Main Ingredients: Guava pulp, panela
Price: $500-$1.000 COP ($0.17-$0.35 USD)
This is not a comprehensive list, of course. There are endless types of street foods, soups, and fresh fruits. I encourage you to explore the streets of Bogotá on an empty stomach, you won’t regret it! Do you need some ideas to quench your thirst after trying all of these amazing foods? Read our article Top Ten Drinks To Try in Bogotá.
What are your favorite Colombian foods? Tell us in the comments!