Ajiaco Bogotano, a delicious Colombian Soup With Chicken

Colombian food could be rich, colorful and tasty but you sometimes have to make some efforts to get access to it as Colombians can easily fall for the easy fried empanada or the mouthful pastel de pollo from the nearest corner shop.
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As a good French man, I learned that the first secret to creating a good dish is to find the best, freshest ingredients. You will find in Colombia some of the best vegetables, fruits, meats and fishes in the world.

Colombian food is a mix of European cuisine with aspects of African and indigenous cuisine. Colombian dishes are very diverse and vary depending on the different regions of Colombia. They usually include a lot of meatricegreen plantains (a type of banana that isn't so sweet), the very typical arepa (basic side to any Colombian meal, a bread made from cornmeal).

In the coastal areas you will find a good variety of fish, lobster and seafood often prepared with a sauce made out of coconut milk. They offer of fresh fruit is overwhelming and many of the varieties you have probably never heard of before.
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The national dish is the Bandeja Paisa: a huge mixture of food on more of a platter than a plate, it consists of grilled steak, fried pork rind, chorizo sausages, on a bed of rice and red beans that is then topped with a fried egg and a side of sliced avocado and sweet banana (chips), not exactly the lightest dish but good to cure a hangover! :o)

Your typical almuerzo with the famous "Arepa"Sadly, the "quality food" culture is not very well developed to the common people in Colombia. It will be very easy to end up in the wrong place and eat some expensive & fat stuff while you could have been eating a delicious soup, a salad, a fresh fish, a desert & a jugo (fresh fruit juice) for under $10,000COL in a lovely little joint! Lucky you, Off2 is here to find those little gems for you and point you to the right direction.

=> Check Restaurants in Colombia for more information and all the restaurants' sections in our city guides.

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If you're still not hungry after this, I am sure our contributor, Lili Hrabchak, will sharpen your appetite with her amazing view of Colombia through its cuisine: Hiking for Arepas.

=> Please get in touch if you have any recipe or local food that you discovered and would like to share with the Off2 community!
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Did you know?

The Bandeja paisa from Antioquia is the Colombian national dish. Also known as bandeja de arriero, bandeja montañera, or bandeja antioqueña, it includes grilled steak (either ground or whole), chicharrón (fried pork rind), red beans, rice, chorizo, a fried egg, and an arepa. It is usually accompanied by sweet fried plantains and a slice of avocado.

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