The Colombian breakfast

For many of us, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We may be used to having scrambled eggs, with toast, baked beans, and sausage or maybe we normally have a bowl of muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruit. Whatever your current idea of breakfast is, we’re sure it’s different from the typical breakfast(s) of most Colombians. That’s why we’re going to take the time in this post to talk about a few of the traditional breakfasts you may encounter during your trip to Colombia.

1. Caldo de Costilla (Rib broth)

Caldo de costilla is a traditional Colombian breakfast item, especially in the interior of Colombia in areas such as Bogota, Cundinamarca and Boyaca where the weather is cooler. Caldo de costilla is a broth made from beef ribs. In addition to a rib or two, it is also normally made with white potatoes, cilantro, and onion. If you order this dish in a restaurant, it’s likely to be accompanied by an arepa (a type of thick “tortilla” made from corn). Some people say this is the best breakfast to have when you’ve got a hangover, and some bars even serve caldo de costilla to people as they leave to help them regain strength after heavy drinking.

Caldo de Costilla

Caldo de Costilla

2. Calentao/Calentado

Calentado is a delicious breakfast dish most often found in the Coffee Zone of Colombia (Quindio, Caldas, Risaralda) as well as Antioquia that consists of a mix of rice, red beans, eggs, and plantains accompanied by a white arepa. The name of this dish literally translates to “heated up (leftovers),” and refers to how this dish came about—by heating up yesterday’s leftovers for breakfast. Now, this dish is found on almost any breakfast menu in the previously mentioned Colombian departments as well as on menus in other areas of the country serving up traditional Colombian dishes. This is by no means a light breakfast, so make sure you order it on a completely empty stomach!

Calentao / Calentado

Calentao / Calentado

3. Changua

Changua is a very unique breakfast item in Colombia and is for a very specific palate. Changua is a soup made with milk, eggs, water and scallions. The milk, water, and scallion mixture boils, the eggs are dropped (whole) into the mixture until cooked. Once the eggs are cooked, the soup is served hot with a piece of toast. This dish is most commonly found in Bogota. and the surrounding departments of Cundinamarca and Boyaca. It might not be on all breakfast menus, but you’re sure to find it on a menu at some point. And, be warned, most Bogotanos will say you’ll either love or hate this dish.

Changua

Changua

4. Arepa de huevo

Arepa de huevo is a traditional food from the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Arepa de huevo is a white arepa that is fried with an egg inside it. You can have just an arepa de huevo with coffee or fresh fruit juice, but many Colombians will have it with bollo (a food made from corn meal or yucca meal boiled in plantain leaves) and suero (artisanal sour cream). Others will have it with pieces of butifarra (an artisanal sausage traditionally from Barranquilla and Soledad) and fresh coastal fruits such as pineapple and papaya, and others will order other side dishes to accompany their arepa de huevo. If you’re on the Caribbean coast, you’ll see arepas de huevo not only on restaurant menus, but also being sold by street vendors all over.

Arepa de huevo

Arepa de huevo

Regardless, wherever you are travelling in Colombia, you are sure to find a variety of breakfast dishes. We’ve only mentioned a few in this post, but be adventurous, and don’t just try the ones we’ve mentioned here. We’re sure your taste buds will thank you!

Happy travels!

The Uncover Colombia Team

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8 thoughts on “The Colombian breakfast

  1. Oh what I would give for a steaming hot, creamy Changua right now. Wait, I could just make one.. Thanks for reminding me of this favorite! 🙂
    Oh and Almojabanas! My go-to breakfast in Bogotá!

  2. sorry but, where is breakfast “paisa” ??? cupful of chocolat, arepa of corn, butter and salt on arepa with portion of quesito. Región Antioqueña.

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