Whenever I travel, one of my favorite things to do is try new and unique food local to the area I am visiting. Colombia has a pretty incredible selection of culinary treasures to be discovered as you travel through this diverse land, and today, I want to tell you about a few dishes I consider very worthy of being tried, should you take the leap and visit Colombia.
1. Mute Santandereano
One of the most typical dishes from the Colombian departments of Santander and Norte Santander is a soup called Mute. Mute is a soup whose base consists of beef, pork, tripe, cow hoof, yellow and/or white maize, and small yellow potatoes. In addition to these savory base and key ingredients, mute also contains a mix of vegetables that may include English peas, green beans, sweet corn, cabbage, carrots, and parsley. It will also likely include some form of what is known as “hogao” in Colombia—hogao is a type of salsa that is made by sautéing very ripe tomatoes, onions, salt and pepper, and sometimes garlic. Mute can be a very filling dish, so make sure you have an empty stomach when you order this delicacy!
2. Red or Golden Snapper with Coconut Rice and Fried Plantains
I know I have mentioned this dish before, but it is one of my favorites, and living on the Caribbean Coast how can I not mention it again?
On most of the Caribbean Coast, you will find coconut rice and fried plantains served with fried Red Snapper; however, the further north you go along the Colombian Caribbean Coast, the more common Golden Snapper becomes—even though it is sometimes more expensive. Regardless, this dish is the iconic dish of the Caribbean Coast. It would be a shame to visit Colombia and not have it at least once. To really make it a dish, order it with a coconut limeade!
Mondongo is another very traditional Colombian soup. Like Mute, Mondongo is a soup that involves tripe. However, in the case of Mondongo, tripe is the star ingredient. The tripe is slow cooked with a host of vegetables including bell peppers, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, garlic, yucca, and celery, among others. Also like Mute, it a is a very filling dish, and it is normally served with a portion of white rice and a slice of ripe avocado.
4. Sancocho Valluno
Another extremely traditional soup in Colombia is what is known as Sancocho Valluno. Sancocho Valluno is a typical soup from the Colombian department of Valle del Cauca. It is made with chicken, pork, white potatoes, yucca, green plantains, cilantro, spring onions, and sometimes chopped ox tail. While traditionally found in Valle del Cauca, you can find it sold in other Colombian departments as well, especially in the interior departments of Colombia. Like Mondongo, Sancocho Valluno is traditionally served with a portion of white rice and a slice of ripe avocado.
5. Posta Cartagenera
Posta Cartagenera, as its name implies, is a dish made famous in the Caribbean city of Cartagena. It is made with a special cut of beef from the cap muscle at the top sirloin; in Spanish it is known as “punta gorda.” This cut of beef is left to marinate with bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar and pepper before being bathed in a very flavorful soft drink called Kola Roman or red wine with unrefined cane sugar, and it is then cooked slowly over low heat on the stove top for several hours until the meat is tender, caramelized, and well cooked. Once cooked, the meat is sliced and served over white rice with potatoes.
Paige M Poole,
About the author:
“Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie. You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog www.trotamunda.wordpress.com
- Regional Foods in Colombia (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Street Food in Colombia: Part I (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Street Food in Colombia Part II (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Popular Colombian Snacks (www.uncovercolombia.com)