Colombian Food: Worst of the Worst

This is a critical article about Colombian food. To see a positive article about the Colombian dishes I miss, see 10 Things to Eat in Bogota.

I didn’t understand what “bad food” meant until I moved to Colombia. Bad food doesn’t mean unpleasant flavors. It means NO flavor. It means flavorless food at every meal, meal after meal, day after day. It means meals aren’t a part of the day to look forward to.

This is something that Colombians are becoming increasingly aware (and sensitive) about in regards to their country. I’m not the only guy saying it. All the expats in Colombia gripe about it when they get together. It’s unanimous.

Below are the main reasons why eating in Colombia every day is No Fun.


acpm colombia Photo credit: MasterChef Colombia

Above is a version of ACPM, the most typical meal in Colombia, except the beef would neither be that thick nor so free of fat and gristle … that was the MasterChef’s touch. I also had to Photoshop out (actually I use Paint) a little ramekin of sauce he had on the plate. You’d never get that with your ACPM in Colombia, it’s FAKE NEWS!

ACPM is what Colombians say to describe what they want in a plate: arroz, carne, papa, maduro – rice, meat, potato, fried plantain. The rice is white, cooked without garlic. The meat is bare, maybe a little salt. The potato is unpeeled and dusted with salt. The plantain is fried. It’s a utilitarian plate, and with a little variation this is what you eat in Colombia every day (mix and match arepas, yuca and patacones for the potatoes and banana, but always white, garlic-free rice).

This is what makes eating in Colombia so bad — the monotony instead of variety and lack of flavor in the few items you eat every day. That’s why everybody drools over the juices in Colombia. The juices are the same throughout the continent, but in Colombia the juice was the best part of the meal!

After eating ACPM every day, I started thinking about why I was suffering. Why is Colombian food so bad? What could make it better? I came to experiment in my own cooking more than ever before. In the end, I realized that I have to THANK Colombia for teaching me to learn and love food … by taking good food away.

I had lived in the United States and Peru, where there is more variety and flavor than you can handle. You can eat good food every day without really trying. You take it for granted.

But in Colombia, I had to focus. Strategize. Learn. In hindsight I ought to thank Colombia. I owe Colombia for starting the process of my becoming a foodie, which was borne out of necessity given the lack of good food there.


arepa colombia

See my article on the most frequently suffered Colombian staple, the arepa.

The most damning case is made by the arepa experience an American expat told me. He went out of town. The day of his flight, he and his girlfriend were running late. They didn’t have time to eat the meals their empleada prepared for them. They left them on the kitchen table as they ran out the door to catch their flight. When they returned a week later, they found that ants had eaten every morsel of food on each plate – except the arepas. In fact, the arepas were completely intact. Two whole arepas remained, and nothing else.

After hearing this story I extended the logic to gringo expats and tourists in Bogota with a riddle. If you threw this arepa out in the street (instead of the trash as you usually would), who would eat it first? Let them guess a few times.

Dogs won’t eat them (I’ve tried). Ants won’t either, according to the anecdote. I doubt a horse would, but horses don’t pass very frequently (but they do).

Answer: a HUMAN. One of the thousands of bazuceros / indigentes / vagrants that prowl the streets would be the first (and only) living thing to eat your discarded arepa.


patacon colombia

While I don’t like the other items on this list, I can at least finish them if I try. Patacones, on the other hand, are often so dry, hard, and flavorless that I can’t get them down even if I want to. Colombians lay a little salt on them, but that’s not enough for me. I’ve tried lime juice to no avail. Avocado / guacamole are the best bet. Better to just leave the patacon alone.

Here’s my true story to illustrate how awful patacones are. When entertaining tourists in Bogota, I’ll always bring them to one of the black folks’ fish houses (“pescado pacifico” in Spanish). While the standard black folks’ fish plate is one of the best things to eat in Colombia, it will unfortunately come with a patacon disk.

When the gringo tourist tried to eat the patacon, I tell him it’s not supposed to be eaten. Its purpose is for safety. In case a fish bone gets lodged in your throat and you begin to choke, you’re supposed to bite off a piece of patacon and chew, which in turn will cause a gag reflex and you’ll cough up the fish bone. They serve it with every plate out of part safety, part superstition.

Do you live in Colombia? When you bring tourists to eat fish, tell them this with a straight face. You’ll be amazed at the number of people who believe you. And even if they don’t, they won’t eat the patacon.



Panela is evaporated sugar cane “juice” sold in brick form by the penny. Two bits buys ten pounds.

“Brick” isn’t an exaggeration. You can’t cut panela with a knife. Colombians use a special rod or the blunt side of a big knife to hit the panela brick until it cracks. You break off smaller rocks of condensed sugar solids that are sticky in your hands. It needs to be melted down, usually done in water/juice (agua de panela), the milk of arroz con leche, or directly in the mouth. It’s common to eat panela in cube form, as if a large, condensed sugar cube.

The toxicity of sugar aside, panela wouldn’t bother me so much if people didn’t make the claim that it’s healthy. Not only Colombians, I’ve heard gringos claim that it’s “natural” and has vitamins. I’m going to set the record straight for you . Remember this forever:

Panela is to sugar cane as corn syrup is to corn.

Easy to remember, and it will help you look past the pretty name. Before you make a health claim about panela, first test the statement by substituting the words, “high fructose corn syrup.” For example, if you wouldn’t say “high fructose corn syrup has essential vitamins and minerals” or “high fructose corn syrup is good for you because it’s natural,” then don’t say it about panela.

One thing they say which is true and passes the corn syrup test: panela is good for energy. As is honey, molasses, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, Snickers bars, etc.

Buñuelos and Pandebono

colombian bunuelos

There are many interesting customs for breakfast in Colombia. Hot chocolate with cheese in it is great in my opinion.

But these flavorless balls of bread with the texture of play-dough are not great. Buñuelos are fried; pandebono baked. Both are always light on cheese, heavy on starch, void of flavor. The best description is maybe a glazed donut with no glaze, no sugar. Just plain.

I’ve seen groups of Colombians — professionals in a corporate headquarters up north — get all excited when a box of these got brought in. They were rubbing their hands together in anticipation of eating the plain donut balls. ¡NO GRACIAS!


tamal colombiano

Tamales are often held up as an example of delicious Colombian cuisine. I would only suffer my way through one if I was flat broke. Tamales are great if you need to fill your belly for 4000 pesos. Or maybe with several years in Colombia and your taste buds have come to resist bold flavors.

Peruvian and Mexican tamales are better because neither uses rice. No extra filler crap. But given how utilitarian Colombians are in the kitchen, they use rice.

The Tolimense tamales that have beef or pork inside are actually not bad — almost “good.” But most Colombian tamales you eat will have a chicken thigh inside a mold of rice and cornmeal. Minimal cost, minimum flavor, miserable living.

Colombian Soups

rice soup

Colombians are proud of their soups, which I can only explain by thinking most have never left Colombia. Whenever you’ve cornered them about how there is so much flavorless foods and the few good items aren’t really that good, they’ll throw out their soups.

And I assume they’ve never been outside Colombia, never tasted chili, gumbo, clam chowder, beer cheese coup, French onion soup, minestrone, or the Arequipan heavyweights, chupe de camarones and adobo.

Colombians can be proud of Ajiaco and Sancocho in my opinion. I liked Ajiaco when it was cold and rainy in Bogota, but it’s not good enough to make the menus of the hip “Nuevo Latino” restaurants in the States.

And my Peruvian wife actually spit out the Sancocho I prepared one night when she tasted the banana. Then she called her mother to tell her that I had made a soup with banana in it! She added that this soup was from Colombia, which most Latin American women equate with cocaine and hookers. They wonder if there is something wrong with me. Does it mean I’m going to leave her for Colombia? Then they hang up and the mother calls her sisters to tell them that I made soup with banana in it. I really don’t think it’s that bad.

I know many gringo expats disagree, but I think Colombian changua is interesting. And Caldo de Costilla, yeah sure because there’s nothing else with protein for breakfast worth eating, you know?

Unfortunately Ajiaco, Sancocho, Changua and Caldo combined don’t make Colombia’s soups as a whole “good.” They are OK before being dragged down by the much more common soups you get with your daily lunch.

For this the Colombians go really bland, with stuff like sopa de arroz. You read that correctly: RICE SOUP. Pictured above but imagine it without the cilantro leaf or any morsel of chicken. Others include PASTA SOUP, but the worst is PLANTAIN SOUP. It’s not bad because it has banana in it, it doesn’t. It has some kind of green leaves, which I assume are plantain tree leaves.

So when you consider them all, Colombian soups are not average. They FAIL.

Colombian Ceviche

san andres colombia ceviche camaron shrimp 2

Peruvian ceviche is my favorite plate in the entire world. Better than anything American, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Arequipan – anything.

Colombian ceviche is shrimp in ketchup with lime and onion, served with saltine crackers. What you see above is served with saltines. Shrimp. Ketchup. Lime. Onion. Crackers. ¿Donde es el restaurante peruano, por favor?

Colombian Hot Dogs

Photo Credit: Don't Give Papaya
Photo Credit: Don’t Give Papaya

The Colombian hot dog is the worst imitation of American cuisine I’ve seen in all the world. The problem is there’s about 1/8 pound hot dog which would never be all beef. It’s put in a one-pound hot dog bun and topped with another pound of sauces: ketchup, mustard, mayo, “rosado” (ketchup mixed with mayo), pineapple sauce, fried onion crisps. In this image it’s topped with a quail egg, which is actually an improvement.

The result is a hint of hot dog with a couple pounds of bread and condiments. This wouldn’t bother you much if it were like the hard-to-find Colombian ceviche — see no evil, taste no evil. But the Colombian hot dog comprises 90% of what’s available late night. Every gringo rumbero in Colombia has suffered one of these.

Colombian Ketchup


You’re thinking, “Come on, Colin, you’re going to criticize the ketchup?” Yes, I have to, it’s indicative! It shows you what you’re dealing with here!

In most of Latin America, “ketchup” is translated to “ketchup” in Spanish. In Colombia, however, they ironically use “salsa de tomate.” It’s ironic because in most Colombian eateries, what is presented as ketchup and even served in a red bottle contains no tomato. It’s red, it’s the texture of ketchup, and it’s a little sweet … but no tomato whatsoever. You have to taste it to understand.

In Cartagena all the ceviche vendors had their ketchup bottles prominently displayed. I realized the idea was to show off their name-brand ketchup – Fruco, San Jorge, Pampero – these guys are showing off their authentic ketchup bonafides as opposed to the false ketchup commonly found in Colombia.

I didn’t know which is worse, that Colombian ceviche uses ketchup or that they proudly display their brand-name ketchup to show off that it’s not fake ketchup.

The fake ketchup industry in Colombia – that’s an investigative article I’d like to read. But before we get ahead of ourselves, what kind of country would have a fake ketchup industry? What is so fucking expensive about ketchup that you have to falsify it? And ketchup is not that great to begin with — only for burgers, dogs and fries — so any false ketchup would taste so bad that nobody would eat it, right?


Because Colombian food sucks …

… and Colombians don’t seem to mind.

Good Colombian Food?

Again, this is a critical article about Colombian food. To see a positive article about the Colombian dishes I miss, see 10 Things to Eat in Bogota.

Before you leave a comment telling me why I’m wrong, please read through some of the comments. You may be surprised how many foreigners in Colombia agree with me, which is why this is the most popular article on this blog.


  1. Omg I’m in Colombia right now and I was googling about Colombia food cuz I’m having a hard time with food .
    I thought I was too pick , but I found your blogger and I couldn’t agree more .
    I tried several meal here different restaurants, I even tried to cook but the food doesn’t have any flavor …
    They eat banana soup 😦


    1. Funny i live in the usa ,eat food from all over the world and i find it to be kore flavorful.

      Maybe you are in the wring reagion bevause i find the food to be bland in comparison to colombian food


    2. Lmao so true Columbia food is vomit and most of the girls are hookers can’t tell anyone who has lived there otherwise the girls are really soulless they treat men like a dime a dozen the more they have the more money


  2. WHAT??? I can not believe I ran into THIS CRAP… LOL! you are super ignorant. This is not a “critical” article. Please review the critical writing and thinking definition. Based on our article, YOUR OPINIONS which often stated as facts, I really do not understand what are you doing in my country. I believe you should go back to where ever your close-minded/uneducated-self came from.


    1. Why are you so upset over someone’s comments about Colombian food? Why should they have to leave your country because they disagree with you? Is this how Colombians think? Are Colombians this sensitive and intolerant of other opinions that don’t jive with theirs? Wow. What a sad place it is indeed. Pobrecito usted.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As a Colombian i find this article very interesting. My dad is from Tolima where tamales are originally from. The problem is not the colimbian food itself is the fakeness or the adjustments and the unnecessary changes people do it to please people from Bogota. The tamales in Bogota and other foodds are changed to please the rolos. I would advise to travel more to more authentic parts in Bogota. The sancoch always has plantain and not banana. Sometimes people use green bananas. As a colombian i am not offended by this article. I will be more concern about your peruvian wife spitting on food since I consoder food as sacred Colin.


    2. Lol this is, sadly, the most common thing Colombians say when a foreigner doesnt praise the food and other things about Colombia “get out of my country”…. Lol, you shine the light bright about how intolerante and moronic most Colombians are.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. He is not wrong Colombian food is some of the worst. He is wrong about bounuellos there amazing. If your insulted it’s because you are not traveled enough. Never seen an American grocery store.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. This is
      About as objectively true as possible when it comes to food. Colombian food sucks. It’s been making me feel like shit and giving me appendicitis for almost a month.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Ive been to almost 40 countries. Im living in medellin for two months. I agree with this article soooo very much. The best meal ive had has been tacos at a restaurant owned by a man from
      Mexico city.


  3. You must have no money and eat in cheap bad places. Your review is totally off and based on very little knowledge and real experience eating the exquisite Colombian cuisine.


    1. You must be referring to the other non-traditional restaurants here. Listen, vivía aquí bastantes años que he visto el plato típico de Colombia y no es sabroso. Usted está pensando en los platos estadounidenses jóven. Grcs por su comentario.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. usted ni puede hablar español… hagame el favor y aprende el idioma antes de echar criticas a toda la cocina de un pais!!


  4. Nine years in Colombia and the food is so bland-tasteless. There is little to no flavour in the food ingested here. Locals think it’s great, but every foreigner can barely stomach it. Nice people, just really bad food.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s funny, I stumbled on this article while looking for the worst food in Montreal. As a Colombian that lived many years in France and Canada, I’m surprised that someone that lived 3 years in that country couldn’t find a good place for cheesy stuffed Arepas, or that didn’t find the “right” way to eat a Panela. It’s like saying that I never enjoyed a Poutine, even if it’s disgusting from a first (french?) sight, or because I had a over salty bouillabaisses in the south of France many times, it is then a bad dish. It’s true that Colombian food might seem boring, bland and without a lot of variety; I definitely don’t like many things, the amount fat and starch is astonishing, I know a place that is literally called “El palacio del colesterol”. and still the best cazuela de mariscos I had was in Colombia, I’ve tasted amazing sancochos in some places that could beat many soups in the world that I have tasted. I guess it’s a matter of perspective and exploration (as you point in your other post). P.S. Who puts banana in a sancocho!! Platano yes but banana??


  6. I was eating a tamal and had to search for “why does Colombian food suck” and I stumbled upon this.

    I’ve travelled to over 30 countries been to over 200 villages, towns, cities or more.
    And Colombian food is hands down the worst I’ve eaten.
    My wife is Colombian and she loved her food until I cooked my English staples.
    One thing that Colombians do not understand is spice or seasoning.
    When we come over to visit her family I have to bring spices and cook for everybody….
    Don’t believe me come to Bogotá.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the same problem…I was so excited to explore Colombia because I’ve always eaten amazing food in Mexico and even Peru and Costa Rica but i couldn’t believe the lack of flavor and seasoning in Colombian food. I asked all my Colombian friends and Every…Single…One said “oh but you need to try my moms cook”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Omg, yes! When I found out I was coming here, the one thing I was most excited about was the food. Americans on the west coast seem to have a love affair with Mexican food, and I am no exception to that rule. I also am a huge fan of pupusas, (Salvadorian,) Brazilian steakhouses, and Peruvian ceviche; and I have heard that Argentinian food is pretty decent too. Then I got here, and I was just about as disappointed as can be. This is even more awful when you consider that I was in the military for ten years, and I do not consider myself to be much of a food snob.

      Colombians cannot even succeed with tamales. How do you screw up a tamale? You do by just not caring about flavor at all, that is how.

      Omg, your sarcastic description of ceviche could not be more correct, lol! It is so disgusting that I have no words. I had to find a Venezuelan chef who makes Peruvian ceviche in order to get my ceviche fix. Peruvian ceviche is a little different from what I am accustomed to, but it is still decent.

      The one thing that is not completely terrible is (some of) their desserts. I discovered that I am a huge fan of tres leches since coming here. I had heard of it in the US, but never found the courage to try it; and now I kinda wish that I had.

      Like you, I also improved my cooking abilities once I came here, because the food was so awful. The funny thing is that every Colombian says, “Oh, just wait, I will show you a really great place”, or, “Just wait until you taste my mom’s/aunt’s/grandmother’s cooking”; and yes, it is just awful as everything else. Like, WTF, Colombia???

      Place of residence: Bucaramanga.


  7. Colombian food is the BLANDEST I have ever tried.

    At first, it’s kind of funny to have your stomach full for a few bucks. But after monthes living there, you just need to have real food.

    The worst is that they really think their food is tasty. I try to explain it to them. But they would not understand.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. your taste gland are broken you softie american piece of shit, DIE IN A FIRE colombian food is execptionall how dare you call area tasteless its probably tasteless to you because youve had so much of that bread that gave you diabetes that now everything that doesnt have more than 4000 grams of sugar is tastless to your sorry ass


    1. Its shit, my wife is colombian and used to it. Now when we go to somewhere with interesting food like jspan or peru or mexico or europe it blows her mind.
      Fish: deep fried whole, full of bones and all you taste is oil.
      Arepas con queso. Bland because queso costeño has no flavour. When made with no cheese its even worse, like eating a piece of masonite.
      Plátanos: bland, full of oil, no taste.
      Talames: absolutely shit. No flavour.
      Sopas: watery shit.
      Coffee: some of the best in the world that they ruin because they don’t know how to prepare it.
      Sancocho: maybe ok if you were living in the middle ages.
      The problem with colombian food is they dont use spices. It just blows my mind.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Ive been to almost 40 countries. Im living in medellin for two months. I agree with this article soooo very much. The best meal ive had has been tacos at a restaurant owned by a man from
      Mexico city.


      1. I agree Jen. Mexico City has the best food in the world. Colombians cry in horror at the fact that they are inferior in regards to the cuisine of the all great Mexico City. I’ve had thousands of Colombians get on their knees and beg me to “teach them the ways” of the superior Mexico City food. Silly Colombians, they are! They will never enjoy good food like we do in Mexico City. They eat the food of the pobres but we eat the food of the reyes. Let them suffer with their patacones and pandebono. We got chiles en nogada and tacos de barbacoa (and carne en su jugo, huarache, gorditas, mole, alambre, tostadas, volcanes and MUCHO MAS WEY).



  9. Thanks for this!
    Been in Medellin for a week and am just overwhelmed by how hard it is to find decent food. I’ve traveled a good amount, and it’s the shittiest cuisine I can remember (lovely city though).

    Also, great writing on this site. Enjoyed the political takes, even the ones I wasn’t totally on board with.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “I had lived in the United States and Peru, where there is more variety and flavor than you can handle.”
    LOL there’s NO WAY you think US food is good. I admit we are not great at the kitchen… but hey, not everything has to have a bunch of sugar so you can think it’s good. I really think that you ate for so little money. Although some of the things you say are true, I don’t think that you explored a lot or at least went far from Bogotá, shame. This is not Peru where you can find awesome things for less in every corner… and I’m pretty sure nor EU or UK is the same. But man, please don’t be so cheap and at least try to go to a good place. You cannot eat manjares at the street or lame restaurants. BTW, we don’t eat panela as a candy, we make desserts and different dishes with that. It’s an INGREDIENT… LOL.
    Oh man, detinitivamente gringos are gonna gring.


  11. I agree with this sentiment to a certain extent….. Yes many Platos tipicos can be bland if you are comparing it to the insatiable heat seeking thrills of Mexican cuisine or mint heavy dishes of Peru, but I genuinely think you haven’t explored enough of my country to truly realize that there is a lot of gastronomical uniqueness and awesomeness but it unfortunately hasn’t been branded or named in the same way that Peruvians do with their dishes. For instance when you mention arepas like sure an arepa can be plain but so can a pancake with no syrup or fruit or whipped cream or whatever you like on it. I’m truly surprised you were incapable of finding a good arepa restaurant where you can order anything from delicious ceviche (free of ketchup) to carne desmechada which is like pulled stringed steak strips with heavy onion, garlic, red pepper, and tomato. Same with Patacones yeah a patacon or toston can be plain, but again did you not find any places that serve the patacon with delicious toppings such as chicharron, camarones, carne asada…..? Its simply a base to get other awesome ingredients on it. Your opinion on bunuelos and pandebonos is actually really surprising considering anytime I put American friends onto a properly made one they love it. They aren’t supposed to be light on cheese I mean they are literally deep fried balls of harina con queso, and the only way to truly enjoy them is fresh or if reheated they have to be reheated in an oven. Pandequesos are fire my guy the yucca dough is special, and definitely not comparable to a doughnut or bagel which literally needs the sugar to make it rock. Tamales also vary GREATLY depending on the region, and in general all of Colombian cuisine varies greatly on the region. You are definitely more than allowed to have your opinion, but I truly don’t think you immersed yourself In Colombian food like you are claiming, it sounds like to me you went to some neighborhood restaurants around Medellin and Bogota and ordered the same dishes. You are failing to mention staples that rock socks such as Arroz Con Pollo, Pescado Frito like they do in the Coastal parts of the country and really no mention of any seafood other than cheap street ceviche with ketchup? No mention of the delicious skewered meats and all the awesome cheap cuts you can get grilled to perfection for little money? Chusos are a way of life bro, apparently you just didn’t get the memo? Again I really do respect your opinion, and I would agree some Colombian food can be bland, but no mention of an actual bandeja paisa that if ate right you dip your white rice in the frijoles you get little pieces of the chicharron and dunk them in that thang. IDK man Im a little offended you are trying to write off the whole country as if Tolima and Monteira eat the same things or as if Boyaca and Barranquilla eat the same……… If you think I’m all cap and just trying to defend my country (which I can’t lie I partially feel a certain social responsibility just because people have loved to shit on Colombia for many years and stereotype us as being nothing but Narcos, Druggies, hookers, and plastic surgery bimbos, Check out this really well done piece by Vice talking about a dope ass girl taking some of the more unknown, underrated, and less discussed culinary techniques and recipes that just simply are being ignored here and I refused to accept a gringos opinion on my country as being the final say so.


    1. Francisco, thanks for your comment. Please see this article, 10 Things to Eat in Bogota, which lists the good stuff with pics.

      I lived in Colombia for three years. I wasn’t a tourist. I ate at restaurants of every socioeconomic level representing most regions. Certainly not all of them, but I got to know the food very well. I know what the gomelos eat (mostly American food).

      Go through all the comments on this post and you’ll see this is a near unanimous opinion among gringo residents. It’s not that everything sucks, and of course you can get through a short visit eating well. But living in Colombia, eating is not a pleasurable break from the daily grind.

      Finally, judging from your excellent English you may be from Colombia but you definitely live in the United States. If you have done more than fairly short visits, you would know that what is shown in those images from Brooklyn is not authentic Colombian food. Every cuisine has to adapt a little for the market it sells in, but Colombian food has to be completely overhauled. Nothing in that video can be found in Colombia, unless maybe at one or two gourmet restaurants in the Zona G that do a good amount of tourist business. It’s not traditional. It’s not what Colombians eat in country.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’ve been to Colombia multiple times and I’m not gonna lie, the food is pretty bad… The sad part is that they think the food is good but it’s not. The tamales I had there were a disappointment (tamales aren’t even Colombian, they’re originally from Mexico and it should stay like that).

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Also how are you not going to talk about Empanadas? I know damn near every Latin American country has a variation of it, but Colombian empanadas are definitely top tier… Crazy you didn’t find a proper Sancocho de Costilla or Sancocho de cola which is an incredible oxtail soup. Did you try proper Colombian chorizo or morcilla ? Honestly its kind of wild that you wanna try to shit on Colombian food and claim we bastardized your precious hot dog lol. Hot dogs in the United States are a boiled bland Weiner, some packet mustard, and maybe relish and other pickled goods if you’re lucky. Maybe the perro was too perro for you, but did you try the perra? Replace the frank with the bacon, and I have yet to meet somebody who didn’t fuck with it. Did you have lechon or pernil? I mean bro you didn’t even include any guisados de carne o pollo cause that’s marinated very well and has a great taste. Arepa de huevo? Also I think you might be confusing just shrimp cocktail with ceviche, I don’t blame you though sometimes Colombians call shrimp cocktail, ceviche, but if you can’t find good ceviche in Cartagena you probably didn’t try. Did you have lentejas? ARROZ CON COCO???????????????? I mean I get it man you probably were like hey I’m gonna save some money by eating at these little plato topic restaurants but those can really be hit or miss, and I hate to say it but the wealth divide is real in Colombia and you are probably aware of it. There are many GREAT restaurants in Colombia but they won’t be 3-4 dollar plates. They definitely a bit more expensive but WORTH it. Not to say there isn’t cheap good food, but I challenge you to give Colombian cuisine another try my dude.


    1. He has only been to Medellin and La Costa it seems like…. I live down here in Medellin and the food here is really bad but that’s not the case in Bogota and many other parts of Colombia. Here everything is about screwing gringos. If U go to an expensive restaurant in Medellin the meat still is a piece of shit yet they charge U maybe 75 lucas. Same on the coast. Cant even remember all the times I have paid 25,000 pesos and expecting a decent salad, burrito, or whatever, and the quality on EVERYTHING is just crap. U know that bought their groceries from all the terrible cheap food brands down here. Add to that the chef lacks education, gets treated like shit, paid 30,000 a day…. It is what it is. The tourist trap that many places face with a lot of tourists. Everything starts to be about shortcuts.

      I spend all of December in Bogota for a new passport and it’s very different. I think food is a bigger part of the rolo life than the paisa life. Colombia is a diverse country and one part is very different from the other. Paisa food can be good too but it will never ever be recognized in other countries, that’s just ludacris. Its to boring and the lack of quality cant even compare with 95% of the countries on the planet.

      Colombia has THE best music culture in the world. My opinion! But many experts place Colombia amongst the top countries as well because of how important dance and music are here. Food ain’t. Simple as that.

      We in Scandinavia are exceptional workers, responsible etc. Not EVEN close to the best dancers nor conservationists in the world and it is what it is… Its ok. No one needs to get butt hurt. We are all different

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I have been living in medellin for two months.
      No offense to any of the people. Its the food. It is bland. Its almost always lukewarm. There is no technique involved in colombian cooking. Its the ingredient and water and salt.
      The food is bland. Im sorry but almost every single thing ive eaten has just been ehhh ok. Just palatable.
      Ive been to 40 countries ~ colombia is in the top 2 of yuckiness


  13. This is so hilarious, just like a bunch of other stuff on your blog which I just found this morning. Tons of interesting and thoughtful stuff – super insightful, and, like you, I’ve spent a TON of time around latin folks and speak Spanish fluently, etc. I spent three months in Colombia a few years ago, and I couldn’t agree more, the food is pretty meh most of time, BUT you’re underselling arepas a bit here. I don’t love them or anything, but there are different regional types, sweet ones, etc. One thing I noticed in Bogota was that some of the bling restaurants were Peruvian, because everyone knows that Peruvian food is great. I remember asking my then gal why there weren’t seemingly any upscale restaurants based on Colombian cooking. I learned why, although we ate at a place like that in Cartagena that was really good and interesting based around costeño eats. I disagree re: Peruvian food being the best in Lat Am having grown up around Mexicans and traveling there a lot. It’s a tough comparison simply because Mexico is simply enormous and the food varies a ton, and definitely you know Peruvian food about 50 times better than I do for sure (I wasn’t there for very long and it was well before their big economic boom which have a way of popping fine dining when a country has incredible food already), but Mexican cuisine is as deep as the ocean – all sorts of variations, and when it gets high end it’s just mind blowing (although a street cart can also be mind blowing). It’s very hard to find good Mexican food in the US even in places with a lot of Mexicans, but damn, just go across the border from San Diego and the restaurants, both high and low from Tijuana to the fabulous little Mexican wine country to Ensenada, are simply stunning, and that’s all just within an hour and a half of the border. Definitely Colombia has INCREDIBLY good musicians and a mix of international imported styles as well as a TON of regional musics. And like you pointed out, the country is basically just stunning landscape after stunning landscape. I can keep going, but it’s your blog! 🙂 Your newest fan, Pez


  14. Some of the food is good. A good bandeja paisa is excellent when the meat is good and tender and juicy, but you’ll have to find the places that do it that way because most places just char unseasoned meat to the point it’s not chewable. If you are visiting the coast, the seafood is pretty good. But outside of that, most of the food is tasteless and lacks soul, especially in the Paisa region.

    Another thing to note is that for a lot of Colombians, and probably most within the cafetero region and overall Paisa region, anything that is seasoned, even if it’s not hot, is “picante” and they will not go near it. And in my experience that is pretty much everything outside of lime, cilantro, and salt. I literally bought a Papa John’s pizza one time for my in laws and my mother in law actually cried for water, and it was just a ham and cheese pizza. She actually thought that the seasoning in the sauce was hurting her. Some of my extended family also think that stuff like ginger and oregano is “picante” and won’t touch it. One time I was cooking a pot of soup for the family and decided to play a joke by waving a black pepper shaker over the pot, and no one would touch it. I had to convince them it was a joke.

    My own wife and I cooked one night together and she made some pork chops while I made a pot of mac and cheese. I put a teaspoon of black pepper in a pot of about 6 pounds of mac and cheese and she actually stopped eating and said it was hurting too bad.

    I love living here but these people for the most part cannot, under any circumstances, have anything seasoned because they are for some reason too sensitive to it, which leads to a lot of the food being the way it is. I find it incredible considering the vast amount of produce this country can grow, literally anything and everything grows or can grow here. Yet despite this, even with local stuff Colombians seem tolerant of only a small fraction of that. Sure, most of South America isn’t big on spicy stuff, but at least they will season their food. Colombians won’t do that outside of typical lime, cilantro, and salt.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. how to pay attention to this blog if it was written by the stupid ass man who puts banana in a sancocho. surprising to you, making food, especially food from another country requires intelligence. You don’t like our food, that’s ok. I don’t like some of our food either but if you are going to write a whole fucking article “criticizing” the food make sure you at least tried to get your lazy ass out of Bogota because surprise to you ignorant piece of shit Bogota and Medellin are not the only cities here.


    1. I live in Bucaramanga. I took regular trips to Sincelejo after my ex girlfriend moved there for a job. I have been to Barranquilla. Also, see my comment posted above. The writer is literally spot-on.


    2. Why do you have to curse at him because he doesnt like colombian food? Hes not saying anything except giving his taste opinion.

      Ive been to 40 countries and i could not agree with him more.


    1. Theres hundreds of comments in this thread with people agreeing

      Why is it offensive that he doesnt like colombian food? Does that make him evil or a bad person?

      Ive been to 40 countries. Colombias food is in the top 2 of the worst. Every well traveled person ive met in colombia has said the same thing.


  16. Leaving to a side the fact that your opinion about food is completely biased and based on, perhaps, bad experiences. I can’t grasp the idea that in 2021 there are people as ignorant as your wife to believe a Colombian woman is going to steal her husband because she saw a banana in a soup. I think that just by reading that “story” I can get a sense of how stupid your wife must be so for sure you are not a brilliant man. If you were one, then you would have acknowledged the fact that most of these pictures shown here are from places where not even Colombians that can afford go to. If you are going to pay one dollar for your food, well you get what you paid. You want quality food? Pay for it as simple as that. I just hope you are nowhere near Colombia or your wife might have a heart attack, scared to death thinking her green card is in danger 😅


    1. Great post! I love this country of Colombia but the food is easily the worst in the world.

      After living here for 5 years and trying EVERYTHING this country has to offer, I’ve come to realize one thing (which you pointed out);
      “Colombian food sucks… and Colombians don’t seem to mind.”

      As with most other problems in Colombia, they don’t care enough to change it but they sure as hell get butthurt when someone points out where they can improve. Just look through some of the previous comments to see what I mean.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love Colombians but compared to most of the rest of the world they tend to be very emotional and sensitive to even small criticisms, and tend to live with their emotions on their sleeves and very easily offended even when you don’t mean to. Even just telling someone “no” here is considered rude, and I’ve seen other latinos from other countries like Chile and Argentina make comments about how sensitive people can be here.
        I told someone one time that I didn’t really like Ponymalta at all but I bought them because my son loves it. That was even taken as a slight. I did not mean to offend but that’s how some of the people can be.
        Being emotional and having a strong sense of feeling can be a good thing. I think a lot of people, especially Americans, could learn from that. But there is also such a thing as too much and that’s what I see here.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I didn’t get the sense about her wife at all. You must have read a different article then me. I believe the wife called her mother to tell how ridiculously is to put banana in soups. That’s all I got from it. Maybe English isn’t your first language.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I like the food in Colombia, it is healthy but plain but I don’t remember having a bad meal there nor do I remember having stomach troubles there. Saying that, it seems some of the Colombian posters above are a bit sensitive about criticism towards their national cuisine. it isn’t an exciting and vibrant cuisine but its strengths come from its health benefits (for the most part) I lost seven kilos in two months eating three times a day which shows it must be one of the world’s more healthier diets.


  18. Wow! How rude. It’s like going to your house and then posting on Facebook that your food sucked. Not nice at all. I don’t think it is right to talk about food or a country in that way. I’m in USA and I miss my Colombian food so badly. Colombian food reminds me of my home and my family, so of course we are not going to be happy when you talk that way about something that is so special for us. Food is just part of a country’s culture, respect that even if you don’t like it. I don’t like Indian food for example, but it doesn’t mean that their food sucks.

    Food is sacred for us. Colombians have a hard time buying groceries because they don’t make enough money, so we value every single bite we take. I’m sorry you don’t.



  19. Been here 8 months and just the other day I made that realization. Almost all the food here is bland. Even other countries foods taste bland in Colombia. Sushi is bland and has plantain slapped on it. Chinese food is a joke. Ordered low Mein. Got box spaghetti with soy sauce. Even Mexican food has some weird twist that just wrecks the flavor. The other day I went to Mexican restaurant and ordered alambres. Didn’t even come with tortillas. And the salsa are just bull. Plus most people here don’t tolerate spicey. Hell the black pepper on kfc is too much for most to handle. Your spot on the food here is bland and the vegetable oil commonly used is soy bean oil which tastes horrendous and you can taste it in every food here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Hell the black pepper on kfc is too much for most to handle.”

      Actually true. I got my mother in law that new Kentucky sandwich the other day from KFC. It’s just a chicken patty, pickles, and mayonaise on a bun, that’s it. Her response? “No puedo comer esto, es demasiado picante”. My wife loves them though. But some people here you have to actually be careful with what you give them because I have had people actually tell me that anything seasoned well gives them “gastritis” and that they “had to go to the ER”. I wish I was joking but then again if you spent most of your life not eating anything seasoned and then try it then I could see how that can happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hola,

    I’ve been living in Colombia and I must say that the COLOMBIAN FOOD is so BLAND that I could not stay forever.

    I mean, Colombian people are really great, but they do not want to understand that their food is TASTELESS. On the contrary, and I can not figure out why, they seem to think that it’s one of the best, and want foreigners to admit it.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Omg, this articule is so funny I am Colombian and yes I agree with a lot of things you mention about the food and the reason we find it so delicious is because most Colombians don’t like many spices at least not on regular basis. I agree about the ketchup however those Fake ketchup are called salsa de tomate because it is made with tomate extract 🍅 and is less sweet than the ketchup . I agree with the arepas paisas as they are made with no salt and they don’t taste that good but the Arepas Santandereanas made with corn are much better. I also agree with some of the comments some people made according to your blog looks like you went to very cheap places to eat and you can’t expect much from a $1 meal if you had invested more money bin better places you would have had a better experience. Is like going to Manhattan in Times Square and eat in a street hog dog place for a couple of dollars and judge the whole cuisine because I was on a budget. Colombia is not very expensive when you are a foreign. I am sorry you had bad experience with the food


    1. Santanderian food is also awful. I live in Bucaramanga, and I have been living here for nearly three years now, come May. Food in Sincelejo is bad. Food in Bogotá is bad. Food in Montería is bad. Food in Barranquilla is bad. When I went back to the US (LA) for a few months, I actually had problems readjusting at first.

      The sad thing is that there are actually some decent places, but they usually end up going out of business. Archie’s was a good example of that. Colombians just cannot stand the taste of flavor in their food. San Cocho I buy from a restaurant is terrible, but san Cocho I make is actually pretty decent. You gotta use at least black pepper and cumin (Comino).

      Thank heavens for Jumbo, or I would have starved here. Jumbo has most of the ingredients I cannot find anywhere else (although I still have to make my own gharam masala and Chinese five spice, which is highly annoying).

      Oddly enough, KFC is here is surprisingly pretty decent. I say surprisingly, because I usually do not go to KFC in the US, but now I find myself craving it here. When I went back the US, I never ate at KFC a single time though. I think maybe I crave KFC when I am here just because it is an oasis of flavor in a desert of bland food.


  22. I’m a Chilean married with a Colombian. I would disagree about arepas. For people not used to it might take some time (for me it took 1 year), eventually I ended up enjoying and acquiring the taste. About patacones, yes, I totally agree it taste literally like nothing, no flavor.

    And yes, also Chileans and Americans has good and bad (flavorless) food too.


  23. This entire article is overly simplified and extremely ignorant. I’m Colombian American and grew up eating Colombian food and was raised in Colombia and this article is EXTREMELY disrespectful. Americans always have to act overly entitled and arrogant when visiting different countries, and acting like they have the authority to speak on a whole country’s food culture just because you lived there for a little bit. Grow the fuck up and learn to be respectful of other cultures.


    1. Yeah, it was noted many times earlier about how sensitive Colombians are about their incredibly tasteless food too. Get over it, dude. This article is *not* about how the food from the rest of the world tastes to *you*. This article is about how people from **the rest of the world** find your food bland and tasteless. If this article is not about you, then why do you feel the need so strongly to get involved?

      I always have found it so amusing just how similar Venezuelan food is to Colombian food, yet just how much better Venezuelan food tastes when compared to Colombian food. The biggest difference — by far — is that Venezuelan food has flavor. If you so strongly feel the need to get involved in this conversation, then maybe you should experience the differences for yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. From France, i’ve been leaving in Colombia for 3 years, my favorite food there ? Domino’s Pizza, Subway, McDonalds, Cinnabon and KFC. The good thing is that they are so expensives that i can’t go there with my colombian salary and lost 20 kg (45 pounds). Miss so much a good Chi Jau Kay, lomo saltado, Caldo de Galina, Fresh Ceviche (not frozen) or a simple Chaufa that i kept critisizing when i was in Perù 😥


  25. I’m a Colombian living now in Canada so I’ve tried plenty of different cuisines. I would agree partially with some of the dishes you show here, it is true that some of our dishes are quite bland and we use few spices, but I also noticed, at least by the photos you posted, that most of what you tried/talked about was the worst quality possible you could find of that particular dish.

    For example, the ACPM, that’s a staple dish of low-income families or workers, where the dish is actually simple but filling. Here, you show a photo with such a bad quality, where in reality we use a piece of meat we call “Bola Negra” which is juicy and tender, seasoned with salt & garlic or sometimes with what we call “Triguisar”. The plantains we use are the sweet ones, which are softer. For the rice, we do not use garlic that’s true, but we do cook it with salt, oil and sometimes green or white onion. This is just an example of the ACPM, the rest of the dishes shown here are quite the same, with bad quality chosen to demonstrate the cuisine.

    Also, comparing American hotdogs with Colombian hotdogs it’s like comparing day and night. The version you show there it’s our “simple” version, while the American simple version it’s plain bread, the hotdog and mustard/ketchup. We have plenty of varieties and that one you show is the cheapest one possible. Also, we do NOT use crisp dry onions, so that’s what hints to me that you actually tried the worst quality possible.

    By the way, why the hell would you put a banana in Sancocho? We do NOT use banana, we use green plantains which is completely DIFFERENT. We do not cook salty dishes with banana, we use it only for juices and some desserts, and yeah maybe as a side when we eat soups (that’s the most Colombian thing, have a banana on the side with your Sancocho, as a “dessert”) but we do NOT cook it inside the soup. Never. No way.

    Again, I do agree with some of your criticism, but I do believe you got the worst of the worst to generalize it. It’s as if I show the worst of your country as a generalization of the rest when we both know it may not be like that.

    I kindly invite all foreigners visiting Colombia to give our dishes a try but to pick good places and try to go for places that are popular with locals instead of just cheap ones.


  26. Hit it right on the money with this. There’s a reason you don’t find Colombian restaurants in the US or Europe. There’s many reason why people come to Colombia but the food ain’t one of them. Love this place tho.


    1. Funny, I’m from Canada and I went to Medellin 5 times on holidays between 2010-2012 and loved the food – paisa food, bandeja paisa, mandongo soups, steaks, hamburgers, pasta, pizza, cakes, ice cream, etc. And I met lots of really nice Colombian people in Medellin, including some really nice people (a gynaecologist/doctor and his wife) from Bogota.


      1. By the way, there are lots of really good Colombian restaurants in Toronto, Canada, and they are very popular and serving up great delicious Colombian foods at very reasonable prices with excellent and very friendly customer service by Colombian owners and waiters and waitresses – if you picky picky snobby American gringo expats don’t like Colombian food, why not just move to Paris, or Lyon in France and only eat in Cordon Blue Restaurants at USD $ 100 for lunch and USD $ 300 for dinner – lol. Get used to it, you’re not in Kansas anymore, stop whining and complaining all the time about every little thing under the sun – adapt to Colombia or any other country or city or leave – you won’t be missed. Nobody in Colombia (Colombians) really cares what you think anyways.


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