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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
“Bogota Beer Company only got worse over time while I lived there.” – That’s probably because they were bought by INBEV/Budweiser. I stopped drinking there after that happened. Their beer has always been mediocre, so it’s not like it was a big loss. However, they still go on about how they are a “small” brewery and they blither on about “craft” beer. That, and they are busy cornering the craft beer market in Bogota. You can’t walk more than a few blocks in the city without seeing a BBC or one of their Bodegas.
BBC sucks, their food, their beer everything. I think it is the worst craft brewery in South America that I’ve been to. If you want the best craft beer in the world that my friends is found in the good old USA!
Colin i have to agree with you Colombian food sucks
i have been working in Colombia for 7 months now and work all over country living in hotels and eating in restaurants
I am in Neiva right now and living in a apartment hotel what a blessing, i can cook
Lets say i have eaten in 500 restaurants since if been in Colombia and probably the best meal i ever had was in Yopal at the Parria de Angus a steak house, Fillet de Mignon bring it on and it was 36000 cop and was one of the best steaks i ever have eaten and i have lived in Alberta Canada that is where Angus comes from!
Apparently Pres Santos flys down to Yopal to entertain the dignitaries at this restaurant main establishment at a finca outside of town and i don’t blame him wise choice
Now lets talk about Ceviche Nobody makes like the Peranos and they try in some places in Colombia and there is only one place i know of that is the real deal Ceviche Perano Cali They have 2 restaurants 2 blocks from city hall and Parque de peruse close to the sports complex they are on line and the have Choclo Maise and Rocotto truly Peruvian Heaven
So i have had Colombian tacos at Butacos and other places and they suck< so i thought why not try and make my own now that i am a apartment hotel
I went down to Exito and bingo! exito had all the ingrediants just like i was in Canada And the mild cheddar cheese was worth as much as a bottle of scotch ok no problem this is going to be a treat
I whipped up the tacos and invited my 5 coworkers which are Brazilian and Colombians to this feast with corona and Tequila Ponchos and sombreros included it is San Pedro in Neiva and we had a blast
the next day every body was complementing me on how good the tacos were and they had never had that good of taco before
I just smiled and said this is how we do it in my country and it was a normal once in a while meal in Canada
so my guess why the food sucks in Colombia
you get what you pay for that taco dinner was about 100000 cop for 6 people but still cheaper than the restarants
Angus beef originally comes from Scotland, not Canada buddy!
Wow. I visited Colombia and felt so bad to break the news to my friend that the food is so bland. How did this happen to this poor beautiful country? Arepas! Omg. Cardboard. The flat meat. I was in Medellin at Christmas and there was a food van market. 157 food vans all serving the same things. Plantains, empanadas etc. It was sooo bizarre.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Funny I live in the USA and see so many of of us colombians, latinos and people from the carribean and the major consensus is that most north american food is bland. There is a running gag amongst north american blacks and minorities that people here dont know how to cook. Just look at the vines. Fb comedians like schuler king or ig.
This is obviously a troll post coddled by people who like to go to run of the mill dinky places. Granted. Those are humble people with poor peoples food so the quality may not be good.
Anthony bourdain, Zimmerman, and plenty others can argue against you.
Coupled by the fact that my family has a long line of cooks with two successful restaurants in the usa I can tell you most common food in the states cannot compare to colombia.
I’m not some ignorant colombian with little resources either. I work in the healthcare field and love to try different cuisine from persian to haitian food.
Colombia has a wide variety of dishes that can compete with your favorite types of food. I know this personally. After visiting different food spots in the usa I’m not impressed.
Mac and cheese is practically an abomination. Southern food is bland fried battered grease. Soups are terrible The only time when it is considered good it’s when they stole from other culture like italian food in the north east, creole food in Louisiana, or mexican american food..
I agree. It is horrible. I have travelled all around the world and Colombian food is the worst food by far. That was one of the reasons I did not choose to live there.
When you come to Colombia make sure you ask where to go. From the pictures here I can see you went by far to the wrong places.
well my writing capabilities suck and i know it but does anyone no where to get a good Cerviche in Colombia
I was in Guajjira and lobster was good no complaints in Riohacha
Your Ants anecdote is utter bollocks, such a crock. I left an arepa out over night and it was swarming with ants the next morning. Stop telling lies. Just because you are unaware of where to get good arepas does not give you the right to badmouth them. They can be filled with tons of stuff including pork, chicken, avacado and tons of other veggies. I have seen dogs eat arepas too. Not sure why you feel the need to tell BS lies. Also, stop being so dirty, who in the world leaves food out for so long?? ugh.
Compared to any other country I have lived in – France, UK, US, Italy, Spain- this is the worst food I have ever encountered. When Colombians ask me what else do you love about Medellin after I’ve listed the climate, the people, the dog-adoring culture, they often prompt “and the food!, right?” I just force a smile and say, “yes, after France, it is so good to have Colombian food…”
The main problem with your article is the lack of respect in the way you express yourself. As well as many of the people responding on both sides of the argument. No need for that.
I love my colombian food because I grew up eating it, but in truth, there’s good and bad everywhere and tastes are different (patacones and arepas and yuca can be very good!).
Your experiences were not good, and that’s sad. Yes, our food is not varied, or very flavorful, but you are still giving YOUR OPINION which you cannot state as an absolute fact, this is subjective and it is not a responsible way of handling your voice in this medium.
Uh, sorry Sandra – Colin owns his blog and does not need your good seal of approval to post an article. And yes, Colombian food IS the worst in the world. I am an expat from France. Colombia is the 4th destination country I have even sent to. Been here 2 years and the crap you have here would not even be served in prisons in France. Food that is edible is found in tourist areas of Mdedellin or Bogota – and -as is to be expected – are owned and operated by European franchises. Obviously, you don’t get out much
Imagine being so entilled you think because youre french you can decide colombian food is the worst … Dont worry no Colombian ever is thinking ‘ooooo fancy some frog legs , potato with stinky cheese , some dryy bread and a greasy snail’ lool fuck off , keep your sapo self to yourself because we wont miss you .
Dear Brigitte, I´m not an expert in food things. I eat when I´m hungry, but I know for sure when something is disgusting. My girlfriend is from the United States and her old relatives are from Germany. She was in my country for the very first time in October, last year, and obviously I took her to several restaurants and fast food places.
She loved everything !!!
And just to give you an example, she now makes “Changüa” at home, because it´s one of her favorite colombian dishes, with tamal and lechona. This article or post or blog, whatever its name is, is completely unfair. I just think the guy who wrote this didn´t do the task properly. I just don´t know where the guy is from, but let´s imagine he is also from the USA…I´d love to sent him my article about the 3 months I spent in the USA last year and went to several places to get food. If I decide to write about the buffets and needed a title it would be: “Fill your stomach with all of garbage you can for less than 10 dollars” But, obviously I wouldn´t do that, because I did the task and went to some other places and I know buffets in the USA are not the only option, -unless you just want to eat, and eat, and eat- and they don´t represent american kitchens.
The article from this guy is sad, I feel bad for him and I just try to understand the source of his poison. A colombian girl or boy broke his heart? The guy didn´t know that we have several types of arepas. We have sweet corn arepas (called arepas de choclo) we have yellow cheesy arepas, we have arepas filled with many things … but the guy chose a pic of some white arepas, called “arepas paisas” (Yes, the ones you saw in every corner in Medellín) that we eat with bandeja paisa, or with salt and butter, or salt, butter and cheese … but the guy chose the arepas with nothing…He just WANTED to show a bad side in his poor story.
Obviously, the problem is that nowadays everybody thinks he/she is a journalist because they have a camera and learnt to write some words in primary school. Poor guy ! His soul is really black, his life is full of sorrow… and you are going in the same way. I have never been to France, but if I go, I will try not to write an article based on urban legends, otherwise I would say:
“Trying to take a shower here, due to the lack of water is a TORTURE” or “Meeting a girl who takes a shower everyday is a TORTURE” or “Trying to get the real scent of women here is a TORTURE, they use those 48 hours perfume to avoid showers”. Je t’aime, Briggitte.
The food lacks spice/seasoning yes. As a fan of thai, mexican, indian, chinese, japanese, etc food it does seem boring.
That said, if I had to choose:
1) Boring food, hottest women on the planet
2) Good food, fat american pigs
I will #1 every time.
If you like the idea of having three starches on your plate, having your juice watered down and blended til its foamy, overcooked, leathery beef, hot dogs for breakfast, and frying just about everything, go have some comida tipica de Colombia. Otherwise, for good food in Colombia, go to an Argentinean or Peruvian restaurant.
I love the ketchup here! And the hot dogs…but everything else i completely agree. Bland bland bland
Aside from the fact that this article shows zero understanding of colombian cuisine and why it is the way it is, it is about the assiest, most ignorant and entitled post I’ve ever read, not to mention offensive an insensitive. Then again, exactly what I’d expect from an american living outside the “greatest county in the world™”.
You’re right, Colin. This post is very ugly and very american.
Colombian food IS the worst in the world. I am an expat from France. Colombia is the 4th destination country I have been sent to. Been in Medellin 2 years and the crap you have here would not even be served in prisons in France. Food that is edible is found in tourist areas of Medellin – and as is to be expected – those restaurants are owned and operated by European franchises. Thank God for them! Eating in Colombia when you are French is TORTURE
“Understanding the culture”…please explain how this affects the quality of the food. Also, the blogger did not say he loves American food, he specifically cites Peruvian and Argentine food as light years above Colombian. Also, the population is at high risk for diaete and heart disease because of the cuisine (see World Health Org)
I don’t where these people eat but the Colombian food has different varieties depending on the state you are. we have rich menus for all taste. the staff he describes it is not our basic cuisine. what a jerk.
Um, he’s Canadian, not from the US. And besides, we’re ALL “American”.
I found this post very amusing because without exception, every single Colombian I know raves about their food, and how wonderful their country is, and how the drug trade is gone, and endless bulls**t.
Grow up, Colombians. Until you admit your country has some faults, you will never improve. In the US and Canada, we openly admit the faults of our countries. Without exception, every one of the many Colombians I know recite endless raputre of the wonders and superiority of their country. What a joke!
You can say “entitled,” “offensive” and “insensitive.” I’d even add “cruel” and “condescending.” But your use of “ignorant” is an incorrect use of the word according to both the English and Spanish definitions, which imply a “lack of knowledge.”
See, I’m improving your Spanish 🙂
I spent almost three years living in Colombia. Somebody without knowledge would never be able to write the web’s best article on good Colombian food (10 Things to Eat in Bogota), nor the best article on Colombia’s mostly bad food (this one).
So if you have more knowledge, I challenge you to produce a better article on either the good or the bad. But if you can’t produce something to compete with mine (and we know you can’t), then with all due respect keep quiet.
I’m living in Bogota as we speak and couldn’t agree with you more on the outrageously overrated bunyuelos and how over-hyped they are by Colombians everywhere. I can’t go a day at work in December without being questioned why I don’t take one when it is offered to me and how can I not like them. I am shocked with how nationalistic Colombians are about their culture compared to Ecuador and Peru, when in reality, they lack much of the same native culture integration that makes Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador so interesting and more genuine. I don’t care for Bogota, the coast, the Pacific and Antoquia are all fine, but there’s something truly hideous about Bogota.
Is it because bogota is like the capatilistic society all of yous so desperatly try to escape! . why dont we say bread is disgusting because we ate processed bread from a chain supermarket ? No one gives a rats arse if you enjoy them , spend your money and Go home but to hear someone saying they dont understand why a food people grew up with is considered good is STUPID . Buñuelos taste good freshly fried just like dounuts if you dont like the dont eat them . Dummy Perú is not in a 60 year civil war . Dummy bolivia was not Plagued by narcos where women were scared to be pretty incase a drug lord knocked con there door and took them by force. Prople needed to be patriotic to get together and make this country better . just like the black movement . We love and are proud of being colombian , imagine how america feels about 911 and ww2 . This happened everyday here so educate yourself before you live in a country you do not appreciate .América celebrares 4th of july but we cannot get mad when you offend us and our way of life . From a Colombian please fuck off out of our country if we are that bad.
Only Colombians defend their country, on this website and others. Get over yourselves and maybe someone would like you as much as you LOVE yourselves.
The person who wrote this is extremely disrespectful and ignorant. You cannot judge a whole countries food based on just Bogota. The way he was speaking of the people of Colombia was beyond rude. He has no knowledge of the diversity of foods Colombia has to offer. The writer chose to leave out important dishes and the fact that no one just eats white arepas alone, most of the foods he wrote about they are complimentary dishes. He chose to make things fit for what he wanted, and for that makes him a terrible writer and a biased one too.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Food sucks in Medellin also. I agree
I visited the entire country, rode 9000 km in the country. I’ve been EVERYWHERE in Colombia.
Food is the most disgusting I ever encountered and in any part of the country. Disgusting and extremely unhealthy.
I am not american.
I am Colombian. Although what you say is a bit exaggerated (which was the point) I think it is kind of true and I understand what you say.
I must say the article made me laugh.
THANK YOU. Finally a self-aware Colombian. How refreshing!
I love you. I love this article. Thank you for speaking the truth. The only thing I would hasten to add is that almost everything is artificial and contains artificial ingredients and preservatives. I basically have 5 items to eat for the 10 months of the year I spend here other than what my dear parents send me from trader Joe’s at great expense. I hate it. It only adds to the severe depression of having to live here in the first place.
I’m almost at that point. But there are new foreign-influenced restaurants opening in Medellin now and then, and some are even affordable. Gives me hope.
To all of you complaining about Colombian’s food, Why did you go to Colombia in the first place? Or what did you stay? were you kidnapped? Everything in the United States is artificial and full of preservatives so we are even!
Some people never should leave their home, I went to Spain with a group of Americans, and by the second day, some of them were asking how to find a McDonald or Burger King, in one of the countries with the best cuisine in the world!
The food in the United States is awful, full of preservatives and GMO
there’s bad food everywhere. But at least in most other places there is also good food. Also I don’t think Colin’s point is that US food is superior to Colombian food. In fact, one of the worst things is the US influence on pre-packaged food here in Colombia – virtually impossible to find anything, including bread or yogur,t without high sugar content, preservatives, palm oil. Like the US 20 years ago.
That’s a straw man argument. We’re not discussing US food, and the author is CANADIAN. Do you not know the difference between N. American countries?
Karen, if you equate food in The US to places like Burger King and Mc Donalds, then you have no idea what you’re talking about. The US has some of the best food from all over the world, and living in a large American city, gives a person the opportunity to eat food from countries all over the world. Fast food in the US isn’t regarded as being “good” food, and it has its niche, just like in every other country around the world.I’m not even going to get into regional American cuisine that’s famous all over the world. Foods like Tx BBQ, Creole/Cajun, Tex Mex, Southern Cuisine, and more, snuff out anything available here. If people visited Colombia solely based on the food available, then there would be a lot less tourists. The one thing that visitors to Colombia almost always complain about, is the food. Also, preservatives are not just an American thing. Colombians happily stuff their gullets with GMOs and preservatives. Your insinuation that it’s only the Americans complaining about Colombian food is false, and reeks of snobbery and condescension.
I was amazed to see defensive, arrogant Colombians defend their garbage cuisine, normally they’re such a reasonable, easy-going people who can accept that they might not be God’s gift to humanity.
EYY GRINGO, WHY JOU SAY DEES PLATE OF RICE AND FRIES ISN’T GOOD?
Damn you know you’re right, I went about everywhere in the country and food is so bland and tasteless than I had to leave (so I skipped Cali and all this region)
Basically everything is bad, I ended up having 1kg of banana for dinner as long fruits is the only good option you have
The fact that Colombian cuisine has not evolved as much as other cuisines in the world does not make it crap. It has a lot of potential. Have you tried the arepas santandereanas? Have you ever been in Santander by the way? Have you tried the dishes from the Pacific coast? Have you tried the ajiaco in Bogota? My experience is that if you go to a cheap restaurant food is in general not the best. And even in cheap restaurants food is mostly fresh, which I value a lot, unlike cheap food in the US, which is made to taste good because of the amount of artificial flavours, colors, and unhealthy shit in it.
Anyway, just my opinion
Your article really highlights your opinion in a very direct way. Some people do agree with you and that is okay because everyone has an opinion. Nothing wrong with that at all. Just a few suggestions for expats:
1. When you go out into the world, you need to go with an open mind. You are going to see, taste, hear, feel, and experience life in very different ways. What might be important for you might not be important to the culture you find yourself in. Usually people travel with certain expectations that are wrong. People think that other cultures should think like them. In the case of Latin America, they assume that it is all Mexico or if it is an exotic place, it is just like Costa Rica. It is as if people assumed all of Asia is Japanese. So do your research and ask what yourself what you will tolerate.
2. The food that you will taste will probably not be good to you because a lot of food out there has an acquired taste. Basically if you were not born there, tough luck. There are many things I would not eat from around the world just like most people. Some people do not like American food, some do not like Colombian food, some do not like European food, some do not like Caribbean food, some do not like Asian food, some do not like African food, etc.
3. People’s stomachs are different. What Colombians consider good for their stomachs is not good for people in Malaysia. What is good for Asians might give an European a stomachache. This goes for all countries and areas of the world.Some people cannot even eat something with soy sauce without getting a stomachache.
4. People’s food preferences are different. Sometimes those preferences are grouped into a “culture.” But there is always exceptions. I do not like turkey nor mashed potatoes. Some people do not like beans. Some people hate sushi. Some people do not like Texan food, etc.
5. If you grew up with lots of spices or hot food it is obvious you will find bland food tasteless and gross. Others will find very spicy food obnoxious to the taste buds and their colon. I personally would prefer bland food over too many spices. Too many hot spices burning my tongue and numbing my taste buds is not appealing whatsoever.
6. Healthy vs. Unhealthy. What you consider healthy is not healthy in another country. What you consider unhealthy might not be to others.
7. Regions and history. Remember that when you are in another country you are taking part in other people’s history through food. Also, the region and historical background of people will shed light into their plate. Ex. fruits from the Amazon: Hard to find in the USA.
8. Bad experiences happen. People might have had a bad experience with someone of that country or many people from that country and immediately assume and associate everything from that country to be negative..
9. Emphasis on food/poverty. Some people do not place a high emphasis on food like in the United States. For every meeting or get-together or party, food is always present in the USA. Don’t forget the potluck! In many countries of the world, food is not emphasized as much. You go to a meeting, food is not necessarily present. In poor countries like Colombia it is a mode of survival. Children have fewer choices and therefore less picky. You have to eat what is put in front of you or you will starve.
10. Bad cooks. Okay, this one is obvious people. You will find bad cooks around the world. And they are not just concentrated in Colombia. I have tasted food from everywhere and I can tell you that some falafel is good and some is gross. Same goes for rice, noodles, and pastries, etc.
11. Preparation methods. Come on! Not everyone in the world has an oven much less a microwave.
12. Culture shock. Just because expats move to a different country does not mean they will experience culture shock. You will hate certain things about a country especially if you have bad experiences in that country. Some of the many things I have heard: American food tastes like plastic, in Northern Europe immigrants complain the food is too bland. American desserts are too sweet. Asian food is raw. Mexican food is too spicy. Indian food is overwhelming, etc. All negative. The funny thing is that people suffering from culture shock usually say negative things about the country they have moved into.
13. It depends from what country you are from and what country you are visiting. If in your native country you eat a lot of super sweet foods, you might not like another country that purely defines its food with vegetables would you? Or if you are used to fast food and go to a country where everything is home cooked, you are in for a shock too.
So with that said, just remember to be tolerant and do your research before getting into another country because you will be in someone else’s backyard. You will not criticize your neighbor because they burned their barbecue ribs would you? You simply will not eat it. But then you will probably starve, so you can move on with your life and leave and eat somewhere else. Or you can suck it up and experience life without being so picky and spoiled. Colombia is exotic in a simple way compared to other Latin American countries.It has a lot to offer and it is very unique and special in many ways Some just love it. Some don’t. But it is okay. We are all human with similarities and difference. No country is more superior than other in many things and food is not one of them. I guess you have to literally have a good gut feeling for your host country before stepping into it.. Good luck!
I’m gonna be blunt, central & South American food in general is peasant food. It’s bland, simplistic, utilitarian. Part of the reason is because 60% of it comes from the indigenous counterpart that makes up the mestizo culture rather than the better tasting south European one. Intestines, corn patties, & essentially anything they can fry really isn’t a menu to work with. if you want “Latin” food then I would advise you to visit a Cuban, Puerto Rican, or Dominican restaurant.
All right, I’m Colombian but I respect what you’ve said but I’ll just say Bogota really isn’t the best place to get food in my opinion, I’m from Pereira and when I eat in restaurants everything has more flavors and spices, but come on now, an arepa is meant to be eaten with something else not just by itself, otherwise it’s just eating corn by itself
i read everything. from top to bottom. did i waste my life? perhaps. but its ok. there are worst ways to waste it.
anyways i am 100% estadounidense del sureste (born and raised in USA. Southeastern) anyways, getting to it. my fiance is from Medellin and of course i have been there. i am no expert on the food there, but it is edible. it is not processed fake factory gristle blended with meat and formed into patty shapes. and they are proud of theor cooking. i would never complain to them. the chefs seem so proud and want you do love it. ive eaten in very expensive and nice restaurants where a 30 bill, ie. 15 dollars per plate… was one of the cheaper options. it was not bad. she recommended the place. and she’d never let me get screwed over. the cost was fine to her. although i know what she gets paid. i spent more that 1 day of her pay on that food. but i did enjoy it. i cant remember the name of the plate i had nor the restaurant. but, i had some barbeque like meat with vergtables and rice. and sweet tea. excellent staff. well tipped and fully paid by me. i thought the cost to the food taste wasnt the same as the US. then i remembered… i am not in the US. it was well prepared and they did have great service. as habit from childhood i never waste food. ill eat it all there, or take whats left home and eat it for a snack later. (usually when i buy bandeja paisa for us… she wont eat a whole one. and i cannot eat 1.5 bandeja paisa in 1 sitting) the restaurants are definitely not exact copies of what you would expect or be used to. but that’s because you need to remember. its different there because you are in a different place.
this article kind of reminds me of when my sister was telling me how wierd sprite (the US soda) tasted when she was in London. she complained that it didnt taste the same. i told her. “it’s because you were in London, drinking London Sprite. the sprite you were expecting was from the USA. it was either locally produced or the company that makes it ships a different recipe or quality to London” it’s like comparing Belgian waffles in the USA compared to Belgian waffles in Belgium. certainly they would not taste the same.
but for the sake of the article as to what food is better… i know nothing of peru cuisine. my girl she tells me how great peruvian food is and also mexican. but she has never been to either place. i imagine shes eaten locally at a medellin restaurant of those places. i didnt think the food was bad. its definitely healthy. what i ate had little salt added (which i liked. i dislike lots of salt, or anything picante or spicy). but yall need to remember that these people have been regional and at war for decades and decades. drug gangs and hitmen everywhere. the government is corrupt as hell. the army too. scandal after scandal. the former presidents are being investigated for manipulation of witnesses for some other congressmans crimes. for the past 60 years the people could be killed if they even traveled out of town, or kidnapped or robbed, tortured and extorted… so there probably was not much time to develop decades of special cooking techniques or establish spice trade between the regions or massive cultivation areas for every spice you can think of that they have available in that country. the minimum wage is 1.10 USD per hour in the year 2018. yeah it was less than that before now. i am certain cheap and utilitarian is the way to go for most of them overall for a very long time. so, try not to rag their food. have some fucking manners. remember YOU traveled to THEM. the good expensive locally suggested restaurants are probably the best your gonna find anywhere around there and the economy is not exactly safe for regional trade. so. take it or leave it. i love my paisa fiance, my to-be paisa in-laws. and my semi-adopted bogotero mom and dad (i met some colombians in highschool in the USA from Bogotá, practiced spanish and at patacones and morcilla and dinner many times with them. they are the reason i dont listen to what americans “think” about Colombia.) they are very nice and hospitable people. they listen to classical music at dinner and say it helps digestion. so cute! another good example of Colombia goodness is i met my mother-in-law for the first time and she asked what i liked to eat. i told her i like chicken. so she asked whats my favorite part… drumsticks or chicken legs. so she props my feet up and proceeds to cook. this lady brings like 8 chicken legs at its like 11pm. all were great… i ate them all. they were amazed i can eat 8 drumsticks. they are the best and she cooked them great enough for me. im not very picky. anyways, yall lighten up on these people and their food. i personally think Mexican food is probably the best. some fresh fajitas with white cheese? yes please. but i would never knock anyone’s cuisine. there is a reason it is the way it is. and how elitist do you have to be to bitch about food being bland? you know you could fix that by learning how to cook food at home to your liking. i will agree that the little plain arepa was tasteless. and i never saw it served with a sauce. but i did eat it. every one of them i saw on a plate that inpaid for. i ate that motherfucker because it was mine and i paid for it. but i did not complain. i wanna try the arepa Santander and i did have an arepa con queso and it was a drastic improvement over that poor little plain arepa. but i understand that the native culture respected corn so much that to make plain corn things was out of respect to the corn. like plain tamales with nothing but coen inside was supposedly done by the natives once a year so the “corn didnt have to work so hard” for at least one day per year. thats where the idea comes from.
anyways what i typed may or may not make sense whatsoever. so, thanks for reading it. it basically me rambling on and trying to give examples of my experience with Colombia, its people and its food.
Panela is great in coffee. Gives it a caramel flavor. Better than just ordinary brown or turbinado sugar
The fact that you don’t like Colombian food doesn’t mean that everyone should hates It.
When you don’t have something good to say about a place, food or even people, don’t try to offend their cultures or even years and years of history. Because when talk about the food of a country and offend it you’re talking about heir history, their cultures too. So we don’t have fault that you can’t afford good Colombian food. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
The good about Colombian food is that it’s mostly natural and unprocessed. In that sense, it’s actually very healthy.
Dont eat in bogota other places have great food like cali medellin and barranquilla bogota as u said they add no flavor to their food no life
Bogota probably has the best dining scene in the country. There is no other city, besides Cartagena, where you can find the same quality of restaurants. Medellin? No way! Paisa food is the very definition of bland, flavorless, mountains of starchy, underseasoned carbs and overcooked meats that give Colombian food a bad name.
What no flavor? colombians use 5 spices when cooking……how come everyone writing is so critical, the 5 spices commonly used are salt, salt, salt salt and muchos salt….but i luv the the chicas and can live on pollo asado bbq chicken bananas and mangos, several cafes know me as “senor sin sel” thats mr no salt, when i order eggs for breakfast,
It is true, but i think things will change. Colombia has been kind ok isolated for many years because of the internal war, and the poverty made people eat to fill their stomach, without trying to really enjoy it, people would just cook things randomly and add things in the dishes without a thinking or a method, so colombian food is souless, bland, simple. I’m colombian and i hate the majority of colombian dishes, i don’t understand why people would eat cooked yuca con queso, or add bananas in soups. The most of our dishes are just bad, that is the truth. But I think the influence of people from outside of the country can change this.
Colombians are very sensitive to spices, for that reason you may call Colombia food flavorless. Im from Colombia, and I have lived in the USA for 6 years. Perhaps, I would not trade a Colombian plate for anything else, why because I was raised to that. I can not eat spicy food, it is not for me. Yes, US has wide variety of food due to many cultures that are here, but whatsoever, Americans dont add much season to their food. What can be expect it from Americans? All yall know to do is judge and be racist. You all are bunch of uncultural people. If you were to study anthropology, you will actually learn that none of your meals where actually original from white europeans. Everything yall believe is your culture was actually stolen from a different land. Before judging a culture, you should actually get one.
Abe, this comment is so full of nonsense that it has earned a place in the esteemed “When Readers Attack!” series. You can read it here: https://expat-chronicles.com/2019/02/15/abraham-lopez/
Been here 5 days, everything tastes bland! Soso. We bought adobo seasoning at the store to cool at the hostel and even that was flavorless. Even the salt is not salty in Colombia. I am puertorican, i thought i was just spoiled and used to delicious flavor. Now I knlw that i am not alone in thinking Colombian food sucks.
Thanks for this spot on review. Im now enjoying my plane arepa, accompanied with some flavorless scrambled egg, white toasts and fake marmelade for breakfast, and after three months of eating this terrible food I also got a bit frustrated. I guess you can’t have it all in a otherwise beautiful country
This article is 100% spot on. Colombian food is some of the worst food in the entire world (I’ve been around the world multiple times). One good thing to come of this tasteless experience is that I’ve gotten pretty good at cooking from home. I’ve even thought about opening a restaurant and introducing these poor folk to real tasty food but then realize that they’ll probably complain it’s too “picante.” It seems that the only thing with “flavor” here is their cheese which unfortunately tastes like ass. Oh well, can’t have it all. The women here make up for a lot grievances.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hey Colin! You’re normally a pretty good sport and you being from St. Louis and all, I thought you might get a kick out of this:
I’ve never tried it, but St. Louis style Pizza scares the shit out of me.
Of course it can’t touch Changua or farm raised trucha that’s been raised in swimming pools and given god knows how many chemicals and antibiotics. Not to mention the god awful things the Paisas do to that fish. Fried trout with Marinara sauce? I’ve been to the villages in and around the coffee region where trucha is the specialty many times, and I can’t understand the hordes of Colombians who go there on the weekends to stuff their faces with that god awful stuff. Trucha Hawaiiana? Yeah, a whole fried trout doused in cream sauce and Pineapples. Instances like these just go to show the sorry state of Colombian cuisine.
You know what the worst part is? Is that Colombians think it’s good. They think that it should be used as a selling point as to why people should visit their country. They look at me as if I shat on Simon Bolivar’s grave when I tell then the low opinion that foreigners generally have about their food. I remember when my parents came to visit and we took a trip to Salento. I was so embarrassed at how bad the food was, and my parents told me just how shocked they were as to how awful the food was.
Colombia is beautiful, but it’s just too bad that the food isn’t.
I am colombian and I have to agree about 80% with this. It gave me a good laugh, too. Then again foods with too much spicing and salt or added sugar aren’t very healthy either and they just aren’t good friends of mine. Do note that U.s. and other places are just full of obese and overweight populations. Thank goodness we do not have that… yeah, food might be bland and all, but we don’t get sick all the time nor complain about a simple silly allergy.
replying to myself, because I forgot to add that What most comments said is also true, everything from the absurd nationalism to the subjective things and beyond. Food is a nostalgic thing for everyone. Thankfully my family and I have been to many other countries and we have managed to steal some very nice recipes so we do not suffer due to bad tasting food anymore, lol. And also, thankfully Bogotá has expended and even improved its gastronomic offering in recent years (this article is pretty old) so nowadays you get very nice international dishes with probably healthier and very fresh spices which can do wonders. True too that mediocrity, higher, denser contamination (thanks wannabee industries and government regulations that have settled in here) and parsimony from most street restaurants can make food awful, we normally cook at home and the result is totally different. So sorry you had such an experience, but we are slowly getting to grips to making it better.
If you want to learn how to cook go to Colombia: the food is so bad that you’ll learn quickly how to prepare your own meal at home.
I laughed so hard at this because it 100% accurate. I’ve become quite the chef the past two years living in Colombia.
The small arepas that accompany meals are flavorless, but the large arepas de queso are really good!
This whole article is spot on! I laughed the entire way through because it is so true.
I just brought my Colombian GF to Spain and she had always claimed she would not eat pork. Ever. And I said, “I think after you leave Colombia you may like it.” She said, no I never like any pork.
She has been eating all sorts of pork here everyday! She loves it!
News about food here. The other day I met a Spanish veterinary who has been working for several years in animal food products for human consumption in Colombia. This is what I learned: the only decent meat apparently is beef because cows are just let to pasture, whereas pork and, above all, chickens are treated with drugs, especially antibiotics (this is unfortunately true in whole America. In Europe rules are much stricter than they are on this side of the Atlantic).
The worst meat is found in big grocery stores chains like Exito that buys frozen chickens wherever in the world they cost less and injects them with salty water (the “marinatura”) to make it heavier (so you pay water as it was meat).
Milk and diaries are not better: milk is first deprived of fat to make butter and filled again with lower quality fat and other cheap ingredients to give milky water the aspect of real milk again. As I said this is not unique of Colombia, unfortunately. I just wanted to share this knowledge.
Quite rich from prople raised on baked beans, yoghurt and oven chips. The thing is we dont feel the need to use 4 types of peppers , a blender and 3 hours to make a soup . simple and nutritous. We dont care what your midget barefoo indian wife says tbh we rather a sancocho than heart skewers , mash potato and chicken and dont need to throw everything in our pantry to cook some llama . Go eat in someones home that doesnt earn 50 dollars a week. Thats like comparing a pub burger to a homemade bbq .Just because you went to colombia does not give you credibility to talk nonesense you did not grow up in a colombian home you have not visited everywhere. bullshit that its common to nibble on panela , You must have vidited a prison.Just by the processed arepas you showed i can tell you dont know much. Nothing wrong with not enjoying the flavors but to claim the food is completely bland is bonkers. Potato , tough meat and plantain is not eaten everyday and if it is the person is either really poor or lazy . I eat sibrebarriga , higado en cebollado, arroz con coco , zapallo guisado,churasco asado con chimmichurri. None of which need a sack of spices or bottled soy sauce to be enjoyed unlike the idiot that laughed at boiled plantian .Remember we arent the nation that mascred and raped for some tea bags and paprika .
sweetie you are descended from the conquerors from spain . hello cortez and pizarro, i know you are not trying shame someone else on having conquering ancestors.
Oh come on. Maybe Colombian food isn’t the most exciting in the world, but it’s good. You can’t leave out the pastries. Palito de Queso, pan de queso, all the pastries with guava and cheese or arequipe and cheese, areapa de queso with lecherita on top?
Sure, there’s crap food in Colombia. And stodgy bland plates of ACPM. But those fresh white arepas with the bubbles on one side with melted butter on them. F&*$ing delightful. And you are mad not to like Colombian perros calientes, which are an improvement on the original, and even better if you get a chori-perro instead of a hot dog, and get it stuffed with ham and cheese, but you seem like the type that doesn’t even dig below the surface to see what people are actually eating. And Colombian ceviche? Sure, it’s shrimp and ketchup and stuff, but hell, shrimp cocktail made with fresh shrimp on a streetcorner for next to nothing is something I’d be positively giddy to be able to find back here in the states. You’re a twat.
Yup Agreed I think Col is a twat, I also think you are a twat Andrew, there, feel better now?
I just arrived in the Land of Fools thank fuck I got a return ticket now where the devil did I put it?? Shit, Emergency!!!
In a way, I’m appriciative of this bland cuisine. The people in Colombia are slim and healthy, not fat like Americans and Mexicans BECAUSE the boring food does not give incentive to over-eat. The food is mostly natural and unprocessed, though not too tasty, so you just eat your fill and go. And they do a lot of walking. It’s a fair trade-off. Once the food gets good, the waists lines will start to bulge, and bye-bye beautiful women. The women in America are not ugly, they are just fat. Take a cute skinny person, make them fat, and see how attractive they are. American drive thru fast foods are very tasty, but with everybody sitting in their cars stuffing their faces with laboratory produced flavors . . . well, enough said. If you want great food go to Mexico City.
Now this is a good point, with Colombian food, even eating their burgers, hot dogs and the occasional Bandeja Paisa, I lost a significant amount of weight in Colombia (with walking everywhere and joining that posh gym chain of theirs – forgot the name for now…) the food is healthy enough and you’ll lose weight on it or maintain a healthy weight for sure.
Peruvian food is wonderful, probably one of Latin America’s best cuisines but I always had the shits there – whereas in Colombia never had the shits apart from the once when I went to a Peruvian restaurant!
I’m so puzzled by this article. I was born in Chicago to Colombian parents from Barranquilla, and I used to go every summer, and the food was spectacular. Maybe you have to grow up with something to appreciate it? The way only southerners enjoy pickled pigs feet? My mother usually cooked elaborate meals that always included rice, some kind of legume, some kind of protein, and salad. Our salad always had to include lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, and avocado. Our legumes were always seasoned with plenty of garlic, sofrito, and cumin. I love American food as well, but I don’t feel that Americans understand how to make rice, and shredded lettuce with 1 grape tomato is not a salad. If there is one critique that I have, it is that Latinos tend to overcook meat until it is shoe leather, and actually prefer it that way. I eat my meat American style, medium rare. My family can’t stand to see me eat meat and get grossed out over this. But the seasoning itself is wonderful. The arepas I ate were usually deep fried, and my favorite were the sweet ones with aniseed. Deep frying is kind of a cheat, though. If I bread and deep fry my shoe, it will taste good. Maybe coastal Carribean food in Barranquilla is very different to the food in the interior, in Bogota. Oh well, nobody likes everything, that’s why god made chocolate and vanilla…
The article along with some of the comments indicates that they are sampling meals from low end places. It’s like saying the food in the U.S. is horrible when using 7-Eleven as a reference.
– Some places serve ACPM with a side of hogao to put on the steak and over the red skin potatoes once you cut them in half. Most places also serve pique or is available upon request which can also be served over the potatoes. The “maduros” are to be served ripe which makes them sweet and compliments the dish. White rice is not seasoned with garlic; it’s seasoned with salt and oil. Fresh rice has much better taste and texture than day old rice which is what you are probably being served in those low end restaurants. Since more than half the world eats white rice, I believe your frequented restaurant is the issue.
– You need to learn about Arepas; there are numerous types and styles. Plus, some of them can be stuffed or topped with various ingredients. The small ones served as a side, are supposed to be warm, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. If you are getting cold stiff arepas, you’re again eating at the wrong places. It’s like eating old sliced bread and saying all bread is horrible.
– Patacones when properly seasoned and prepared make for an exciting canvas for other ingredients. Even eating them with salt alone offer great taste. Again, if they are not fresh or properly prepared, they can ruin a dish. Most of South America including the Caribbean eat Patacones on a regular bases.
– Pamela offers great flavor to drinks and dishes. Saying Panela is bad is like saying that eating a spoonful of salt is nasty or that eating a stick of butter is disgusting. You sound very ignorant when discussing this ingredient.
– If you’re eating doughy Buñuelos and Pandebonos, then your are really eating at the cheapest places. They are supposed to be at least 50% cheese.
– Paying 4,000 pesos for a tamal says it all. Colombian tamales don’t fall under the Mexican or Peruvian umbrella; they are completely different. They are not supposed to be small like the aforementioned.
– The fact that you served bananas in a sancocho shows how little you know about food. Sancocho and Ajiaco are hearty soups that are often served as a meal and not usually as appetizers. They are popular at Colombian restaurants in the U.S. because they are not common elsewhere. Based on your article, you probably rated clam chowder from a low rated diner and never have tried it in New England.
– I agree Peruvian ceviche is the best in the world but the image you have is a misrepresentation of what Colombian Ceviche is. You are clearly eating at the wrong places.
Eating low grade ACPM everyday indicates that you’re on a very strict and low budget which means that this article has little to no credibility. Colombia does offer great food for those on a budget but it looks like your are eating from a dumpster. The only credible thing in this article is that you spelled Colombia correctly but I give Spell Check credit for that.
The food at 7/11 is not horrible. My brother travels abroad frequently and prefers to buy his food at 7/11 over the local places because the food is reliable and safe compared to the local places. I have a friend in the US with quite a bit of money yet often buys sandwiches at 7/11 because he thinks they’re good. Their pizza is good deal for the price, and the coffee is great! McDonald’s, now that’s another story, I don’t get the appeal: taste like plastic and overpriced.
Makes sense to buy food from reliable sources when abroad and in countries where food safety laws are more laxed; but, saying your friend has plenty of money but chooses to eat at 7/11 is an oxymoron.
Apparently, there are a lot of bad and cheap restaurants in Colombia. In a country with a rich food culture, you wouldn’t have to spend at higher end places to eat happily. This is a point you’ve made here, that in Col. we have spend a bit more to get something good, the regular places just don’t cut it. Oh well, we don’t go there for the food. It’s not a deal breaker. At least the food is healthy, and so are the people. It’s a great country nonetheless.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat “good” food in Colombia as there are plenty of good “regular” places that know how to prepare simple ingredients without taking corners. There are also many who cook out of their homes and call it a restaurant with no regulations. The article loses credibility because its obvious or better yet lack of sources. I’m not saying the food is good or bad but the author obviously embellished to keep with his theme. It’s like me eating a poorly prepared dried burger and saying that all burgers in the U.S. are horrible.
I´m not an expert in food things. I eat when I´m hungry, but I know for sure when something is disgusting.
My girlfriend is from the United States and her oldest relatives are from Germany. She was in my country for the very first time in October, last year, and obviously I took her to several restaurants and fast food places.
She loved everything !!!
And just to give you an example, she now makes “Changüa” at home, because it´s one of her favorite colombian dishes, with tamal and lechona.
This article is poor, sad and completely unfair.
I just think the guy who wrote this didn´t do the task properly. I just don´t know where the guy is from, but let´s imagine he is from the USA…I´d love to sent him my article about the 3 months I spent in the USA last year and went to several places to get food.
If I decided to write about the buffets and needed a title, it would probably be:
“Fill your stomach with all of garbage you can for less than 10 dollars”
But, obviously I wouldn´t do that, because I did the task and went to some other places and I know buffets in the USA are not the only option, -unless you just want to eat, and eat, and eat- and they don´t represent american kitchens.
The article from this guy is sad, I feel bad for him and I just try to understand the source of his poison.
Did A colombian girl or boy break his heart?
Didn´t the guy know we have several types of arepas. We have sweet corn arepas (called arepas de choclo) we have yellow cheesy arepas, we have arepas filled with many things … but the guy chose a pic of some white arepas, that we call “arepas paisas” and they have no flavor, that´s true…but BECAUSE we eat with bandeja paisa, with salt and butter, or with salt, butter and cheese … but he chose the arepas with nothing…He WANTED to show a bad side.
Obviously, the problem is that nowadays everybody thinks that having a camera and the fact of learning a few words in primary school makes you a journalist !
Poor guy !
His soul is really black, his life is full of pain and sorrow. With his story I clean my Colin !
I’m still confusing why colombian food are not good to eat? But as I read those comments I realized that not all foods are bad to eat instead some of it. Thank you for sharing this. Keep on posting more blogs here. Hope it! God bless.
I like Colombian foods, yummiest and delicious. But I mostly like french foods because aside from yummiest and delicious it contain healthy ingredients. It all made by natural way they added some herbs like nigella sativa or haarlem oil. But Colombian foods are my favorite when I visited in Colombia last year before the Pandemic hits the world.
Interesting…obviously not a food channel article …but funny. It did sound a little vengeful. I don’t know if that is what you were going for or if it is just how you express yourself. Either one is ok. I was born in Colombia but grew up in the US and I have travelled around the world. I think there are only 10 countries I haven not visited and it has given me the chance to try a lot of food. I like 1 or 2 dishes in Colombia, but it is definitely not my favourite. The best food is Thai, Indian and Mexican. The rest is just a little boring and plain. Of course, I cannot be so presumptuous to say I have tried everything but…..To each their own.
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 😦
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
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
We are talking about food. No need to bring your incel issues here. You’re internationally unwanted
Incel: lame unattractive guy who spend too much of his time calling women hookers/whores because they do not want him.
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.
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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.
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
why don’t you people learn to cook? you have all the necessary ingredients… improve your food, then people wouldn’t complain…
LikeLiked by 1 person
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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
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.
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
usted ni puede hablar español… hagame el favor y aprende el idioma antes de echar criticas a toda la cocina de un pais!!
finally someone with taste glands
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.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Yall are toxic as hell
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??
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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”
LikeLiked by 1 person
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.
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.
LikeLiked by 2 people
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
Lololololol, okay little guy
LikeLiked by 1 person
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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
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).
VIVA MEXICO CABRONES!!!!
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
“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.
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.
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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).
LikeLiked by 1 person
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dUduiV7UDI MY BAD HERES THE LINK YALL SHES SELLING DELICIOUS COLOMBIAN FOOD OUT HER APT IN BROOKLYN ❤
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.
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
LikeLiked by 1 person
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
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
Dude my bad – missed your entire post on arepas!
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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.
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.
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.
Obviosly you have no idea what are you talking about
Friend YOU ARE NOT CHEF RAMSEY or chef Timor or Gastón Acurio. YOUR OPINION Don’t MATTER
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.
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 😅
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Russia has worse food but colombia is definitely near the bottom.
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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.
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.
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
“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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
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
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.
When I go to Colombia, from Europe – a country where we do have real and tasty cuisine -, I always book two weeks more to travel to Mexico or Peru (real good food).
Colombia is really a nightmare for people who enjoy eating well and not bland.
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.
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.
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.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Glad I’m not the only one. Their food is the worst in the 45 countries Ive traveled too!
LikeLiked by 1 person
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 😥
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.
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.
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.
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.
They clearly do care, or there wouldn’t be so many comments on this post!
this article is good old gringo classism and generalisation.
Well, that’s unfortunately true.
When you come from a country with real gastronomy – Southern Europe, Asia, Middle East, etc. – you’ll find colombian cuisine so bland that you’ll have to fly to Mexico or Peru in order to find some real food.
I stumbled on this article trying to figure out why the hell they call ketchup “salsa de tomate” after getting into an argument with my colombian girlfriend and her family because I refuse to call it that in Spanish lol I’m not italian but I make pizzas for a living and am from NY and said how pretty much any Italian would be truly offended hearing ketchup being called that. They countered by saying that what I was talking about is “pasta de tomate” but I explained how that’s tomato paste, not tomato sauce. NY has a big italian cultural influence so I get that I’m biased because of that but it genuinely bothers me that they call it tomato sauce when every other spanish speaking country just calls it ketchup. I pride myself on healthy eating and I gotta say, it’s super hard to eat healthy in colombia. There’s sugar in everything and people look at you like you’re crazy if you just wanna drink water all the time. def agree with this article and got a good laugh from it. The food in colombia is straight mid at best and inedible at worst. I just don’t get why they have to drown everything in poor quality sauces, it’s really hard to hide my reactions sometimes to the food. Compared to cuisine from other latin countries, specifically México, the food in colombia is just pathetic in my opinion. It’s also so true that all the colombians that talk up their food have never been outside colombia. My girlfriend says mexican food is bad but she’s never actually been to mexico. The “Mexican” food in colombia is a very poor imitation of the real thing so I get why she doesn’t like it. It’s honestly super frustrating trying to explain all this. Colombia is a beautiful country and generally the people are nice but there’s just so much ignorance surrounding food and other things. Glad I found this article so I could vent as well 🤣
I totally agree the food here is really bad. I had the worst burger, steak, tacos and pizza I have ever had in my life here. They always find a way to screw up the food.
After 8 years in Colombia , I can safely say the food sucks . Sure , when you are really hungry , you might find something tasty . Just like when you open a can of split pea soup in the middle of January . But put their food in a taste test against the world’s best and it’s a joke . Sure I have great memories of my mom’s meatloaf or pot roast and wouldn’t mind some right now , but I wouldn’t brag about it .
I have to say that, while I wouldn’t like it from a can, homemade split pea soup in the winter is damn good. Meatloaf and pot roast too!
Your post made me laugh because it’s the Truth, I never understood why a country like Colombia with so many quality fruits and vegetables lacks of a good cuisine. Hopefully in the next 40 years they will adapt to globalization and borrow some good cooking methods from other countries. Mexico is a starter 🙂
Anyway that’s a reality for all S.America and the Caribbeans(only Mexico is spared) and african countries, ACPM is a dish that needs to be eradicated
The Cocido Boyacense is considered the top of the top by colombians, it’s basically a mixture of many indigestable foods like root vegetables and they throw in anything . This reminds me of paesants food that our ancestors had because of poverty and also they had to work many hours in the fields, but an abundant tropical country like Colombia with potential of quality raw products has this as top menu…that’s a shame
Not all of South America. I would argue, as would many, that Peruvian is Latin America’s best cuisine. It’s Peru or Mexico. No other contenders.