top thing to eat in bogota - the top thing

The Top Thing to Eat: Bogota

Written: The Top Thing Staff | October 18, 2023


Traditional Colombian Dishes

If you find yourself in Bogota, Colombia, get ready for some mouthwatering culinary delights! The city is known for its vibrant food scene, offering a wide array of delicious traditional dishes that will satisfy any food lover. Here are two must-try dishes when visiting Bogota:

1. Ajiaco

Ajiaco is Bogota’s famous chicken and potato soup. This hearty soup is made with three types of potatoes: chicken, corn, and guascas (a local herb), and is topped with capers, cream, and avocado. The combination of flavors creates a rich and flavorful broth that will warm your soul. Ajiaco is a staple dish in Bogota, representing the city’s cultural heritage and culinary tradition.

2. Bandeja Paisa

Bandeja Paisa is a hearty dish that originated in the Paisa region of Colombia but has become a favorite in Bogota. It consists of a generous portion of beans, rice, ground beef, chicharrón (crispy pork belly), fried egg, plantains, avocado, and arepa (a cornmeal patty). This dish is a true feast that will leave you satisfied and craving for more.

When in Bogota, don’t miss the opportunity to try these traditional Colombian dishes. They are not only delicious, but they also reflect the city’s unique gastronomy. Whether you are exploring the vibrant streets or sitting down at a local restaurant, these dishes will give you a taste of the Colombian culture and leave you with lasting memories of your trip. ¡Buen provecho!


Street Food Delights

When visiting Bogota, you simply cannot miss out on trying some of the amazing street food offerings. From delicious local staples to unique treats, the streets of Bogota are filled with culinary delights that will tantalize your taste buds.

1. Arepas

Arepas are a must-try when it comes to Colombian street food. These delicious corn cakes are made from ground maize dough and can be filled with a variety of ingredients, such as cheese, meat, or beans. They are then grilled or fried to perfection, resulting in a crispy exterior and a soft and flavorful center. Whether you prefer them as a savory snack or a hearty meal, arepas are sure to satisfy your cravings.

2. Churros

If you have a sweet tooth, then churros are a must-have treat in Bogota. These delightful fried dough snacks are sprinkled with sugar and often served with a side of rich and creamy hot chocolate for dipping. The combination of the crispy churros and the indulgent chocolate sauce is simply irresistible. Whether enjoyed as a morning snack or an evening dessert, churros are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet cravings.

From the savory flavors of arepas to the sugary goodness of churros, Bogota’s street food scene offers something for every palate. So, make sure to explore the local food stalls and carts during your visit to Bogota and indulge in these street food delights that will leave you wanting more.


Fusion Cuisine in Bogota

1. Ceviche

If you find yourself in Bogota, make sure to try the ceviche. This popular dish is a refreshing seafood delight with a Colombian twist. The fresh fish or shrimp is marinated in lime juice, mixed with onions, cilantro, and sometimes tomatoes or avocado. The combination of flavors creates a burst of tanginess that will leave your taste buds craving for more. Whether you’re a seafood lover or not, ceviche is a must-try culinary experience in Bogota.

2. Lulo Juice

Another must-have in Bogota is Lulo juice. This tropical fruit drink is unique to Colombia and is a perfect refreshment on a hot day. The lulo fruit has a tangy and citrusy flavor, similar to a mix of lime and pineapple. The juice is sweetened with a touch of sugar or honey, making it a deliciously refreshing and rejuvenating drink. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in this exotic beverage and quench your thirst in Bogota.

So, when you visit Bogota, don’t forget to experience the fusion of flavors that the city has to offer. Dive into the tanginess of ceviche and savor the tropical sweetness of Lulo juice. These culinary delights are just a glimpse of the vibrant food scene in Bogota, where diverse flavors come together to create unforgettable gastronomic experiences. Enjoy your food journey in this captivating city!


Sweet Treats and Desserts

If you have a sweet tooth, Bogota is a culinary delight. Here are two must-try sweet treats and desserts that will satisfy your cravings in the Colombian capital.

1. Obleas

Imagine a thin wafer filled with velvety dulce de leche, topped with your choice of ingredients like shredded coconut, sprinkles, or fruits. Obleas are a popular street food in Bogota, offering a delightful combination of flavors and textures. Make sure to try this mouthwatering treat during your visit.

2. Buñuelos

Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, buñuelos are fried dough balls with a surprise cheese center. These savory-sweet treats are a traditional Colombian delicacy that you won’t be able to resist. Enjoy them as a snack or as a dessert, and savor the unique blend of flavors.

Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of La Candelaria or wandering through the vibrant neighborhoods of Chapinero, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in these delectable sweet treats. They are not only delicious but also a part of the local culinary culture.


Unique Drinks in Bogota

1. Aguardiente

Aguardiente is a traditional Colombian alcoholic beverage that is popular in Bogota and throughout the country. It is made by distilling sugarcane and flavoring it with anise. This clear spirit has a distinct licorice taste that you either love or hate. Locals often enjoy aguardiente during celebrations, parties, or as a refreshing drink on a warm day. Don’t forget to try it in a traditional shot glass called a “shotico”!

2. Chicha

Chicha is a non-alcoholic drink made from fermented maize or corn. It has been part of Colombian culture for centuries and is still enjoyed today. The drink has a sweet and tangy taste with a slightly thick consistency. You can find Chicha in traditional markets or street stalls throughout Bogota, especially in the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria.


Recommendations for exploring Bogota’s culinary scene

  1. Ajiaco: This hearty traditional soup is a must-try when in Bogota. Made with chicken, three different types of potatoes, corn, and a Colombian herb called guascas, it is a delicious and comforting dish.

  2. Bandeja Paisa: A signature dish of the region, Bandeja Paisa is a plate filled with various components like beans, rice, ground beef, fried pork belly, plantains, and avocado. It is a feast of flavors and textures.

  3. Lechona: Lechona is a whole roasted pig stuffed with rice, peas, onions, and spices. The result is a succulent and flavorful dish that is often served at special occasions and celebrations.

  4. Arepas: Arepas are a staple in Colombian cuisine and come in various forms. These cornmeal patties are often filled with cheese, meat, or eggs and are a perfect snack or meal on the go.

  5. Chicha: For a traditional Colombian beverage, try chicha. This fermented corn drink is sweet and refreshing, and it is a great way to cool off in Bogota’s warm weather.

  6. Empanadas: Empanadas are a popular street food snack in Bogota. These fried or baked pastries are filled with various ingredients like meat, cheese, or vegetables, and they are a delicious grab-and-go option.

Remember to explore the local food markets and street food stalls to find hidden gems and try different dishes. Bogota’s culinary scene is vibrant and diverse, offering something for every palate. So, pack your appetite and get ready to indulge in the flavors of Bogota!