Eat like a Local: 6 Traditional Colombian Breakfast Dishes
Colombians are used to having a proper breakfast every morning. The kind of breakfast depends widely on the region, weather, and culture. You won’t see any decadent almond croissants or eggs benedicts, but instead local ingredients full of flavor and tradition.
Here are 6 of the most traditional Colombian breakfast dishes:
Arepas are a national dish in Colombia. It’s eaten all over the country. It’s similar to a crunchy corn cake and can be topped with countless ingredients. Colombian’s favorite topping? Cheese! They also add avocado, “hogao” a simple tomato and green onion sauce that cooks on low heat to let the flavors blend while the vegetables swim in their own juices. The taste can be soft and cheesy but also crispy or sweet as there are many varieties of Arepas in a traditional Colombian breakfast. The most popular ones are from Medellin, arepas paisas, or Arepa con huevo which is a deep-fried arepa with an egg inside, the go-to food for northern Colombians.
Basically, leftovers reheated for breakfast. Calentao’ literally means “heated” but nowadays is one of the most popular and delicious Colombian breakfasts, and is even served in restaurants. It usually comes with a large bowl of rice, some type of beans, eggs, or other available protein, salad, and also arepas! Colombians make sure to start the day with a little extra energy.
This dish is originally from Venezuela but nowadays it’s a national dish. Tamales are wrapped in a green plantain leaf and on the inside there’s usually up to 3 kinds of meat mixed with a doughy variety of cornflour and vegetables. Tolima is a popular region for Tamal lovers as the tastiest ones seem to come from that region of the country.
Changua is a comforting breakfast soup made with poached eggs, milk, green onions, and coriander. Because it’s served really hot, changua is especially popular in cold Colombian weather like in Bogotá or Pasto. A very warm start to the day!
Caldo de Costilla
The national hangover dish, this rib broth is prepared by boiling beef ribs with carrots, potato slices, garlic, onion, and cilantro leaves, making a hearty and warming soup. People often eat this traditional Colombian dish with arepas or bread.
Chocolate con pan
In English hot chocolate with bread is what most Colombians have for breakfast every day. Hot chocolate in Colombia comes in bars ready to boil with milk or water until getting a thick and creamy beverage. If you want to experience this Colombian breakfast like a local, once you have it served, try adding some cheese and soak the bread in it. While you’re drinking it, the cheese will melt and you’ll have a salty yet delicious surprise in your very last sip.