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How to Eat Your Way Through Bogota

Treat your taste buds in Colombia's colorful capital
What to Eat in Bogota, Colombia
Ajiaco | Photos: Ian Centrone

Cheesy arepas, golden empanadas and rich Arabica bean coffee are just a few of Colombia's signature culinary marks that have taken the world by storm. But the South American country offers plenty of other specialties that cater to every taste and are definitely worth a try.

If you don't feel like tackling the city's food scene on your own, seek out a Selina hotel in Bogota's hottest neighborhoods, such as La CandelariaParque 93 and Chapinero. They partner with expert local guides like The True Colombian Experience to curate authentic tours throughout the capital's colorful neighborhoods.

The next time you find yourself in Bogota, be sure to seek out these gastronomic delights, because a few extra pounds is always the best souvenir.

Soups

Colombians love their soup. Changua is a breakfast staple made with water, milk, eggs, potato and scallions. Mondongo is another favorite featuring slow-cooked tripe, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots and other vegetables. But the most popular is ajiaco—a hearty stew of chicken, potatoes, corn and guascas (herbs) served with capers, avocado and sour cream.

Colombiana 

When it comes to soft drinks in Bogota, Coca-Cola is king, but Colombiana certainly holds its own. The bright, orange-tinted soda has a unique flavor that's fruity, sweet and rounded out with nutty undertones and hints of spice. Locals also mix Colombiana with beer to make refajo—a simple but tasty drink commonly found at asados.

Cubio

Hailing from the North Andean region, cubios are ancient tubers frequently used in soups or prepared as a side dish. The white-skinned, carrot-shaped vegetables have the consistency of a potato.

Aguardiente 

Known to locals as guaro, aguardiente is an anise-flavored liqueur derived from cane sugar that's typically consumed chilled and neat. It's Colombia's most popular spirit and can be found everywhere, from Bogota's most celebrated restaurants to everyday spots.

Tamales Bogotanos

Sure, versions of the tamale can be found in almost every Hispanic culture, but Bogota's take is not to be missed. The most common recipe calls for a combination of chicken or pork belly and pork ribs combined with carrots, sweet peas, potatoes and garbanzo beans. The mixture gets wrapped in plantain leaves and boiled in salted water until cooked to perfection.

Aborrajados

It takes only one bite to understand why aborrajados are so beloved throughout Colombia. Often served as an appetizer, they're made by taking a cheese-filled plantain, dipping it in batter, and deep frying it to crispy excellence.

Obleas

Craving something sweet? Look no further than the oblea. A popular street food, the treat is essentially a round wafer sandwich filled with sweet arequipe (Colombia's version of dulce de leche). Vendors also let patrons customized their creations with all sorts of toppings, including sprinkles, shredded cheese and blackberry jam.

Chicha

There's no denying that this viscous alcoholic beverage is an acquired taste. It's made from fermented corn, which gives it a tangy, sour flavor. Chicha was originally made by the region's indigenous people and is still pervasive today.

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