As college students, one of the best opportunities we have is to travel abroad. While there are several factors that go into picking a destination, like major and native language, the real deciding factor lies behind the food.
Being born in Colombia, I am a little biased towards Bogota, but that also means I can tell you where to look for the best of the best. Check these out next time your walking along these South American streets. You won’t regret it.
Crepes & Waffles is a must whether you’re here for a month or less than 24 hours (don’t worry, they have a handy dandy location at the airport). Among the most popular dishes is the Chicken, Broccoli, & Cheese Crepe – which is like eating chicken alfredo’s fancier and much more upscale brother.
But if I’m being honest, the real reason this place is the bomb.com is thanks to their desserts. With over 50 different combinations of crepes and waffles filled with fruit and ice cream, it can really take a toll on you. If you have trouble making decisions in life, I would take three deep breaths before diving in. You may even want to check out their dessert menu before getting there.
Some words of advice: Ice cream in Colombia is always a safe bet, and if you’re feeling risky, go with the ice cream made from fruit native to South America. Favorites include maracuya and lychees.
For all you history buffs out there, La Puerta Falsa is a pit stop that’s one for the books. Opening its doors almost 200 years ago, legend has it that Simón Bolívar would come enjoy some hot chocolate here with his beloved Manuelita. If you’re searching for that 100 percent traditional Colombian food experience, La Puerta Falsa hasn’t changed its menu since 1816, so authenticity is guarantied. People from different parts of the world come to just visit La Puerta Falsa; it’s all over travel blogs and always a top recommendation from natives.
Now as an American, I want you to forget everything you think you know about hot chocolate because in Colombia, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game. Made simply from cacao beans, water, sugar, and cinnamon, it’ll put that Nesquick to shame. If you really want to score some extra points with the natives, dip your bread in your hot chocolate — trust me when I say it’s life changing.
3. Fruit Salad
Now it doesn’t matter where you eat it, but don’t you dare leave Colombia without eating as much fruit as you can. God blessed that land to produce some of the most incredible, sweet, and exotic looking fruit you’ve ever seen.
Best part about it? It’s uber cheap, and it’s available everywhere.Whether it’s in a juice or straight off a tree, the fruit here is one of the most satisfying things to eat.
If you want to go all in, try a salpicon– a fruit mix including apples, strawberries, and banana, as well as some native fruits like maracuya, lulo, and uchuvas all put in a cup with natural squeezed fruit juice. No matter where you find yourself, there’s always a someone selling it on the street.
Speaking of great Colombian street food, Colombia also knows a thing or two about fried food. This perfect round ball of fried cheesy dough called a buñelo is only a small fraction of what’s out there. You can tell it’s good one when there’s grease permanently stuck on your hand for two days.
Can’t make the trip out? No worries, you can cook other greasy favorites including empanadas and arepas in the comfort of your home.
If you’re lucky enough to have some home cooked meals, hopefully you’ll score Ajiaco. This is the definition of Colombian comfort food that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s not your ordinary soup as it’s loaded with three different types of potatoes, herbs, and chicken.
Usually served with avocado, corn on the cob, and rice, it’ll make you feel like your mommy made it. Although homemade is the best option, don’t worry, almost every restaurant in Bogota sells it.
6. El Galapago
If you’re a vegetarian, I would just skip this part, it might get a little gory. El Galapago is a restaurant located about 45 minutes away from Bogota in a city called Chia. It’s a real meat-lovers dream, so I recommend eating a light breakfast to be able to finish your dinner plate. They please all types of cravings whether you want a burger the size of a small child or a juicy ribeye, they’ve got you covered.
If you want to score even more points with the natives, order morcilla as an appetizer. Morcilla is also known as blood sausage, and while I know the name is a little off-putting, you’re in a foreign country, so man up and take a risk– it’s worth it, trust me.
Safe travels, but most importantly, happy eating!