Growing up as a Colombian-American, I was lucky enough to have the best of both worlds. I would always watch my friends be overcome with outrageous amounts of jealousy during lunch time when I would pull out the strange, yet delicious, meal that my mom had packed for me that day.

I would watch my friends’ eyes widen as they compared their boring sandwiches to my different and strangely appealing meals. Since I have always been a bit of a food pusher, I would share the love of Colombian food and make friends try my lunch.

It got to the point where it became a routine. I would have to bring extra and I didn’t care because I felt like the Anthony Bourdain of the group, always introducing new things. From my experiences and from what my friends have told me, these foods are some of the reasons why you’ll wish you grew up colombian.

1. Buñuelos


Photo by Daniela Fortich

Not only are these bad boys fun to look at with their odd Pokémon shape, but they are also extremely delicious – they’re just giant fried balls of dough. These tasty creations had the potential to end friendships; if I brought one for one person and not another it was as if I was declaring war. You can find this beauty at any Colombian bakery, or, if you’re ever in Queens, you can just stop by Cafe y Algo Mas.

2. Arepas De Huevo


Photo by Andred Villarreal Arango

Colombia is no ordinary country. When Colombians want to do something they figure out the best, most interesting way of doing it. This explains why they can’t eat their eggs the way everyone else does. No, instead they have to wrap it in dough and fry it to create the most delicious, fattening breakfast a person can have.

3. La Bandeja Paisa


Photo by Ricardo Sanchez

This dish is your go to when you don’t have much money but you still want to last the day without having to be hungry again. This dish is packed with rice, beans, egg, avocado, sausage and beef. When you order this dish, you probably can take some home with you. It’s worth the food coma you’ll have afterwards, because once you start you won’t be able to stop yourself. You can find this meal at Dulce Vida Cafe.

4. Arroz con Coco


Photo courtesy of @iana.mar on Instagram

If you’re bored of having plain, old white rice then you should definitely give this plate a try. This dish will have you questioning why you weren’t eating this rice to begin with. You can find this meal at any Colombian event and it will always be the talk of the party.

5. Patacones Con Queso


Photo by Brendan R Davis

If you don’t want something heavy, but rather something to snack on, then this meal is the way to go. They are flattened and fried green plantains. They are so much better than regular chips and once you have these you won’t ever want to buy another ordinary bag of chips again.

6. Flan


Photo by Daniela Fortich

Flan is a dessert known in many hispanic cultures but Colombians make it a little differently. Colombian flan is more like a Jell-o custard and is the most delicious thing ever. If you went to a Colombian event and they didn’t have flan, they aren’t real Colombians.

7. Hamburgers and Hotdogs


Photo by Bella Tatiana

Alright you may say that hamburgers are not colombian, which is true, but the way colombians eat them is a little different than the ordinary hamburgers and hotdogs. Colombians like to add cheese, sauce and spices to create a truly magnificent creation. You can find one of these beauties at La Perrada de Chalo.