8 Colombian Foods You Must Try In Cartagena
Cartagena is definitely a foodie destination on the travel map. Here is my list of must-try foods in Cartagena and where to find it.
But first…What makes a perfect foodie destination?
Here are some of the main ingredients:
- Unique fresh ingredients and local produce
- Plenty of chefs
- Culinary history
Cartagena fits the list perfectly. The Colombian city has been attracting the pickiest foodie travelers for a few years now.
Not only Cartagena earned its place not he foodie travelers map, it comes with a whole lot of bonuses:
- Renovated colonial buildings from the 1800s
- Some of the best coffee in the world
- Hip cafes and coffee shops
- Bougainvillea blooming from every other balcony
- Tropical fruit and colorful palenqueras
So, what food should you try in Cartagena?
Seafood is the name of the game here. Located right in the Caribbean, fish is abundant. Every restaurant has a freshly caught fish specialty, usually served with colorful vegetables and fragrant seasonings.
Where to eat in Cartagena?
Two main areas to find the best food, whether you are looking for. Michelin star restauant, best street food or a bistrot are:
- Getsemaní, Plaza de la Trinidad
- Walled city
Must try street food in Cartagena:
Cartagena Fritos – fried street food aka the hangover cure. You can get them in any side walk, especially around the squares.
The fried street food snacks include:
- arepas de huevo ( fried corn masa with an egg inside)
- papas rellenas (potato balls stuffed with cheese)
- carimañola de queso (yucca filled with cheese)
Super fried. Super unhealthy. Absolutely divine. And these snacks do help with a hangover!
Where to find street food in Cartagena?
Getsemani, Walled city especially near the plazas.
If you are a big fan of crispy deep-fried skins, then chicharron is the perfect snack for you. in Cartagena, the chicharron is the deep-fried pork rinds often sold on the street food with a sprinkle of delicious savory seasonings.
They are so crispy and literally melt in your mouth with the burst of bacon and pretzel flavors. You will find the friendly stalls of this delicious Chicharron almost everywhere!
Posta negra Cartagenera (steak)
Posta Negra Cartagena is the most traditional dish of the coastal areas of Columbia and is house to Cartagena. The steak is a prime cut from the beef cooked with vegetables like onions, garlic, cola, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and cumin-based dark black sauce or stew.
The name itself explains the dish. “Posta” is the Colombian meat cut that is cooking in the deep-colored stew. And “Negra Catagenera” is the name of the origin based in Cartagena. It is super savory. And has that same satisfaction you get from a fancy steak dinner.
Where to try costa negra Cartagenera?
Any higher end restaurant in Cartagena will be your best choice.
Ceviche is more like food seafood salsa with fresh onions, tomatoes, and limes and is usually served with crackers. Most type of ceviche is made with shrimps marinated in lime juice so that the acid from lime cooks the meat. It is fascinating to see the tender shrimps with no more than fresh vegetables on the top. It is spicy, fresh, and sour at the same time and so much fun to eat on a sunny day.
Where to eat ceviche in Cartagena?
Every restaurant you’ll go to in Cartagena will have ceviche on the menu. However there are many spots specializing in ceviche.
The most iconic one is La Cevicheria made famous by Anthony Bourdain.
Cancha cevicheria is my personal favorite (it’s the quality of La Cevicheria for a third of the price and without the annoying street vendors.Bonus: if you get a spot at the bar you will see how your ceviche is made. Yes! There is no kitchen for ceviche and everything is pretty cub cooked in front of you!
Colombians just love stews and soup; indeed, they have the best one we have ever tasted. Sancocho is the most popular soup in Cartagena, which is made with meat like fish, beef, and chicken and root vegetables like potatoes, plantains, and yucca, and corn on the cob on the side.
Where to eat sanchoco in Cartagena?
Sancocho is often served for Sunday lunch or brunch within the Cartagena households, and they love to have it for BBQ parties as well.
Arepa de queso
Arepa de queso is a type of arepas or empanadas. It is made of dough with cheese.
Usually, the cheese they use is Queso fresco or Queso Seco. They are often eaten with butter and more cheese on the top. It is more like a donut that you can eat with coffee or hot chocolate in cafes.
Where to eat arepas in Cartagena?
Try one from the street food vendors! It is so fluffy, sweet, and savory at the same time.
Mojarra is a fish dish that is mostly served as a whole entrée. The light, flaky fish is pan-fried as a whole and served with plantains, rice, and a lime salad on the side. Many restaurants have their own versions of the dish as well due to different fillet cuts of the fish.
Aroz con coco aka coconut rice
Arroz con coco is made with white rice, coconut milk, salt, sugar, and water. It has a deep balance of sweetness from the sugar and saltiness from the salt. Many people like it on the sweeter side and add raisins to the rice. It is often served with fish dishes. The best things about int is the contrasting flavors of savory fish with sweet and salty rice. Perfect harmony!
Mote de Queso
Mote De Queso is another soup made with cheese. You will find the crumbly cheese and root vegetables swimming in the broth.
Many versions have onions, carrots, garlic, and celery too. It is so exciting to eat and is eaten with crackers and alone with a spoon as well.
Cartagena is all about colorful buildings, white sandy beaches, lively people, and delicious food that includes lots of seafood and drinks.
Food is all about the stories about their origins. If you love to travel, you already know how food has a significant influence on the place. We had a similar experience when we visited Cartagena. The colorful port city is located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.Cartagena is all about colorful buildings, white sandy beaches, lively people, and delicious food that includes lots of seafood and drinks.
From street vendors to chefs, they have one of the most satisfying food cuisines that has a great influence on Spanish, Caribbean, and Latin American flavors. The traditional food is so welcoming that you will find the fanciest restaurant so homely that the experience of traveling and food will become unforgettable for you.
If you are willing to travel and want to explore some of those best traditional dishes of Cartagena, then you have come to the right place. Here are the top 8 dishes that you must try in Cartagena. These Cartagena foods will mesmerize you with their unique taste and make your heart sing with pure bliss and joy.