Are you planning to come to Medellín? Or are you already in Medellín taking Spanish classes, but you feel you do not know that much about the city and its people? There is no better way to get a Colombian immersion than through its food. Here we have some recommendations, so you can taste some dishes and some drinks, experiencing a Medellin food tour that you will surely enjoy into during your stay in this city.
In this article, you’ll find:
Medellin food tour: Arepa blanca
This is, without a doubt, the star accompaniment of Antioquian meals. The main ingredient for breakfast, lunch and even dinner: the arepa is an icon of the region. An icon from immemorial time that has passed from generation to generation, feeding Colombian families, especially families from Antioquia. The arepa blanca is a round disc made with corn. On some occasions, the arepa also has cheese inside it. Arepa is used to accompany meals and can be mixed with other flavors, such as stews, butter, cream cheese, among others, to delight your palate. If you are taking Spanish classes in Medellín, do not forget to buy arepas to take back to your country when you return, because we are sure that you will become addicted to this Colombian food.
Medellin food tour: Arepa de chócolo
Now that we are talking about arepas, it is important to mention there are different types of arepas, which, of course, means that they are prepared with different ingredients. The arepa de chócolo is a sweeter arepa than the arepa blanca. The preparation of the arepa de chócolo is quite similar to the arepa blanca. However, the big difference is this arepa is made from sweet corn. Normally, this arepa is accompanied by a lot of cheese and butter. It is a perfect side dish to breakfast. You can find this food in some street food stalls. So, this is a perfect chance to taste it and test your Spanish classes in a real context.
Medellin food tour: Bandeja paisa
This is maybe the most important dish of the region – the most known meal the paisa culture. This dish has: rice, beans, ground beef, chicharrón (pork), chorizo, blood sausage, egg, arepa, salad, and plantain slices. In some places, you can also find the beans together with hogao: a tomato and onion-based sauce to give more flavor to the food. This is a must in your Colombian Spanish immersion. However, we should highlight that this dish is not for everyone. If you have a sensitive stomach, we recommend you to choose its ingredients carefully because there is no way you can leave Colombia without tasting this dish at least once. Or you can also taste this dish and then go for a walk to help your digestion.
Medellin food tour: Mazamorra paisa
If there is a food that is an icon of the gastronomic culture of Antioquia, it is the mazamorra. If you are in popular neighborhoods of Medellin, you can hear street vendors yelling “mazamorra paisa” (remember that paisa is a word used in Colombia to call people who live in Antioquia). But what is mazamorra? This Colombian dish is basically: corn boiled in water without salt and milk. This dish is usually eaten with a bocadillo (sweet guava) or blanquiao’ (sweet sugar cane). As impossible as it may seem, traditionally the mazamorra is eaten after the bandeja paisa. This is a delicious combination, trust us! In addition, in many places in Medellin you have the option of ordering only claro, which is the milk broth where the corn is cooked for the mazamorra. This dish is a must if you learn Spanish in Medellín.
Medellin food tour: Calentao
Calentao is one of the most popular meals in Colombian homes. Specially, in those families in which they usually cook in large quantities, either because it is a large family, or simply because it is a family that loves meals in fairly generous portions. But what is it about? Well, calentao is a dish served for breakfast which contains the food that was not eaten the day before. Normally, it is made up of rice, beans and, of course, it is accompanied by a white arepa and sometimes a fried egg or eggs with tomato and onion. There is something very special about this breakfast and it is that its flavor seems to improve with the passing of the night: simply delicious! If you are a person who enjoys large breakfasts to start the day with energy, this is the dish for you. There is no better way to start the day with such a traditional Colombian cultural immersion.
Medellin food tour: Huevos con aliño
The huevos con aliño are one of the most common and widespread dishes throughout Colombia. It is very difficult to conceive Colombian food without this dish that is usually served for breakfast. In Antioquia, huevos con aliño is the combination of eggs with tomato and onion. It seems simple, but it is a very special name because in other cities of Colombia, such as Bogotá, this dish is called huevos pericos. So, bay saying its name you can prove the place where your Spanish lessons have taken place. For this reason, if your goal is learning Spanish in Medellin, don’t forget to order your huevos con aliño at the restaurant or hotel. Depending on the place, this dish may be accompanied by a delicious arepa blanca, butter and cheese.
Medellin food tour: Morcilla
Morcilla is a food made, traditionally and industrially, in different parts of Colombia. However, it is a very popular food in the palates of the people of Antioquia. The morcilla is made from blood, pork fat, rice and some spices such as onion, salt, garlic, among others. These ingredients are cooked and stuffed into a pig, cow or synthetic intestine. This is accompanied with some arepa blanca and, for the most traditional paisas, with a cold beer.
Medellin food tour: Aguardiente antioqueño
One of the most important liquors in the region, besides Ron Añejo de Medellín. It is a liqueur distilled from sugar cane – it also has aniseed. Here it is a good idea to talk about aguardiente because of its popularity within the culture of the Antioquia region and its consumption in Medellin’s festivities. Although the flavor of the aguardiente can be a bit strong in the first shots, aguardiente is a perfect company to enjoy your party moments in this city. This drink is also part of the Colombian language.
Guandolo or guarapo
it is a typical drink that you will run into in most restaurants of Medellín. This drink is a combination of panela, water and a little lemon. Traditionally, it is left to be fermented for a day before being consumed. This is the ideal drink for hot days where hydration is pretty important to enjoy your stay in Medellín. We invite you to learn how to prepare this drink so that you can enjoy this Colombian flavor wherever you are. Tasting guarapo is experiencing a Colombian immersion.
Likely you have heard that Colombia produces a high-quality coffee, which is 100% true. Tinto is a Colombian word we use to talk about a cup of coffee. Do not get confused with “vino tinto” (red wine), as it is a mistake made by some tourists or students. El tinto is the ideal work companion to have energy at different times of the day. Colombians usually drink tinto in the mornings to “wake up” and after having lunch to not be sleepy, which it often occurs after this meal. Some more traditional Colombians tend to accompany the tinto with a cigarette. Do not be surprised if during your Spanish lessons in Medellin you are offered a tinto or you see your teacher drinking tinto, as it is part of the Colombian culture.
Aguapanela is a drink that you will run into many places in South America and some areas in Central America. To prepare this drink, it is necessary to talk about panela. La panela is a type of sugar that is extracted directly from the juice of sugar cane and is made by hand without refining and bleaching.
To prepare aguapanela, you need to put some panela in water until it boils. Once you have the mix, it can be accompanied with a little lemon. This drink can be enjoyed hot or cold. Some Colombians use this drink, with other ingredients such as honey, like a home remedy to fight against different flu symptoms or throat conditions.
When we talk about the culture of a city or a country, without a doubt we have to talk about its gastronomic offer, among other elements. For this reason, we invite you to enjoy each of these wonders of Colombian gastronomic culture while you travel in Antioquia. Do not hesitate to take Spanish classes to learn what you need to be able to ask for these food or drinks in restaurants or interact with people who sell or offer these products on street food stalls. You will enjoy tasting each of these while you learn Spanish in Medellin.