Our Quick Guide to Colombian Culture
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Our Quick Guide to Colombian CulturePosted on June 19. 2015
While Colombia is home to a rich history and a bevy of beautiful beaches, to many, it’s the unique Colombian culture that makes people fall in love with this country and come back for more. Two of the most important parts of this unique culture is Colombian food and Colombian music, and here is our quick guide to both.
While there are numerous unique and tantalizing examples of Colombian food, here are a few of the most popular and/or unique:
Bandeja Paisa – The leading candidate for national dish of Colombia, Bandeja Paisa is a steaming potpourri of a plate filled with chargrilled steak, chorizo sausages, fried pork rinds, red beans and rice, fried egg, and just for good measure some fresh sliced avocado and fried plantains. Some regional variations tweak the ingredients a tad, but this list forms the basis of the dish and regardless of where you find it in Colombia, its heartiness will probably keep you full for the rest of the day.
Arepas – Arepas turn up on the side of many Colombian main dishes, and they sometimes become the highlight of the plate. Arepas are tasty little round “bread cakes” made from cornmeal and served with either butter, cheese, or sweetened condensed milk on top.
Ajiaco – Colombia is home to huge variety of potatoes, and Ajiaco is a hearty soup made from three of the most tasty types: mozorca, alcaparra, and rice. This thick soup also includes tasty shredded chicken, capers, corn, and a dazzling drizzle of cream on top.
Exotic fruits – Colombia is home to a colorful variety of fruits and fruit juices that you most certainly won’t find at home. If you are like most, you won’t have even heard of Guanábana, Maracuyá, Lulo, Feijoa, or Guayaba before your trip, but will never forget them once you sample them being sold fresh or in fantastic juices all over the country.
Colombian music sets the tone for this frenetic country full of life, and these varieties are the ones you are most likely to hear coming from clubs, cars, and concert halls all over the country.
Reggaeton – While not unique to Colombia, this music is easily the most popular music heard at the country’s nightclubs and bars. A blend of hip hop and reggae/dancehall, Reggaton can be a bit bombastic at times, but once you get the hang of the beat and memorize the chorus, you will likely be dancing along with everyone else.
Vallenato – Created in Valledupar, a town on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Vallenato was formed when Spanish and African cultures came together. Inspired by towncallers who went from village to village exalting news, the style was born as a strictly vocal affair. The genre has evolved and has now uses an accordion as it’s main instrument, reminding some of the stylings of Mexico’s mariachi.
Salsa – While born in the boroughs of New York and Puerto Rico, Salsa music has taken Colombia by storm and you will no doubt come across many salsa songs and clubs in the bigger cities of Colombia like Bogota, Cali, and Barranquilla. The music uses horns and percussion to create a beat that you just simply have to shake your body to.
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