The Rich Food Culture
The food in Cali is as fun, colorful and rich as its people. Exotic fruits such as Borojo and Chontaduro are native to the region and are found in abundance in Cali, and are not to be skipped out on. Tropical fruits like Guanabana, Lulo and Maracuya (Passion Fruit) are normal staple fruits in Cali. Often sold on the streets in the form of juice, these refreshing tropical drinks are a welcome to the Cali heat that dominates the mid-day. **See our <<WOW COLOMBIA JUICE!! Guide>>
Don’t miss the fritanga, empanadas, marranitas and chunchulo.
Sugar cane grows in massive amounts in the valley surrounding the city, and fresh sugar cane drinks can be found at most juice locations, and all around outdoor markets like The Galeria at Alameda.
Cali is truly a melting pot of different Colombian regions, and migrant residents have brought their local food from all over the country. This makes it easy to taste dishes from areas in Colombia that you may not get a chance to visit. For example, the Bandeja Paisa, a typical dish from the Medellin area, consists of meat, sausage, fried pork, rice, beans, avocado, and topped with a fried egg! This will most likely leave you in a short coma for 2 or 3 hours afterwards…you’ve been warned.
Sancocho is a popular dish eaten all over Colombia. It’s a hearty soup accompanied by rice and avocado, and in the area around Cali it’s often cooked with a whole hen and called Sancocho de Gallina. The hen is gamey and rather chewy, but lends flavor to the soup and adds protein to the meal. This style with the hen was brought to Cali by residents of Ginebra, and like yuca and the bottom of a hot soup, it stuck. In other regions the Sancocho may be made with beef ribs or other meats, or accompanied with shredded chicken breast.
In the end any food form the street is amazing, from fritanga to hot dogs and juices, everything is great. Maybe not so good for your stomach – if you are sensitive, however delicious for your senses.
As well, seafood coming from the Pacific Coast first has to pass through Cali, making fresh fish and shrimp available nearly every day of the week. Local Afro-Colombian restaurants offer whole fried fish and Sancocho de Pescado (Seafood Sancocho), can be found in abundance in the Alameda neighborhood, right outside of the Galeria Market.
Eating local is a great way to find staple regional dishes as well as to help the local economy and business owners. As Sustainable Travel promoters, we believe that helping local residents and communities is one of the most important aspects of traveling, along with being stewards of Nature. We’ve generated a small list of ways you can help the local community in the city of Cali, around Colombia, or in any country that you should decide to visit. We hope you read through it and help spread the idea of Sustainable Travel.