What: Typically deep-fried and made with cornmeal, these half-moon treats are filled with various ingredients, including shredded pork, beef, or chicken; rice or potato; hard-boiled egg; chopped onion and tomato; sometimes cheese or spinach. (In some regions you will find them baked or made with wheat flour instead of cornmeal.) Empanadas here are usually served with lime and aji, a delicious spicy sauce of cilantro, onion, garlic, vinegar, and hot peppers. When fresh, they are divine little pockets of flavor—an ideal snack at any hour of the day.
Where: All over Colombia, you will find different types of empanada. Our favorites were the delicately fried, unusual empanadas de yuca (1,200 COP) at Doña Maria’s in Barichara (Carrera 5 between Calles 3 & 4; look for the wooden “Arequipe” sign), made with yucca, rice, chicken, and egg; and the chicken, cheese, and spinach empanadas at Cartagena’s La Esquina del Pan de Bono (pictured; Calle de San Agustin Chiquita & Calle del Porvenir, map). Look for any empanada just out of the fryer, and dig in.