Street Food Guide to Cartagena
Fine dining is great and Cartagena is full of restaurants that’ll make your mouth water, but have you ever had an arepa de huevo, an empanada or a buñuelo? You can’t really say you’ve visited Cartagena if you haven’t grabbed one of these fried and/or cheese-filled meals from a street vendor, but the question is where to start?!
Get ready for a sensory overload and some hunger-inducing images as we take you on a virtual tour of the best street food Cartagena has to offer. Whether you’re an adventurous eater or not, the street food scene in Cartagena won’t leave you disappointed.
P.S. If you’d like to go on an official street food tour and actually try these tasty treats, we offer those, too.
Arepa de Huevo
Imagine a savory yellow corn patty fried to perfection. Now imagine that patty gets opened up, filled with flavorful minced meat, topped with an egg (yolk still intact, of course), and then fried again. THAT is the beauty of an arepa de huevo, a street food classic on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Empanadas have reached a level of international fame, but in case you’re unfamiliar with this perfect street food snack, there are a few versions of it. In Cartagena, you’ll most often find beef-filled yellow corn patties fried and served with a side of different sauces that are usually pretty spicy. Other empanadas, especially chicken and/or cheese filled ones, are made with a more bread-like dough surrounding the filling.
These fried balls of deliciousness can be found in many parts of the world (donut holes, anyone?), BUT the people of Cartagena add a special touch to it. Instead of the usual sweet flavors you might expect, Cartageneros mix the dough with queso costeño, a very salty cheese from the coastal regions of Colombia. Who knew fried dough could get even better…
Colombians don’t always stick to corn flour when it comes to street eats. Carimañolas are yucca fritters filled with minced meat, cheese or chicken before they’re dropped in hot oil to fry. Somehow they’re slightly crisp on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside. We’re forever in awe.
See that guy riding a bike around the city with a giant pot attached to it? If he’s constantly honking a bike horn, then he’s definitely selling peto. Despite the heat of Cartagena, locals love this hot drink that can be described as rice pudding but more liquid-y and made with giant white corn kernels. This creamy drink also has hints of vanilla and cinnamon, making it a nice sweet treat. Don’t be afraid to lick the spoon when you’re done!
You’re gonna need something to wash down all this street food, so we definitely recommend grabbing a natural fruit juice. Cartagena is known for its coconut lemonade, but don’t miss out on your chance to try a fruit you’ve never even heard of! the wide variety of fruit juices. Zapote, níspero, tomate de árbol, curuba… you can’t go wrong with any one you choose.
Finding the right place to try all these street food goodies in Cartagena might be overwhelming. Who wants to risk getting a stale arepa de huevo?! That’s where we come in. Hi Cartagena offers a street food tour that will guide you around the city as you try all of these treats and more. Click here for more info, and happy eating!