Street Food in Colombia all in La Perseverancia Market – Bogota

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Street Food in Latin America - Bogota Colombia - La Perseverencia - @DownshiftingPRO
La Perseverancia Market in Bogota, Colombia

So delicious. Mouthwatering tidbits of yummy, yummy food. I love food (much like my Chef father did). It is both a blessing and a curse. I cautiously anticipated a new food program on Netflix from the producers of Chef’s Table. More of an ‘everyday man’ as opposed to fine dining experience. I was NOT disappointed as I watch the new Netflix show Street Food, Latin America. I scrolled through the episodes quickly as I was looking for street food in Colombia and found not just one vendor but a whole market!

plaza de mercado la perseverancia

I knew that my country of birth would be featured but with such a culinary diversity, the question was what region or which city would be featured. More importantly which dish would take center stage? Would it be fresh fried fish with coconut rice from the Caribe? The Bandeja Paisa from Antioquia? Ajiaco soup from Bogota, sweet Choclo Arepas or Aborrajado from the Cauca region. Will it cover all the fruits and juices that you can find in Colombia? My last burning question was, which of the many types of tamales will be chosen?

Plaza de Mercado La Perseverancia Bogota Colombia @DownshiftingPRO

Street food in Colombia in La Perseverancia Market

For the second time, the Plaza de Mercado La Perseverancia is nominated as “Restaurant with the best Colombian cuisine”. This market is known because there, in one place, is the gastronomic representation of the entire country. Popular with locals, this market has become more popular with tourists as a one-stop shop for Colombian cuisine.

Deep fried fish from one of the street food stalls in La Perseverancia Market in Bogota Colombia @DownshiftingPRO 1

If you are lucky enough to nab one of the 53 tables in this smallish mercado, you will be in for a special culinary experience. Colombia has an incredible biodiversity which creates meals from cool mountainous regions to hot tropical forest, plentiful ocean seafood to river fish. The options are always seasoned with aromatic and fresh herbs.

Steak with deep fried sweet and savoury plantains @DownshiftingPRO
Steak with deep fried sweet and savoury plantains @DownshiftingPRO

My cousins and I walked in late into the lunch-hour rush and managed to nab a seat right away. Like any good food vendor, we are quickly approached by different servers with menus from different stalls.

Gracias pero voy a mirar para ver qué me llama la atención.” (a good phrase to know in any shopping situation). “Thanks but I am going to look around to see what catches my eye”. Often one savours with the eyes, are enticed by smell and ultimately seduces by the palate. There is no exception in Plaza de Mercado La Perseverancia the choice is vast and intoxicating. To think this is street food in Colombia in one market

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Insider Tip: Have a bowl of ajiaco (traditional 3-potato soup from Bogota) from Tolú. She was awarded the best Ajiaco in the city and Dona Luz Dary is featured in the Netflix special.

I walk around and peruse menus, eye-ball sample plates and glance into the glass display case, looking for the perfect combination. I also take a good look at what people are eating and went so far as to ask what one particular dish was and what stall he got it at. I settled on a fish fry from Esquina de Mary.

Fried Fish from a stall in La Perseverancia Market in Bogota Colombia @DownshiftingPRO
Sierra Frita – La Esquina de Mary (local 40-41)

Dona Mary is famous for her coconut fish soup, rompe colchon (mattress breaker), but alas by the time we got there it was sold out. She clains that the soup will give you lots of energy… enough to break your mattress… I’ll leave it there for you to interpret ;).

I opted for the Sierra Frita from the Pacific region. It is better known to us as mackerel. It was served with sweet coconut rice, a side salad and pataconas (savoury plantain chips). It also comes with a limeade drink and all for $20,000 COP or $7.36 CDN/5.50 USD. A bargain for any North American or European tourist!

Lechón de Tolima Pork rice and garbanzo beans cooked with pork rind @DownshiftingPRO
Lechóna de Tolima

Insider Tip: Although the Netflix special talks about street food in Colombia in a market, you will find most stalls will have daily specials, either a simple one or an “almuerzo ejecutivo” which is a bit more fancy, with more food and a drink included. Always ask what they are ‘know for’ or what they specialize in as many stalls will have a variety of options. These options can be seasonal and set at the whim of the chef.

Arepas are very traditional thick corn tortillas made with both the traditional white and yellow cornmeal. They can be plain or stuffed with just about anything (chicharon, cheese, egg). They are a staple in the Colombian diet and are can be eaten at any meal.

COVID 19 Travel Responsibly Gulf Shores AL @DownshiftingPRO

If you are looking for a traditional arepa, head to one of the side stalls for one of Dona Berta’s arepas de queso or empanada. She’s at La Caseta del Tino. A ‘tino’ is a small black coffee with a touch of sugar. Perfect pick-me-up for a late afternoon snack.

Sweet Arepa de Choclo @DownshiftingPRO
Arepas de choclo

Cositas Ricas Doña María, (Boyaca region) and Comidas Pili (Tolima region) specialize in two other Colombian staples tamales and Bandeja Paisa. A Bandeja Paisa is probably the most recognized national dish but it is in fact native to the Antioquia region where inhabitants are known as ‘paisas’. It is a dish full of shredded beef or steak, blood sausage (morcilla), rice, beans, plantains, and a fried egg. Below is a bandeja paisa that I savoured near Guatape.

Bandeja Paisa in El Penon Antioquia Colombia @DownshiftingPRO 2
Bandeja Paisa

A Colombian tamal is always wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. A tamal from Tolima will have corn masa, chicken, pork meat and pork rind (chicharon), and a hard boiled egg. Some will also have peas or garbanzo beans. On my next visit to Colombian my intent is to try every type of tamal from every region in Colombia!

List of street food vendors in La Perseveracion Market

Here is a list of some of the stalls (local) inside the market and their specialties:
Local 15: Frutería La Especial.(juices & fruit salads)
Local 20: El Café Restaurante.
Local 30: Frutería Yoli, delicias naturales y saludables.
Local 31: Cositas Ricas Doña María, sabores boyacenses (Boyaca region).
Local 32: Donde Gladys, caldos típicos colombianos (traditional soups).
Local 33: Sabor Cachaco Artesanal.
Local 36: Donde Esperanza, antojitos colombianos.
Local 38: Tolú, comida costeña (Caribbean/coastal food).
Local 39: La Cucharita, sabores boyacenses y antioqueños.
Local 40: La Esquina de Mary, el buen sabor del Pacífico.
Local 42: Las Verdes, cocina del Huila.
Local 43: Rancho Azul, cocina típica de las montañas antioqueñas (mountain region of Antioquia).
Local 44: El Rancho de Lili, las raíces de mi tierra.
Local 45: Comidas Pili, sabores típicos colombianos

Plaza de Mercado La Perseverancia is a gem and should not be missed if you are in Bogota. What you will find is street food in Colombia in a market. It is This market provides a large variety of food served for breakfast or lunch. It closes around 3 pm and will be very busy from noon until 1:30. Be sure and come with an empty stomach and an open mind to the delicacies available here. You will not regret it.

Street food in Colombia in a market

Insider Tip: Take a walk around the outside of the building to see the very intricate mural “Guache” created by Oscar Gonzalez. Within it you will find symbols and representations of this working-class barrio (neighbourhood). From a clay pot to make chicha (a traditional – and at times throughout history- controversial beverage). There is maize, herbs, corn that turns into flames, a local church and even a very influential political leader (Jorge Eliécer Gaitán) who was assassinated in 1948. The mosaic of the indigenous woman is an ode to all working women that keep the market (and society) going. The mural tells the story of this market as a community centre and food market since 1940.

Street Food in La Perseverancia Market in Bogota Colombia @DownshiftingPRO 1

Bonus: video tour

This is a great video of the many delicious meals that you can order in Plaza de la Perseverancia. It’s in Spanish but they have added titles with the name of the dish, the local and the price.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for and other online media outlets.

17 thoughts on “Street Food in Colombia all in La Perseverancia Market – Bogota”

  1. I loved the review you made of the perseverance market, and I love your generosity with our country, thank you very much. I want to make two recommendations, the street food of Cali that is influenced by the Pacific, Cauca and Valle del Cauca is crazy, I recommend that one, the Alameda market square would blow your mind. Foods such as chontaduro, marranitas, pipian tamales, viche, etc. The other recommendation is a podcast by a Colombian historian, it has four chapters dedicated to the history of food in Latin America and two chapters dedicated exclusively to Colombia, here is the link: podcast/dianauribe-fm/id1440323217?i=1000624907677 You can find it on any podcast platform, this is the link to the first episode. Goodbye, Greetings.

    • Thank you for your kind word. I am fully immersed in the podcast and am enjoying it. Very detailed. I’m not going to lie, “chontaduro, marranitas, pipian tamales, viche, etc.” I am not sure I know what some of these items are. Must investigate…

  2. I’ve never had Colombian food, but now I know it’s a must. Pinning this so that I can quickly find a Colombian restaurant and try these foods out!

    • You can find a Colombian restaurant in most any country. Colombians love to travel. I once had food from a food truck in Lloret de Mar, Spain that was just Colombian food. I couldn’t believe it. One of the best Arepas I’ve ever had. I have the blog post here is you want to read more. 🙂

  3. I visited Colombia a couple of years ago and LOVED it! Since I’m a vegetarian, I wasn’t able to try too many street food options. My friend did though, and she loved everything she tried!

    • There is no question about it, it would be tough to be a vegetarian in Colombia. That being said, the fruits are out of this world. You may want to read my Ultimate Guide of Fruits in Colombia. It’s a great reference! So happy you loved Colombia

    • If you have the time, be sure and visit Medellin too. It is spectacular and way less intimidating than Bogota. The market really is amazing. Hope you make it to Colombia one day!

  4. The food looks amazing. I love exploring local markets and trying street food. i really like plantains and I’d like to try the 3 potato soup too. hanks for the Netflix recommendation to, I’ll have to check it out

    • Emma, it is really an amazing market. I was so pleased they featured this woman on the Colombian episode. Have a look if you can it is so great. The whole series is really.

      PS. I loved your post on the Hike to Vernon. You rocked!

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